Editor’s Note, Entropy (12 B)

To the family I thought I’d never have,

Hey, you.
Yes, you.

There’s a lot I’ve been meaning to say to you, and for a while now. I would like to apologize for my inability to assign as major a portion of my daily schedule to you as I was able when we were younger. Do you remember playing running-and-catching together in the school grounds? Those blue carpets at the back of our old classrooms? The swing-sets that were and still are the foundation of countless friendships?

I could write a (really, really fat) book (or an entire school-life’s worth of class magazines) just reminding you of the past 12 years in detail. Make a mental repository of those memories. They’re all you’re going to have of school life a year from now, and you will cherish them like nothing else, I guarantee.

Today, I leave the job of recollecting the joyous moments we’ve shared together over the years to you. Today, I’m writing instead to tell you just how much you mean to me.

We met twelve years ago. I’ll admit I was rather apprehensive at first. You were a strange person, in a strange new place, doing your own strange things. Strange. Not a bit like everything I’d known my entire lifetime (all five years of it)! Perhaps it was the almost comforting unfamiliarity we shared that united us.

I’d like to call us sailors. At every point during our school careers, we’ve taken over different duties and steered this ship successfully together, and we’re nearly at the end of our voyage. Every time I’d waver, you’d be my anchor, help me tide over the rough patches each wave brought with it. I trusted you to never let me sink. To this day, we are each other’s safety boats, and are so willingly. We’ve taken turns being Captain, guiding each other, never letting the other lose sight of what’s ahead. You’ve given me the courage to look directly in the face of fear, until it backs down. We’ve hit icebergs head-on, our little navy with a bond stronger than the Titanic could ever have been.

Thank you for the petty fights, and the major ones, and the ones that weren’t really fights at all – just unnecessary drama before vacations because we were afraid of how much the absence of the other would hurt, but also too egoistic to admit it. God, we’re capable of immense immaturity, but some of our exchanges could’ve come straight out of a movie.

Thank you for lending me your sweatshirt when I forgot my name badge, keeping my horrible ID card photo a secret, even switching shoes when I had PT. Thank you for the badge fights, hand cricket, Sudoku and crossword races, basketball and dodge-ball games, PE exam practices, and yam cheese, yam burger, soft potato, chipchipchip. Soft potato, chip chip chip.

Thank you for the field trips, for declaring that we are family through the smallest things – dancing, singing, laughing, crying. Together.

Thank you for the inside jokes. And for laughing with me at jokes our teachers cracked, and maybe for being that one kid who had the audacity to ask out loud, “Why’d everyone suddenly go so quiet?” on the rare occasions we did all at once for no apparent reason during class. As if that wasn’t how we should’ve been for the entire duration of the lesson anyway.

Thank you for always having my back. And for literally standing behind me, beside me, in front of me, as I drew in the sand with my foot and cleaned my black shoes on my socks in/ out of “height order”. And for letting me use your bag as support for mine on half days.

Hey, you.
Yes, you.

I’m going to miss you so, so much (just in case I haven’t made that clear).

– Maithree with Maitreyi
(Editors, among other school-related things, this one last time.)

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Disintegration

Your eyes had glazed over icy cool, more blue than warm. I always told myself you’re there, you’re in there, I know it and if only my arms were a little longer. I wanted to reach in, hold you, teach you how to love the way you taught me. You had forgotten your own lessons. When did you begin to run on this toxic combination of pain and oxygen. What happened to your fire? I wanted to rekindle your heat but your insides were too damp with uncried tears diluting your own wisdom.

I did not know of your new drills, that you choked on chords and your shower-songs had been washed away by pink-red water. That your damp pillow had taken over putting you to sleep every night, an affair I’d only trusted the stars with. That your pen met paper as seldom as your magic smile curved your lips. It’s so clear now, crystal clear, that you were never afraid of footpaths and heights and science lab root sections and apple seeds, but of yourself. Scars on your skin, scars in your heart.

Snapped wire, broken glass. You always used to say ‘shattered’ has a beautiful sound, only you stopped once its feel spiralled into your existence. I wish I had shown you how when you were 4, you played with a glass-painting kit and the broken pieces fascinated you because they were so pretty. I wish I had force-painted your wings with war paint before your knife decided they had to go. Why didn’t you let them grow.

I wish I could see you wave goodbye to airplanes once more, not caring for a second whether people were watching. And again. And again. So many shades of colour took flight when you left without a goodbye. What are the colours like, where you are now? Does your golden glitter heart see more than black and white again.

I remember you from when you left little surprise hearts in our notebooks and always sang the loudest as we blew out birthday candles and how you were more proud of us than we were of ourselves and how your soft chin quivered as you tried hard not to cry when we did. This is how I choose to remember you.
You taught me the science of time. Today could be my last tomorrow. Or anyone’s. And with this knowledge, I promise to learn to love living every day. For you.

Eyes Mine Know Well

has no one ever told you that
your eyes aren’t brown?

your gaze has borrowed from a hundred places
a colour I’d use to paint a million pictures
clay, I think,
soft clay from the hills and valleys
with the spring-kissed earth
on those postcards you send
only to the ones you love.
your eyes have every shade of colour I ever gathered
as a child from the old pebble beach,
and golden specks; I’m certain
the sun once danced in you.
the falling leaves of autumn
have swirled into the way you look at me,
teaching me new languages,
of storms, of sentiment, and of silence.
surely,
if the smell of rain was made of a colour,
your eyes would be its name.

did the fireflies learn from your piercing gaze?
I know I want to.
I know the stars slipped out last night,
with only your eyes as their excuse.
I’ve mastered the art of tiptoeing past
the crackle at their surface,
and into the beckoning flame.
a kind of candlelight;
searing at the edges, yet
gentle at the core

13/05/17

On Your Shrinking

you look at yourself in those mirrors on the walls of the bathrooms in the mall sideways now,
sucked-in cheeks, and I remember
that crop-top you bought, that crop-top, a scale for your chest and your waist, a promise
but you threw it out yesterday,
tag and all from the last eleven months because it took you a while,
a long chain of missed meals and feigned burps, to get there
and that cruel crop-top allowed, after eleven months of waiting and ‘controlling’,
allowed the moonlight to still dance with the new shiny stretch marks on your waist
the tag from the reject pile mocking you,
reflecting the number that you skipped ice-cream dates and pizza parties to save up,
to save up for this crop-top you dreamed you’d one day slay
what a shame, you invited the chain to choke you till you coughed your happiness away

every grumble in your stomach was a step away from this cage, a step towards ‘control’, a step full of pain, unimaginable pain, but
but, well, at least your jawline and your collarbones are now
nearly as sharp as the silver knife that offered you its company while you stared at your kitchen door with empty eyes
and turned your hollow torso away as it extended its warm, welcoming hand of friendship
with laboured ease

your fight wasn’t with your mum over the sugar in your cereal every breakfast every morning,
it wasn’t with your favourite cheesecake
you’re battling with your own body and your head,
they’re screaming as society triumphantly plays divide and rule and
you’re terrified and confused and just sit, crying, hoping
that the tears rolling down this little child’s cheeks will be enough
to shut both the sides up and have them retreat, or better,
make peace
just a child

fast forward four months, and hey, this is a weird feeling,
you’re seeing your ribs up close for the first time in your sixteen years of owning them
the lunch bell triiings in your nightmares every night and
you’ve now recognized that group of friends that doesn’t care about you enough to check what you’re eating,
whether you’re eating

maybe if you would just look at how your eyes become stars every time you smile,
you wouldn’t scold that little lock of hair beside your ear
for failing this once to cover up
the second little chin that makes an appearance every time
someone or something lights up your face
because your face lights up!
you are the sun.

look past, please, your stomach bulging over your belt,
and at the book that you bent over to pick up to give to the boy whose things those mean, mean girls and boys
knocked out of his arms,
look at his lips mouth thank you, thank you, you angel

your body, darling, is not you
those boys and girls, perhaps, whispered to your head to never be kind to you
but maybe you only need to be the beautiful, gorgeous person you are,
let your body feel as lucky to be your coat as you once felt unlucky to be its seed.
teach your body that it only encases the magic that is you
and has every reason to be so, so proud
you’re that many cubed centimetres more beautiful, concentrated.