A Time Traveler’s Tale by Aishwarya Roy
I was nine when the tectonic plates shifted between my parents.
The buildings collapsed all around me, as I held my mother’s hand at 2 am, and slept at my neighbours. My body shrank inside the warm blanket as if I was lying on a crescent-shaped moon.
/the moon kept eating my darkness, and became full/
When I turned thirteen, my home taught me the principles of dictatorship, long before my History teacher could.
The women around me lived under their men’s rules and roofs, a lie of love, but liberated themselves in the commas in between the lines.
/they needed a bigger heart than the sky, because they multiplied with each sunset/
A not-so-sweet sixteen-year-old me realised how a bus ride was a perfect metaphor for this fleeting life. That’s how quickly things pass you by when you’re not looking.
My elbow kicked a middle-aged man when he rubbed his bushy skin against my waxed arms, in the crowded bus.
/we will always be in constant motion, even when we stand still/
While an eighteen high on endorphins, I read a scientific fact, which said that because light takes time to reach us, eveything we see is in the past.
/maybe that’s why I felt like I’d already met you before, when we’d only just met/
Twenty-one pilots and a few heartbreaks old me built a house of cards once. And heaved that sigh she’d been saving for the final glimpse of what lay before her.
And just then — it all fell apart; within the time it takes to blink once.
/we built a relationship, and you wonder why, I’m still holding my breath?/
Today, I’m an eighty-five-year-old woman, immersed in self-love, wearing a black bindi, lying on her deathbed.
I see the war raged against the humanity getting over, the summer sun settling behind the oldest building of my city, spreading shades of rose. The leaves detach themselves from the tree, like a child losing the firm grip of his mother’s palms, and getting lost in the crowd.
/the yellow taxis bring home missing-person(s),
And I lie back and wonder how, somewhere between the fear of love-bites and love handles,
I grew up/
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