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kahaani



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Solar

nothing ever ends
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I stopped smoking when you noted one day, during the arc of lighter to cigarette, “This is the mouth you praise your Beloved with.” This is the mouth I kiss you with. After everything, a third reason sustained me during the quivers and quakes. A carton a day is 3.5 hours ground off your life, if I stopped sooner, I wondered what I could fill the time with. Let me tell you:

1. I would’ve spent hours trying to track down the zero-number glasses my mama wore, for her cultivated studiousness. For cheer in the aches curving in shoulder blades, in back, studying studying when me and my sister were babes. Pencils, thick books, and the scent of half-hearted cooking for full-hearted kids, a smile still lined. I would’ve put them on you. I would’ve met your mother. All light requires seeing.


2. We didn’t fuck which surprised me more than you. If you asked (and you would) I would tell you about each and every one of them, and the ones I thought’ve, and the ones I said no to, and the ones I wished I did. A lot of hers and I would’ve told you about the one him, almost two. I would’ve told you about the videos I could never finish in the basement, on a heating console’s browser. The printed picture of a tollywood actress. Shame, hilarity, libidos, I would’ve let you touch every trembling recollection I didn’t know what to make of. Well, almost every.


3. Sharply, you once told me not to make jokes about being married. I swore at you internally, you were the first who didn’t bruise but wound, I’d smart away, quieted and swearing at myself. I would’ve told you my favourite curses in a language you spoke better than me. I had a lot of words, enunciated,articulated, slowly etched, and hung in the air, I wished I’d given you, to jangle and imprint in your cranium after me. I still selfishly wish for your fondness, and your remembrance. Four names, two for boys, two for girls. I did not snap at you when you said I wouldn’t make a good baba because we both know they don’t exist.


4. I would’ve asked you, slipped in too fast to be discreet, if you wanted to meet my father sometime.


5. A couple of them remarked they never found anyone who could comb their hair, properly, without hurting, I never tried. Even friends had. You said the one who could would be the one who could stay. I never tried and still wouldn’t, but I would lie. I would’ve let you put henna on my hands. Yours were the only ones that didn’t make my curls wince.

5. You quoted Malcom anecdotes, I quoted Marx ones. I would’ve shown you the Lenin picture I drew in early highschool, and the late junior high poetry. I’d give you one more throaty beam, boyish, the way I gasp for breath and laugh and laugh. “You smile with your whole face”. I wished I had something smooth to say to that. You liked tickling silences out of Mr. Words. I would’ve told you I loved your politics but that it wasn’t the first thing, it was never the first thing.

6. Pakistani soap operas, and your hand always holding me down, between collar and chest. I would’ve whispered thanks for the lessons on relenting, again. You laughed at all the little conks I had, and I wheezed at your’s, one last laugh, please.


7. That night, you asked, scared, if you could stay. We’d always linger around doorways, worried and wondering if either of us would ask or take a step forward. You stopped asking but you would look my brows, and I at the creases near your eyes. Your arms and my hips. Both of our backs, and everything over and in between. We looked and we looked, swallowing. Two weeks after I had a dream we did ghusl together and cried with my whole body. I wanted to tell you how brave you were, for stopping, and for asking, baby. I wanted to finally give in to those corny-ass words I cringed because I didn’t know someone could bring so much fragrance in me. Pyaari, jaan e mann. “Behuda insaan.” when I brought the sweets I never tried. I would’ve let you feed me and frightened, offered with my fingers to your mouth, a single mithai. You were so brave and there’s not enough nicotine in the world to burn myself through for never saying that.


8. You kept every one of his inhalers, I knew without seeing. I visited his tombstone the month after we started seeing each other again (the second splinter in the third year) and thanked him and thanked him and promised I’d do right by you, that his daughter gave me faith in this life, in the next, and that my parents had a secret nikka too. I joked to him weakly that third time was the charm, and my earliest memory was of visiting my brother’s grave. I told him I loved the red of your bulbous cheeks she was irked by, I loved we had unity in purpose, I loved the poetry she would quietly slip, and that because of her, I wanted to teach again. I said so much to him I would never tell you, but I would’ve told you, after a long time, I would’ve told you I visited him.


9. If we had one more year, I would ask you in a text if you wanted to go to Pakistan. I would officiate and cement, I would let you settle inside my bones and I would sink and sit. You left my Qur’an bookmarked and underlined a verse, the last time. It wasn’t the last trace: I would look for you, in numbers, in other’s faces, in other’s bodies, in other’s sighs, in the horizon, on the bus, in the writing of children, and the stories of elders, in my clothes. It was the most recent breath. You would’ve taken me to the beach I disparaged (I was team Lahore) and I would’ve held you from behind on a camel ride. We’d walk and we’d walk, the place where sky cleaved into the city, into black maw and struggling pricks of stars. A city winking neon and breathing smog, decaying, thatched, and rich, bodies everywhere. Vendors, steam and glistening food, beggars, workers, strays, motorcycles, rickshaws, a third gender. You taught me the respectful term. I would ask you to take me to the mosque where you mama and baba broke their family. I don’t know if I would’ve asked you to repeat history but you were a good fight. I would’ve thanked you. I would not take you to meet my daadi, but my daada. You would introduce me to your childhood driver, “bhai” not “nokar”. I would trace the back of your hand, feet kissing a dark sea, standing together, swelling, full, and silent. None of that ended up happening and I dream too often. The morning I woke up and realized, I ached. We loved how we disseminated: quietly.


10. “And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember; but is there any that remembereth?” 54:16. I would’ve said sorry, to both my reasons.

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KHI's not exactly my target audience, but I figured I might as well share. I'm trying to get back into writing, first a little, then a lot. I can translate some of the words if you guys are curious. I just sort of streamed without thought, I might edit this into a larger piece sometime, I'm aware of its faults, but I'm curious how other demographics will react to this. I didn't title it, kahaani simply means story, needed to give it one to post a thread.
 

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A boy named Crow
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I'd like to ask more questions, but I'm restricted to my phone at the moment which is inconvenient, so I'll start with one.

Solar said:
KHI's not exactly my target audience, but I figured I might as well share.
Who would be the target audience of this kind of piece?
 
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