There are few things I hate more than running a comb through my hair. With every stroke, it rips out reluctant black tresses and at the end you’re not left with the same head of hair that you’d started with. It’s a little bit like falling in love.
You’re not left with the same head you started out with.
Do you know how heavy the loose change of irretrievable loss feels in your pockets? It’s the bewildered droop of an unreturned smile. It’s the flicker of irritation at seeing a half-forgotten dab of pink, the day after holi. It’s the groan that accompanies the 361st SMS when you’re down to single digit balance. It’s the menacing insistence of a borrowed book waiting to be read. It’s the lingering sadness of forgetting a line in a favorite song.
Of course, for me the sound of loss isn’t the feeble clink of small-denomination coins. It’s the wary hush of a chest of currency wads hoarded over a lifetime. I’ve lost innocence with the naïve consent of a foolish backward glance. I’ve unclenched unwilling fingers over stubborn dreams to lose them to the greasy palms of defeat. I’ve given away truth many times over, asked and unasked to the acquisitive collection bags of convenience, to the outstretched vagabond arms of transient indulgence, to the gagged excuses of my amputated soul. I’ve abandoned reason in the small black silence unseeing eyes of victors. I’ve cried over the anonymous thievery of faith and over misplaced keys of illusive invincibility.
It’s not easy to hold on to memories of losses. They dissolve deceptively, like soap bars in the summer indulgences of evening baths. You have to unearth them carefully, a stray yellow Leaf rescued from the mess of your hair. You have to wait for its footsteps vigilantly. It flees like fleet-footed spring between winter and summer, hopping over Pilani with a quick leap. Like a dainty young woman sidestepping a muddy puddle as she laughs at it fondly, all the while drawing up her satin skirts and staving off the puddle’s grimy embrace.
I can’t lose myself to the blistering glare of love. There’s no sunscreen for heartbreak.
I’ll lose myself to lies, a little at a time. I’ll hammer out tiny chips of lies from my monolithic monument of duplicity. Tiny marble chips, small enough to carve piercing letters of contempt on the blank smiling façade of my existence, but not big enough to lacerate my soul.
I’ll lose myself to life, whatever is still left of it. I’ll lose myself to work, for that’s the only numbing needle of comfort I haven't lost in this cruel haystack yet. I’ll lose myself to what has been irretrievably lost for there is nothing left to lose myself to now.