I can’t hold a pen right and it isn’t because of the blisters. I haven’t held a pen right since I last wrote a letter to you; I never told you this. It’s a coincidence, I tell myself. The clouds are vicious white waves, the sky is a vast blue ocean and my limbs feel as heavy as lead. I sit in this chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire. The coffee in the masked white cup is still warm. They didn’t spell my name on it right.

The blisters on my fingers and feet hurt the same today but the ones on my knees and calves hurt less. The nails of my fingers and feet don’t look chipped, not if you look at them the way I do – with eyes closed. To start walking an unknown terrain under the malevolence of the midday sun was a rookie mistake, I tell myself. The setting sun cast such a glow, such a spell when I reached the top that I did not feel the lead in my limbs until the morning after. The coffee in the masked white cup is starting to be cold. I hate coffee. I take it every time I sit in a chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire.

I haven’t read a word of it, the newspaper – only doodled on its margins, trying to piece together awkwardly framed sentences. I tear off each page after having exhausted its capacity to be written upon, crumple it up and throw it inside the waste basket a few metres across from me. It’s good practice for target shooting and for letting go of your words. I’ve thrown my notebooks away; stopped collecting souvenirs as well. I only carry a pen in my pocket now and I only write when near a waste basket which isn’t very often. The fire and desire I saw lit yet suppressed in your eyes when we parted last are what keeps me going, keeps me awake at night and keeps me from waking in the morning. I’m stupid, I tell myself. It’s going to rain today although the sky is astonishingly blue. It’s the kind of thing that you’d say with equally astonishing conviction, which is the kind of the thing that I love about you. The rectangular piece of technology in my other pocket doesn’t vibrate as often as it used to. Curiously, I don’t remember when it vibrated last but I remember that I haven’t spoken to my family in 49 days, to my friends in 28 and to you in 63. I extract it from my other pocket, look at it and put it back where it was. I collect the newspapers and the pen, stuff one under my left arm and the other in my pocket, and start to walk away. The coffee in the masked white cup is virgin.

The pavement is so clean that I wish to take my sandals off and walk barefoot upon it. I don’t. I suspect that the pavement might even be warm. I walk uphill. I imagine walking past the emaciated middle-aged man with one arm unnaturally shorter than the other, the little siblings trading red roses for money and the young man with a truncated torso, as I walk past square duplexes built with concrete, steel and glass. I don’t miss you, I tell myself. I make stray conversations with pets and sometimes their owners. I make stray conversations with bicycles and sometimes their owners. I walk uphill, till the staccato of cement gives way to the crunch of grass. The view isn’t particularly scintillating or one that makes great poems but the summit is unmarked and forlorn. I sit down on a rocky ledge, spread my legs out and try to write a bad poem. Four lines in, I realise that there isn’t a bin around.

October, 2016
Somewhere, India

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