It all started with a photograph. You’ve always thought it was mine but it really was yours, the ones you took of others. Your pictures had a certain life to them. They were vibrant but fluid, in a way that seemed extremely creative but still very natural. I could not understand what it was that was different with the way you handled the camera. I was awestruck by the results you got by clicking the same shutter every other photographer I knew did. You were the reason I wanted to look deeper into a picture, to know what really made the difference. You were the reason I took pictures that day, of others, of nature, and edited them in a way I thought would interest you, would catch your attention.
Was it so we could talk about good pictures someday or was it so we could talk about you, about life the way you saw it? I didn’t quite know which it was I wanted more. But it worked. That day, after I posted the pictures on Facebook, with a witty caption, you started off a conversation. I felt like for once, I had broken the recurring jinx in my life, the one in which I would get everything but the one thing I desperately wanted. You were my first, my first imaginary buddy that became a real one. We talked about the things you liked and the things I liked, many were similar.
The ease with which you asked the most difficult questions intrigued me. The laxity with which I answered intrigued me even more. What were you doing to me? I talked to you about everything. You talked back too, or at least you made me feel you did. We found a common place soon, shared inside jokes and all. You were one I thought was too good to be in my world, but in spite of the bundle of excellence you were, you didn’t judge me by all my lacks and deficiencies. You didn’t judge me when I stuttered because I couldn’t find the right words to convey my thoughts. You didn’t judge me when i couldn’t look you in your eyes because my insecurities made them seem too daunting.
You didn’t judge me when I wanted to talk to you hours non stop. You didn’t judge me for liking you, for liking everything that came with you. Ours was simple, in a complicated way. We knew we had found something beautiful, a friendship worth working to keep. We knew we didn’t want more. But it didn’t stop our conversations from going a little farther than it should have. It didn’t stop us from playing with the fires of emotional attachments and the smoke of longings that came with it. The day you asked me if I’d kiss you the next time we saw each other, I knew I should have stopped the conversation right then. I knew I should have said goodnight for the good of us both, for my faith, which we had just spoken about the previous night. Everything told me to stop; the still small voice in my heart, the lack of peace within . Everything except my mind, my very carnal mind.
It travelled places without my permission. I didn’t end the conversation. I answered you, told you I would if you wanted to. This time, I didn’t stutter, the words rolled out easily from my tongue as though my once very limited vocabulary had been replaced by an encyclopedia of words. I threw caution to the wind and we talked about everything, about touching each other in places with names we had never mentioned in all our previous conversations. We bared our souls, erotically, and didn’t quite care about the consequences. That was where it really started, my inability to let go of you. It’s been four years and you have since moved on but I, I have pretended to have moved on. Everything is still shredded and in pieces. Everything, especially my relationship with the Owner of that still small voice.