This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 52; the fifty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with Metro Diaries by "Namrata". To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
She didn’t pen poetry, she wrote life. Her thoughts danced within her veins, slowly congealing into words on her computer screen as if by magic. Crazed devotees wrote letters to her in blood and urged her to appear once – just once – before them. But she shied away from public glare, remaining safely ensconced in her hermitage by the sea – till his first letter landed on her desk.
It arrived in an envelope with the return address written out clearly in neat penmanship – an invitation perhaps or an unspoken wish to receive a reply? It wasn’t a letter in the real sense, as in, it wasn’t written in pen and ink or typed up on the computer. It was a CD with an audio recording of a person who was clearly enthralled by her art.
The man spoke clearly and sensibly. His voice held steady as he verbalized his admiration for her writing. Unlike her other over-zealous fans, he wasn’t poetic. But his voice had a lyrical ring of honesty and a freshness that she had always yearned for. The usual frenzy associated with fan mail was absent – in its stead a gentle admiration wafted out of the paper like a refreshing perfume and tickled her senses till she found herself giggling involuntarily. The CD, although full of praises and respectful adoration, did not once speak of a meeting. And for this, she was grateful. She felt comfortable, at ease – not only with the genuineness of the ‘letter speaker’, but with herself and her inadequacies.
The sky morphed into a deep orange as the sun took a nosedive into the horizon. She wheeled herself to her writing desk and picked up her notepad and ballpoint pen. Her fingers trembled a little as the words materialized on the blank sheet of paper. She had never done this before. Replying to fan mail with a poem had never been an option. But the words flowed freely and as always, she didn’t stop them.
Dear Letter Speaker (I can’t address you, since you never mentioned your name),
Thank you for your gift. I treasure it immensely. I don’t believe I am worthy of your high praises, but I’m grateful for your candid opinions. A few words inside my head found their way to this letter and somehow condensed into a poem. I hope you like it. I call it ‘The Hunger’.
Night bursts into day, day blends into night
Trapped in the shroud of glory, I move
forward sometimes, backwards often
Shrieks creep into my ears
Frenzied hands reach out to me
never to pull me out
The mausoleum closes in on me
As I lie frozen, motionless
through muddy contours and blurry eyes
a shaft of light
truthful and forthright,
caresses my mind, touching my soul
Even as my golden tomb closes in on me,
I feast delighted
I hunger for more, hunger for more
She enclosed the letter in an envelope, wrote out the return address and quietly posted it the next morning.
“How rusty they’ve become!” she thought to herself a few days later, thumbing the spokes of the wheels that were now her legs. They were perfect representations of the passage of time – cruel, ruthless time that holds everyone in its evil grip and spares no one – not even inanimate objects that have no spark of life. The accident had happened when she was a girl, but the damage was irreversible. Now, the wheels completed her. They had become synonymous with every notion of motion and she wouldn’t, couldn’t go anywhere without them. She had accepted this. This was who she was.
Hardly a week had passed by before she received another envelope. When she opened it, a CD peeked out of it almost asking to be played right then and there. She couldn’t wait. When the day’s work was done, she retired to her bedroom, rolled onto her bed, slipped under the covers and clicked on the ‘Play’ button. The letter speaker’s voice filled her room and found its way into her heart. His joy wasn’t hidden in any way and this time he spoke for longer and with more feeling than the last time. And that’s how it began.
Days passed by. And weeks and months. Their interactions became more frequent. She would write long letters to him detailing her life. Her poetry, her childhood, her hopes, dreams and aspirations – the little things that defined her, like her preference of night over day, her compulsive need to check the door thrice to see if it was locked before she left the house, her love of popcorn and derision of limelight.
She never mentioned her wheelchair though. This made her feel a little guilty and a tad ashamed, but knowing that this was her secret alone – her own cross to bear – blanketed her nice and warm.
He, on the other hand was an open book. Within just a few months, it seemed like he had told her everything about himself.
Being a banker didn’t excite him like reading poetry did and he found nothing as amazing as hot cups of cocoa on a chilly day. He wanted to travel the world in search of ancient mysteries and he could never sleep without his bedside lamp switched on. He had been in relationships before, but he had never been able to trust anyone completely and absolutely. He felt a strange, yet deep kinship with her, even though he had never laid eyes on her. He loved the orange and inky blue splashes in the sky at dusk and adored wind chimes so much, he had one for every room in his house. He grew up believing that Neverland and Peter Pan were as real as Spaghetti Aglio Olio. Even so, he had his feet planted firmly to the ground. He was proud of his roots, he was a patriot and he wanted to have a family someday but only with a woman who knew life the way he did. A woman who could understand the beating of his heart and match it to her own. A woman who could peer through the smallest offerings of life and know that nothing was completely black or white. A woman who – like him – saw everything in Technicolor and who flowed easily with the myriad tones and shades of life. A woman who saw poetry in every day, every miracle and every act of kindness.
A woman like her.
And as he spoke the next few words, she froze in her wheelchair. Even as his voice stopped and gave way to the whirring inside the CD drive, she couldn’t believe that he had just asked her to spend her life with him – without ever having seen her.
This must be some kind of a joke. He’s toying with me, with my life.
And yet, somewhere inside, she felt a spark, a flame of hope, of happiness, love even – something she thought had vanished when she lost her legs.
She picked up her pen and wrote on the last page of the well-worn notepad. This time it was a single paragraph – short and succinct:
Dear Letter Speaker,
Meet me in front of Barista’s at 11:30 pm on the 31st of December. When you see me, ask me again and you will have my answer. New Year’s day will be one of focus, clarity and honesty. A new start, a new beginning. Ask me again as the fireworks begin. Let fate take its course.
She was a picture of dignity and grace as she waited outside Barista’s at the designated time and date. Her calm exterior didn’t betray the storm that raged within. Hope for a life of real love, despair for the legs she had lost, anxiety about the future. And doubt. Would he see her from around the corner and turn back leaving her sitting out on the pavement alone?
The air was filled with the spirit of celebration, preparations to let go of the old and welcome the new. Her watch read 11:50 pm and there was still no sign of him. She had just begun to resign herself to her fate, when a voice called out to her from behind. She spun around to see the handsomest man that she had ever come across. He was tall and had a carefree air about him as he waddled up to her in baggy pants and a loose fitting checkered shirt.
She fell in love then and there – with his dimpled chin and his ocean blue eyes and the soft brown hair that fell over his forehead nonchalantly. With his confident stride and with the cherubic Labrador retriever that led him safely along the pavement. The white cane didn’t escape her. But it didn’t matter. In fact, nothing mattered anymore.
He reached out to her and she reached back. He simply asked his question again and she didn’t have to think twice before she replied. Fireworks lit up the sky as pure love washed over them. It wasn’t going anywhere – it was here to stay.