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until we meet again

Illustrated Narrative by Saumya Shukla
until we meet again

So much of me is out there,
looking to see how much there is to me.

My body; I’m reckless to it,
I abuse it, more often than I choose to breathe,
but it casts a single shadow with all its pieces,
and marks its presence.
I’m glad it does, or I wouldn’t know.
“You there?”, my friend asks as I sit to write this down mid-conversation,
“Yeah yeah, what were you saying?
I’m good, life is uneventful as ever. 
I’m looking for a house but you and I both know I’ll never move.
Speak soon, sorry. Sorry.
I’m tired, my body hurts.”
My body; it’s tired:
feet – of trying to run,
while there was still ground beneath,
heart – Of failing at love twice in a single breath.

I set out for somewhere,
a few years ago,
only to forget where my destination was,
making pitstops for survival,
for I couldn’t carry you with me –
this invisible weight on my shoulders,
choking me,
every single time I tried to escape.

(Was I in love?
For that’s all I’ve known love to be;
I have none to give.)

I’m so many people,
and nobody at the same time;
a paradox,
always hanging in between.
A yes and no, 
mountains and beaches,
days and nights,
tea and coffee,
pen and keyboard.
Between moving towards something,
and getting further away from it.
Do I drown or do I float?
Who decides that?
Or do I take a boat?
If I stay, will I ever go?

My house changed shape a while ago.
The walls misaligned,
complaining of abandonment.
My clothes wouldn’t recognise my body,
my socks wouldn’t cling to my feet anymore.
The place screamed of someone else,
someone I didn’t know.
It still belonged to me, on paper.
Like my heart, in theory.
Like my lover’s heart, in my head.

What starts out as hope,
soon starts to feel dreamlike.
You know how it goes.
I look for myself again,
I look too much in the mirror,
multiple times during the day.
I leave my skin behind sometimes,
when I leave the house,
so home remains a space that knows me,
While the world sees multiple people in a body.
While I don’t.
While my search for the real me transcends my being,
geographically and otherwise.
Moving through cities,
building ghost towns inside.

I’ll forever remain a nomad.
A stranger to myself.
But strangers are lands,
waiting to be traversed.
To be woken up with kisses of familiarity,
like the winter sun’s caress,
We’ll not scream, only whisper,
till no stranger remains one to any,
and we’ll look up a little more,
curse our reflections a little less.
And then when I see you again,
and ask if you’re sad,
all I hope to hear from you is,
that you’re content.
That we’re content.

until we meet again
until we meet again
until we meet again
until we meet again
until we meet again
until we meet again
until we meet again