asymmetries
Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.





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I was wrong.

Sometimes, you think you know what you can give someone. You think that your words will have this healing power, that you will be able to give them what they’ve searched for for years. You can list all the ways you’d touch them, caress them, savour them in a hurried breath. You know exactly what you would do to make them happy, because that’s all you really want to do, make them happy. But sometimes, probing words and truthful sentences hurt more than they heal. Sometimes, exposing their wounds to the world and offering to do the stitches for them is more embarrassing than loving. I’m sorry. This was wrong. I have only ever wanted you to be happy. I will keep wanting you to be happy. 

(A post was here, and now it is not.)

to yearn

I miss the girl who used to sit in the corner of classrooms, composing poetry on spare napkins, scrawling graffitied prose onto table-tops. I used to see her walk through the park near my house, the small one beyond my backyard, with the patches of dying grass and dry soil. She used to wring her hands nervously as she walked, pacing in circles, at an ever-steady pace. Her lips used to pulse, a vibrato hummed out beneath her breath, in an attempt to find those last words that she knew were hovering just beyond her reach. It’s like knowing that there are thousands and thousands of galaxies in this universe, and yet being unable to explain the mysteries of Mars, let alone planets further light years away. It’s this paradox of knowing that something exists, but, at the same time,  not understanding the very intricacies of its reality. You would see her at the local cafe, occupying that tattered armchair in the far corner. She would always drink her cappuccino slowly, sometimes making a single cup last hours. She’d rather drink lukewarm coffee, than waste that caffeine high. I have never seen her buy anything other than her usual cappuccino, with two sugars and extra chocolate on top. She would simply nod silently as she entered the cafe, with its familiar smell of pastry and coffee grounds, and the barista would begin to whip up her order without second thought. I miss her. She rarely spoke, but I heard her words as clear as the full moon on a cloudless night. Anyone could see that there was a story embedded just beneath her sun-kissed flesh, a history that had been recorded by an old typewriter with fading ink. I miss seeing her. I would always slow my steps to match her enduring ones. It was as if she could walk to the Himalayas at that pace, and never get tired, never stop except for that cappuccino before she pressed on. I feel as though I have lost that image in my mind, the one where her pen used to fly across the white leaves of paper, staining purity with black ink, never to be reversed. I know the image. I can remember having it, but I cannot recall the memory itself. It pains me. This girl, unnamed to all (including me, including herself), has started to disappear, to fade even at high noon. An uncomfortable shudder runs down my spine, when I revive her willowed frame in my scattered mind. I try to press her to the recesses of consciousness, which hold forgotten women and past loves. It is only past ten at night in the winter that I can remember her without any pain. It is then that I reminisce with warmth and fondness; it is then that I remember the girl who wrote poetry on tree-trunks, and drank her coffee slowly. It is then that I think to myself, “I would like her to come back.”