Poses in December

There was frost in the air. Cold stares. Numb emotions. Icicles pierced words. My ex-husband and I were on our last holiday. We had already separated and were living apart, but this trip had been planned ahead.

I had never seen a White Christmas. I did not know white can have so many shadows.

He agreed to come along on Christmas Eve to my friend’s house. She had ordered pizzas. There was wine. And a Christmas tree. She took out the little gifts I had brought her…we strung papier mache elephants beneath the lights. The anachronism was charming. Her partner smiled too much, my ex smiled a little. Both of us laughed a lot. N and I. After the meal she asked me to help her with the coffee. It was a bright yellow kitchen; the sort of kitchen where sunflowers grow and the sun wants to live. I pinched myself. Remember, this is winter.

She made me stand facing her and shook me up. “What’s wrong?”


“You are faking it. Leave. What are you afraid of? Loneliness? When you look back you will realise that this was the loneliest time in your life.”

It was. But in that yellow room on a winter evening when frost covered us like a blanket I did not know. I only saw elephants under Christmas tree lights that twinkled brightly.

We left. Together. We travelled through cities. Together. Our bags laden with sweaters, mufflers, mittens. Warmth in suitcases. I did the smiling pose near monuments that were dead. I stood erect, I tilted my head, I let my hair fly. I was the model. The model wife!

We took a coach to Edinburgh. It was New Year’s Eve. They have a huge party in the outdoors where bands play music that renders you deaf. It helped. Not having to listen to myself. I was talking to myself. I had to talk to someone.

I don’t know what music was playing. I don’t know if anyone danced. I sat on a bench feeling terribly cold. It was dark and faces were invisible. I pulled my legs close to me and felt like those homeless people you see in the streets. Suddenly, I was almost knocked off. A young kid had drunk too much and from the sloping grass up above he had fallen on the bench on which I sat. An emergency van arrived within minutes. He managed a weak smile. I wondered who needed aid, then.

We veered towards the centre where a large screen showed us what was really happening. There were broken bottles of alcohol on the floor; a few just lay there in repose waiting to roll off someplace. I moved to the corner. Most people were deeply occupied in emptying their bladders. I found my shoes in a dried patch of someone’s remnants.

In little niches of vomit I saw stories of stuff imbibed and undigested. Lives that live for a day and go on to the next. Lives where future is a Maybe.

I was a Maybe, hugged by a woollen jacket, a scarf grazing against my neck.

That year there was no White Christmas. I had to make do with ice forming on lips. Frozen memories that would melt away.


Shadowed Meanings said...

Memories and flashbacks! I hate them as much as I love them and I love them as much as I hate them. It's like peeling off a scab. Although it's going to hurt and bleed again, we still do it for reasons unknown.

Manish said...

In last three years , i have been looking at a slightly different point of View on two key things , First one is loneliness. In my view, the whole social evolution has distanced man/woman from its basic and absolute truth, which is loneliness, we train humans to one concept called family, force assimilation of relationships like mom dad, brother sister , uncle aunt , friends, lover , wife , husband , neighbour and what not ...basic fact being we have an absolutely distinct journey in solitude ...it has nothing to do with anyone, your birth is incidental (one day before your birth you are referred to as pregnancy and not an individual), come to think of it , loneliness is truth and built by design, we try new ways to camoflague this every few years ...first with mom...then with dad..then with siblings ...then with friends and then with spouse ...then with kids ,,,then with grandkids and till death we keep moving from one anchor to another ....fact is all anchors are illusionistic ....they have planned obsolence ..they have a shelf life and we tend not to read the use by date ....
Second is on whole two sided love piece, of late, I have concluded that there is nothing called a two way relationship ...love ..in the purest form has to be a one way relationship, two way relationship is about give and take, expectations and must dos....about common interests ...so isnt it Trade ...whats different ...it is a like trade between US and China ....true love has to be zero expectation and nothing should hurt it ....I love taj Mahal but should Taj Mahal love me ? I love someone ....for who that person and her persona ....does that it gets impacted by reciprocation .....
may sound a little off track ..but arent we all a little off track ?

kul bhushan said...


This is pure poetry.

Tujh say mil kar bhi door rehta hoon.
Teri judai men hen tujhse milneki khushian.

Our poets have made us uncurable romantics.Sad one's at that.
You are adding on to it.


kul bhushan

FV said...


I think we do it because we like fidgeting with scabs.

Other than that flashbacks are a good cinematic device for the mind!


Great comment.

Re. loneliness, I think solitary confinement is an intrinsic part of human nature and we get socialised into the roles we play. But, is it loneliness, then?

Can one spend years alone without changing the very structure of the human as s/he is understood? We start by sponging on the mother's fluids before being born - it is natural, not a social conditioning.

Even seeking anchors can be a natural need sometimes.

Which brings us to your second point. Love is a selfish emotion, but loving need not be. Give and take and expectations are not always impure. It is soaking each other.

"I love taj Mahal but should Taj Mahal love me?"

If the Taj Mahal had brain cells and a heart, then it would be nice...never mind you would have to deal with all those tourists and have an orgy instead :)

Objects and places are different form people. Yes, one may not talk about exact quotation and tol-mol about how much given, how much received, the degree of emotion will differ.

It's nice to be offtrack. You can always tell your thoughts ke tedha hai par mera hai...

Kul Bhushan:

Thank you. I think there is romance in sadness. I do not see sadness in a negative light because we imbibe a lot.

Looking back is my way of understanding myself.

I think everyone goes through it, but poets, writers just manage to articulate it.