The Last Evening

It’s our last evening
but my favourite pink kurta does not understand.
It twirls and shines vibrantly,
not knowing this is also its last time on my body.
I convince my hair to straighten up,
but it tangles and shrinks into dry curls,
thinking I have all the time on the earth
to play with it while I am talking to you.
I wear a rusted pair of hoops
that have grown old with us,
and somehow, they still look youthful
for the last time on my ears.
I see you from a distance and everything freezes.
It’s the last time and you still make me nervous.

The coffee cools down in seconds,
Laughter and words follow incessantly
Time flies and so does the sad truth for a while
Time, like autumn, is fading the abundance of our fruitful summer,
but your voice is safely harbouring us in spring.
I am happily inhaling every bit of your smell
knowing I will be shortly stifled by your absence.
I am laughing like a child with you
knowing we will soon degenerate into a corpse.
My heart is dancing to the tunes of your hums
knowing it will be paralyzed soon after the music stops.
Maybe beauty glows all the more intensely
in the moments before it will soon die forever.
Maybe it makes you live a lifetime in a second
and numbs you in the same breath too.

You are long gone now
but I still live on the coffee table.
I have read so much since then
but it’s only our last words
that I always keep a bookmark to.
I have listened to new songs since then,
curated playlists bought new earphones,
only to always sleep to the recollection
Of my name on your lips.

You are long gone now.
I regret not telling you that I love you.
But I hope it entered through the door I held for you,
got dissolved in the watercolours
I used to paint you a bookmark,
flowed smoothly on the kurta
I ironed constantly before meeting you,
is breathing on the margins
of the book I chose and inscribed for you.
I couldn’t say I love you,
but I hope it was whispered
in the sentences I completed for you.

You are long gone now
to a place where the roads do not turn,
to people who will never know about me.
But I still live on the coffee table,
wondering if you too are brought here for seconds
when my favourite song
suddenly plays in your car,
when a sweet stranger you meet on the road
carries my distinct name,
when the passenger next to you in metro
wears the pink kurta lying abandoned in my closet,
when the person across you in a restaurant
savours the weird coffee I had with you,
when the book I always asked you to read
rests in the centre of your favourite bookstore.

While time and physical spaces draw us apart,
Can we endure in tiny and abstract nooks?
Who is to define what a home is anyway?
Maybe sometimes, it is a few memories away
sheltering a part of you from every test of time.

Tripti Moolchandani is a former student of English Literature at Gargi College, University of Delhi.