“Some religions command that a grieving person mustn’t be allowed in the family kitchen. They say, you infect the food you touch, with your loud sighs and your sadness that weighs three parts lead one part acid and it’s eating away at your heart even before you can take your first morning breath. They say, every grain that passes through your hand shares your secret, it rubs into your cigarette smoke and flaky skin, and when someone else consumes that grain, they too become a part of your emotions keeping you up at 2 in the night gulping for more oxygen than your lungs can feel.
All this while, I’m standing by the balcony and looking at cars go by and I’m wondering if someone in those cars is breathing in the smell of metal in the morning air and thinking of last night when they had an empty house and a razor to their wrist and their lover on speed dial.
I wonder if they’ve held their fists to their chests and wondered if their hearts are sweaty just like their palms. I imagine for them a life with meaning, where they know how to unbutton a shirt to show their scars to a stranger and talk about jumping out of the 12th floor window because someone forgot to kiss them goodbye and hug lovers clumsily because of societal sobriety and because they smell of defeat and because they were 6 pounds too overweight last week.
I wonder if anyone told them, this universe cares about you too, and because you chose to play your favourite song on repeat today, in the Indian ocean two prawns are making love three thousand feet deep under water. I wonder if anyone told them, don’t let the one you love put on their blouse or shirt while you were too busy counting your misfortunes on their fingers. I wonder if anyone told them they deserved to be held too, not because they are worth it, but because what else is there to life.
I wonder if they have thought of overdosing on pills their doctors gave them, and if the thought of having another sandwich with their mother is all that keeps their breathing in sync. I really want to ask them if the sky is bluer for people who smile and if sitting naked at a restaurant scares them and how much.
Yes, mourners aren’t allowed to cook because their sadness seeps into everyone and turns them a little bitter somewhere where they remember their lover’s name to be.
Yes, people love without promising to stay after they have tasted your desire and crushed your pants under their thighs.
And out of the two, I don’t know which one scares the fuck out of me.”