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SHE

Ipshita Chatterjee

She is poetry. Her tiniest movement exudes an unmatched lyrical quality. Twirling her hair and flicking it back nonchalantly, the massive efforts she makes at stifling yawns during dreary lectures, the livid anger which shadows her face and the frown furrowing her forehead, the radiant smile which greets the world, irrespective of the tears which have soaked her pillow the night before - it is all a beautiful ballad. Her twinkling eyes surveying me from behind the thick spectacles – that is poetry. Her deep soulful voice, even when we fight – that is verse. Her walk exactly timed to the meter, her gentle touch and the feel of it on my hand – that is a soliloquy. Yes, that girl is poetry.

I longed and so longed to recite this poem, to place her verses on my lips. But I see the obvious truth staring me in the face.
I have known her since she was born. I have known her as closely as anyone can know a person. I have seen her spirited and buoyant, and weak and vulnerable. I have reveled in her joy and comforted her, in her pain. When she received her first ‘Best Athlete’ medal and when she received her college degree, I was standing right next to her, my arms outstretched to hug this poem of a girl. When she fell off a bicycle and when her first boyfriend dumped her, I was up all night, caressing her and nursing the bruises on her knee and those on her heart.

Yet, she was never mine. She can never be mine. The laws of society and nature stand between me and my poem. But, I cannot think of anyone else but her. They say, love is blind, love defies all rationality and knows no bounds. Yes, my love was queer enough to disregard blood ties, the constraints of being the progeny of the same womb. Yes, the word ‘incest’ flashes before me each time I look at this poem of a girl, my little sister.

The guilt, pain and trauma of it all rips me into pieces. Concealing this massive load of emotions tears me down to a million tiny bits. When I see her in love with another man, I can only sit down and helplessly weep my heart out. But this dull throbbing pain only becomes sharper, stinging my heart with every heave of my chest.

Today, as I watch her, all bedecked in her bridal finery, her hands dyed with henna, her head covered with a red veil, my heart just cannot hold its secret any longer. I have waited for almost twenty years for this moment. If she cannot be mine, she will not go without knowing my secret.

I silently shut the door behind me and walk softly into the room where she waits for her wedding. The three words softly escape my lips. With her mellow reply “I love you too, bhaiyya,” a lover’s heart turned to stone.

 

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