May 4, 2011

Letter To My Best Friend

To My Best Friend:

I am unsure of how to begin this letter. Most of our conversations are never words, rather actions: a smile between note-taking; looking at each other over cups, your coffee clutched in jittery hands and my earl grey whispering steam; a tug at the corner of your shirt to pull you back from the oncoming traffic while jaywalking. The few words we do exchange are formal. Hello. How’s Your Day Been Going. What Time Is It. To the world we are strangers accidentally drawn to each other by an inexplicable gravitational pull that keeps us joined at the hip, yet completely autonomous.

Perhaps I should replace “are” with “were” because our silent exchanges only ever occurred in the past tense. Now you are far away, too far to touch, to feel. I too, am far; too far to read the Braille of your face, or to analyze the clenching and unclenching of your tired fingers to know what you are thinking.  I compromise with pictures constructed from pixels; each click of the mouse to move to the next is indistinguishable from the ticking of the clock behind me. Each click is a second becomes a minute becomes a couple of minutes becomes an hour of playing mind games with the photo gallery of a social network. One clue here, another clue there. Go on, piece together the happenings of her life like a fucking jigsaw.  Press your face close enough to the screen and everything blurs together. Pull back and it’s still blurry and why are you crying, stop crying. Stop.

Tell me, what does it take for you to recognize all that is not right for you? What can I do, to the fullest of my pathetic human ability, to save you? Save you from the people you think you need to fall asleep, the ones who you think cleared your lungs of the tar of your ill-wishes and silent curses? I sit in bed, still as death, save for my mouth forming the words Those Who Are Good To You Are Not Always Good For You.

Oh, there you are again, on the other end of this invisible wire, the lines that run from the galaxies down to our city, connecting us by monthly plans and used up minutes. And here I am, chanting my mantra to your deaf ears, the listening vessels that are ringing with a voice you think is better than a hymn. Because Hymns Never Lead Me To Salvation, I know you want to tell me. Neither Did This, I want to say back. But you are cracked and chipped and you think this false hymn is your seal, the last stop on the road to fixing yourself. It is not the last stop. It can’t be.

Love can only go so far.

Alas, Best Friend, I came here with the unfamiliarity of words. This bulky, unwelcome present is yours to keep. May this present never collect dust. May you keep polishing this present, that is, my prayers and advice till they’ve been worn down to create a groove where your heart fits perfectly. TC mark

Aelya Salman

I’m the only grandchild in my family to pursue an Arts degree and the one of the few people who can talk at length …