To The Lover Who Keeps Looking For The Exit Sign

Jesse Herzog

You’ve got to understand, there are no escape hatches to life, the way there are no fireflies when it rains, or snowflakes when your throat is parched.

It would be a lesson in futility, an idea as absurd as enchanting it might sound. You’ve got to understand, life is like the song you keep humming while brewing tea in a work kettle, every morning, six days a week, unless it is Sunday and you start your day with a sip from the bottle of wine you stashed away behind your books in case your parents paid a surprise visit or your lover turned out to be too judgmental.

Remember how brewing tea works?

You empty spoonfuls of ingredients into the boiling, bubbling water, pretending to yourself the kettle was a cauldron instead, and the tea, a potion to make your day better. You let the water boil and sizzle, the elements dissolving into it, the sugar, the milk, and the tea leaves. You wait till it becomes a dark syrup, a completely new design which has the essence of every ingredient- the sweetness from sugar, smoothness from milk and the fragrance of a sweaty day up in the hills when the clouds refused to part but the sun refused to go away, sulking instead till the tea leaves were glowing ember in a midst of electric air- but a soul of its own making.

The song you hummed becomes your incantation, and you know, you couldn’t fill its tune with words of your own making. That’s not how incantations work. So you hummed, the exact words, again and again, till they were in your memory as sharp as pain. Till you realised you were bound to those words, and nothing else would suffice, nothing else would satisfy the gods of tea brewing.

You’ve got to understand; you can’t just flip a page and do away with regrets. You can’t unlearn the values of pi to its 8th digit, even though you had learnt it in high school, the same year you had been taught clothes measure a woman’s availability, and cleft chins are the marks of a liar. We become what we’re taught, don’t we?

You’ve got to understand, you can’t take a dip in the forgiving ocean and expect to cleanse yourself of memories, you can’t take a trip to the mountains and expect to make yourself anew, you can’t run away, close the door on your way, and hope no one notices you’re gone.

You’ve got to understand, you can’t change yourself overnight.
You can only try, to break yourself down first, then rebuild, not over laments but lessons. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Nilesh Mondal, 23, is an engineer by choice and writer by chance. He works as writer and curator at Terribly Tiny Tales, and as prose editor for Moledro Magazine.

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