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richasmukherjee.com

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old age

the art of being fine

I guess I’m fine

I’m always fine

When your warm hand slipped out of mine after an entire life of holding on and became cold, when I didn’t want to live anymore, they told me, don’t be like this

You’ll be fine soon they said, so I was fine

I think it’s been so long since you’ve gone that I should feel fine all the time. But to be honest, everything feels lacking, a bit sub-par

I eat all the same things we used to but all of it tastes a little bit different you know, like its missing some salt

When I look up at the sky, I sometimes see your face in an odd shaped cloud floating by. That does make me feel better for a while

No matter how many times I make your side of the bed, it never seems right. I think I mess it up myself, just so that it can look like you’ve slept in it

I try to keep myself busy but ever so often, silly things, little things flood my head with you,

A smile I see yours in, someone slurping tea like you did, a nervous hand tapping a table that used to drive me insane

Once I had to berate myself quite severely, when I saw your rusted razor and I cried for days

Don’t worry I’m better now

I have to feel better don’t I? There’s no choice

I try and go for long walks but lately I’ve been forgetting the way back home so I try not going too far

I go to parties but I feel even lonelier sitting all by myself in a corner of the room

I can understand. I don’t blame them. I don’t hear too well and have nothing much to talk about either

So you see? I’m living my life. It’s not much of a life without you, but I live it.

I always lay out an extra plate for you, every-day. It looks empty, just as I feel inside, but I know that one day we will hold hands again

And then I shall truly, truly be fine

Of an old man and a tree

image

You laughed through the whole episode.
“Silly old man!” You said.
With your usual ,loud ,uproarious guffawing, miles ahead of a laugh.
Everyone saw the small bloody gash, that the traitor branch outside made on your head.
The one that your now often tottering feet, led you into.
Everyone saw the blood being wiped away. Gone forgotten, done with.
I saw much more. In a single flash.
I saw the wispy white hair, that are so carefully combed across your head, the ones that are tenacious and still stand.
I saw the network of veins, so green, so stark now, against your pale white skin.
I saw the denture, wide and expansive, holding tales from the wonder years.
I saw the shaking cotton grasped in your shaking fingers, now reaching, now missing the target till my fingers closed around yours and you laughed again.
I wish I hadn’t seen this much.
Everyday I shake my head thinking nothing can change, nothing will, I won’t let it.
Everyday I watch you sleep, your hands and feet jerking animatedly, looking so agitated but I know you’re dreaming of something peaceful.
And the days when I feel truly anxious, I turn into a mad scientist.
I imagine that we have travelled back in time, I have managed to protect you in my womb.
Far from falling hair, creaking bones, aches, pains, gashes, far far far away.
And here I will keep you safe, for you are my life, unto eternity.

Dignity

That bent old man sitting on the park bench. That silver haired beauty with a sad smile on her face. The forlorn eyes that watch you going to work everyday from the balcony next door. Each one with their stories, some happy, often very sad.

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You think I can’t tell its me you’re talking about?
What have I done today? Spilt some milk? Talked too loud?
I try to tame them, beseech them,try to muffle them, while I’m walking or prone.
But these days my hands, just like my children, have a mind of their own.

You think I can’t tell that you’ve heard what I’ve just said?
Can’t I just sit with you for a few minutes before you push me to bed?
I know I tell the same stories at times. I can tell because you’re forever reaching for the door.
It’s all your mothers fault you see. Her eyes were always filled with wonder, it never seemed she was bored.

Do you think you could just slow down a little bit for me?
Somehow it never upset me waiting around for hours while you crawled around as a baby.
At times I stay up all night listening to my body creak and groan.
But I hate the silence even more, because that’s when I realise I’m truly alone.

This world is spinning too fast, I don’t think I can keep up with you.
Or then I am slowing you down, maybe that’s why your smiles around me are so few.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame you, in this expensive world nothing comes for free.
Keep your money , keep your time, just let me keep my dignity.

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