Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

Say Say Say



I’ve run out of words. I wish I could look you in the face. We stand alone, in the terrace of the building and we are like strangers. You said the word love now it’s the only word I know. I stare at your longer black hair as it covers your left eye, it is a little bit curly.

I looked in your brown eyes then, as you stood there not saying goodbye. You only left, you did not say you were never coming back. You brought me to a city I don’t know, only to leave me there in the lobby with winding plants that I want to strangle myself with.

I stood there, the next day, waiting for you, in a country I’m not the familiar with. Although Canada is only a few miles away, it is a different country and Vancouver is even further away. I don’t know you and I don’t know this place.

Why did I come here for you? Why am I crying on the telephone, frantically looking for a phone number I can catch you on? I find a man with the same last name as you and call him.

He knows you. Thank god the South Asian community is so small. He gives me your family’s phone number. I call you there and you act as if nothing happened between us, nothing at all. You complain that your sisters think I’m pregnant.

I throw my flip phone across the hotel room floor. Nothing is real to me anymore, not your face or your words. Your face lied to me. I thought I saw something in there. But your smile is a liar.

You tell me that your father is dying in another room, you must be there, to witness it. I don’t disagree with you. But you can walk away for a few moments to see me since you told me to come here and be with you.

You chose your father over me. I don’t fault you for that. I fault you for the way you did things. The way you left me with no notice, no words, in a wordless world I was waiting for you to speak and never heard from you.

Heartbreak is not a pretty show, don’t romanticize it. It is ugly. It is me staring out the window, looking at the budding trees, wondering when it will be my time. Is there ever a time for me? Why do I have to deal with hurt again, and again?

I don’t wish this state on anyone. My hair is a mess, I threw up once and haven’t eaten all day. I can only lie in bed and think about how the world has thrown me away, how you threw me away.

I told you my parents would not approve of our relationship because you are Muslim and I’m Sikh. You said fuck them. I said OK. Now there is nowhere for me to turn. I missed my flight home because I was a mess.

I’m standing in line at the airport, not believing this is all real. Watching people talk, talk, talk. I find it fascinating that they can find the words to say, the right words to say. Because I don’t know how to talk about this, I’ve lost my vocabulary. I can only cry.

You squeezed the words out of a writer, you took my mind and played a deadly game where there are no winners. And silence is all that is left on the card table. I threw my hand away already…it was a pretty bad hand.

This is not poetry. This is my life. I can turn it into a beautiful picture of a woman standing in line in an airport in a country she doesn’t know. But I don’t want to show you her strength, that doesn’t feel like strength.

She feels like the weakest link of them all. The weakest. People walk all over her and she just stands there, like she is now, with baggage and nowhere to go. We are all her, you are all me. You all know at some point what loss is like.

I end up on a flight that stops in San Francisco, I have a long stop, so I ask a cab driver to drive me across the city in the middle of the night. We are on the bridge and I don’t look down. Because if I look down, I will never want to swim to the shore.

The taxi driver doesn’t ask me why we are driving to nowhere, and I only have money for him, no words. I don’t even say thank you. Either does he. I walk on board a flight back to my tiny apartment in Chicago, alone.

I never speak to you again. I never speak to myself the same way again. I don’t talk to others with the same lilt in my voice. There is something missing now. I don’t trust their words, you left me a blank check that bounced.

Now I’m here, alone, in my place staring out the window at the sad parking lot behind my building. There are no colors outside, the sky is gray. These are the colors, the colors life has shown me. You colored my pain as if I was a black and white drawing.

You colored this one particular picture all wrong. You went outside the lines and broke the rules. I ripped the paper up and threw it in the garbage. I will never look at color the same. I can hear your non-words. I will never hear words the same again either.

This is not a rainbow…this is the color of my pain.


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