It has taken me 15 years to say this. Long periods of forgetting in between, but beauty is an ever present sword waiting to tear open any wall of time: What you were to me, what you were to me: Pure and startling and piercing beauty. Like chancing upon a swan nesting behind the rushes. Like looking up from a drink and seeing the love of your life. Like opening and old book an seeing a love letter hiding there. Each time, these things go right in, right away and stay there.
You did the same to me.
But you were so much more, so much more than I can ever list:
Prayers and long summer nights and praying like I've never prayed before for more time, more time. For somehow, death and time to be reversed and overturned. Just for me. For us. For butterflies and Russian and ice-cream and Camay soap and the sight of you smiling. For listening to you and talking to you and realizing that you never once talked to me as if I were a child, even though you called me Baby. Your white wicker basket that I swung from my arm as we walked through the garden, me pretending to be a big Parisian lady, or a raani, or both. Oh how I prayed for more time for us to pluck every single yellow leaf off the hedge. For more time for your flower filling and your tea drinking and you giving me cubes of cheese or strawberry jam. For the peace of those afternoons, the scent of those nights when we slept outside on the veranda under the mosquito net and the owlets in the trees broke up the songs of the crickets and chattered at us well past dawn.
The sounds, the smells, the feel of your cheek, the smoothness of your hand, the love I felt coming from you, the love I felt flowing out to you, the dizzying beauty in each thing you pointed out to me: each leaf or petal or movement or colour. Your stories: of Europe and love and clothes and the theatre and ballet and picnics and growing up and mama and the grandfather I never met but who I feel I know because of what you told me about him.
I prayed for more time for each of these things, each of them deep and wide enough for there never to be enough time.
You are my love of: Pink and rose and Central Asia and Kazakhistan and Mongolia and Italy. Italy! And the moon and stars and fresh air and God and good food and ballet and fashion and violets and pansies and poetry and writing. My patience with my own pensiveness and mama's pensiveness. My ability to sit by the garden pond and let the rain tree flowers land soft and gold on my hair and watch the tails of the fish flashing this way and that.
You still are all of these things to me. All of them and more.
Love and beauty and searching.
Is there anything else?
Somewhere out there you're walking or watching and pulling me; I can feel you. And each time there is blue or gold or green or pink or roses or music or cloud or flowers or steppe I feel the pull all the harder.
Tug, why don't you - I'm so tired of waiting to see you again.