Saturday, 2 June 2012

A Chapter.

They say there shouldn't be hate in love - but I do not believe it. They say it, as though it is a bad thing - it is. How can hate be good? How can it, in the face of love, exist? Yet it does. I have hated as intensely as I have loved that I cannot now separate them. When she came up to me that day, I spoke little. She thought I hated her.

‘Why?’ she asked, ‘would you want to meet me? I must be your least favourite person.’
‘You were.’ The gleam of her eyes then vanished. I always thought they were beautiful eyes, but not as beautiful as another's that I knew. That I told her long ago and she begrudged me for being truthful.
‘And there is another now?’
‘Perhaps,’ I said, sipping the coffee. The light of the summer sun fell upon the street before us and like many Londoners, we sat there looking at it from our quaint coffee shop in Piccadilly. It is interesting, I used to tell myself, what a place becomes. Places are people. Once perhaps, you would have crossed it - like you cross people - and as beautiful as they seem, they leave no mark, no trace within your soul. Sometimes, it is different;  like the first, brief shine that breaks through a hapless, dim day. Love, and they're strangers no more - and when love fails, all that is left to do is to hate. No more a stranger, but strange nonetheless.

‘Do you hate her too?’
‘I would have too many to hate - if I hated all who have wronged me. I forgive you.’
‘I was stupid,’ she said, stirring her coffee, knowing full well I do not see malice as stupidity. She did not look up.
‘Stupid?’ I smiled. I smiled not to feign normalcy or cordiality, I smiled because I was indifferent. This woman before me did not matter anymore. She had once a claim over my emotions but not anymore. So I smiled. She was beautiful to look at - like a show piece. There were no flaws in her skin and if I must be truthful with myself, her beauty was what attracted me in the first place. But not this time. This time I was indifferent, like a man who saw beautiful art but could not enjoy it - not because he lacked the knowledge or experience to do so, but because what was once beautiful to him, is beautiful no more.
‘We should leave here. There are some books I’d like to take a look at.’
‘Waterstones?’ she enquired.
‘Yes.’ And I walked through the doorway of that large bookstore - the place once known to me only by name and the knowledge of its location, was now, an intimate place. I despised that. There were a lot to hate in that place and if I had laced every piece of furniture there with it, they would have burnt to the ground. I couldn’t. There were like remnants of a lost something, and as I walked through the different floors I could not help but still feel fond of them. How could I not? I had spent so much time there; at the chair by the pillar - she sat there once - or the table where we often did our work together. When I returned, I often sat at these places again - not because I felt nostalgic, or by that convoluted belief that by sitting there, I would somehow be closer to her. No, it merely felt familiar - and yet unfamiliar because she was not present, and that made it new. I even smiled at a stranger once, and she smiled back. A new thing in an old place.
‘Smile,’ she said. ‘It’s not a crime to smile,’

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