It’s funny how some things make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Like that scrapbook from school I shred into pieces earlier this morning. Or that blue velvet coat – which mirrors the color of your eyes – that has been lying around unwanted in a desiccated corner of my room. Or those memories from a decade long ago, that linger around like an unfamiliar relative. It’s funny how almost everything I can recall about you– your laughing hazel eyes, the tiny winks, your loopy handwriting, that phantom tune you used to play on the piano – still matter. I loathe how those old, hazy photographs of you that lie hidden between piles of newspapers in my almirah still manage to cook up a dangerous storm in my heart. I hate how every time I hear your name, a battle – that leaves me with a strange, sad wanting, a longing that knows no meaning, no boundaries or barriers – riles up in my head. But not all embers grow into fire, do they? Because, in a dialect I couldn’t read, in gestures I couldn’t perceive, in decibels that were impossible to reach, you always hinted that you were beyond my league. That, you, to me will always be forbidden territory, a far-fetched dream. And today, when you closed that unseen space between us into an island I will never be able to swim into, I saw new fences rise between hopes of growing old with you and living in a universe that you always want to remain a stranger to.