He and they…

by Sandeep

He was there
So were they
They were with him
So often
That he barely knew
What’s it to be
Without them.

Their rare temporary absence
Created an anxiety
To which he filled himself
With more like them.
Some complimentary,
Some supplementary,
Some substitutes.

The ones he wanted
And, the ones he did not,
Were all there.
Barring a few,
The ones he wanted
Would not come
Or, left even while
He clenched them.
Barring a few,
The ones he did not want
Either wouldn’t go,
Or, come uninvited.
He seemed to have no say,
Mostly,
But, lived through them all
Every day.

With them
Was a journey
Of extremes
And everything
In between.
He seemed to know
No journey
Without them.

One day he read
That he was
To whom they occurred.
He couldn’t know
What it meant.
But, it passed by.

Years passed,
And, amidst an
Ocean of them causing misery
Lay receding islands
Of them bringing relief.
He stood there on the beach
Facing the ocean.
Nothing of the island
Seemed to excite.
Nothing of ocean
Seemed to surprise.

He and they
Were inseparable,
So, he believed.

As utter dejection
And hopelessness
Had created an abyss
There were moments
Where ‘they’ were absent.

In a moment such as that,
When he heard again,
After years,
That they come to him,
And, they aren’t him.
He launched into
A space unknown
For that moment
And, saw them all
The misery, it’s ocean
The relief, it’s island.

It was a moment
That introduced him to ‘he’.
Tears rolled down for seconds.
Things were, however, same,
And, not the same anymore
After that moment.

He grappled with them
In silence and from a distance
Observing the
Arrival, presence and departure
Of both,
The wanted and the unwanted
Alike.

But, also, he remained
With the misery
And joy alike.
He kept forgetting
And, became them.
He remembered himself
And, saw that
they came to him.

The play goes on now,
But, like never before.
And, He was there
So were they
They came to him
As often
But, he knew
What’s it to be
Without them
In a silent observation.

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