The different ways I tell you that I love you


~by Nitin Lalit Murali & Maggie Lawson

The different ways I tell you that I love you.

~ by Nitin Lalit Murali

I could tell you I love you in myriad ways, but when stripped to the core, you’ll find seven perfect symbols embodying the holy trinity of darkness, purgatory and redemption. So, while the words only etch and claw, it’s the semantic which personifies the flooding and outpouring of a heart.

The seven symbols are a palm nailed to a cross, a figurine smashed by hands of chaos, the aurora borealis, the hounds of hallucination, the Stoic retreating into himself, the release from the symbols in the sordid cave, and the transfiguration.

When you rejected me though you loved me, I felt the broken flesh and blood spilling, dripping, slowly and steadily on the dust. The place was a Golgotha of crushed vagabonds, knowing but never finding, seeing but never reaching, and a devastated, distracted and disenchanted me, having had his idealism turned into an ice-cold nihilism made me question my duplicity like Jean-Baptiste Clement. Am I responsible? Am I at fault? Did I really love her? I asked while I lay on my bed during sleepless nights, tossing and turning.

And then some part of me, riddled with pitch-black ink, and self-loathing that tattoos with a blade, creating red callouses, said, ‘Yes. You’re Janus-faced and all your affection is trite falsity,’ and what was left of this thing we call a self-esteem found itself crushed by hands of my cowardice. And I sighed, and gave up, deciding to drink myself to death.

And then I found the greens and reds – the former symbolizing enthusiastic hope and the latter the rage of finding an almost catharsis torn asunder by circumstance. Why are we given pastures to lie on under a post-apocalyptic sky? Why are we given this semblance of green when we possess this anti-Midas’ touch—turning everything we touch to ashes? I found myself plagued with these thoughts, and they stripped me of flesh and bone, leaving a crimson heart on a platter of doubt, beating…throbbing…decaying…dying.

Then, I shivered with fear with an endodontic drill sucking out my love and peace, and trembled while I cried out like William Cowper, and screamed, ‘I’m despicable; end this now Lord!’ And the only answer was one he’d received centuries ago, ‘You have perished!’ Maybe you think this is hyperbole, and dismiss it, but you forget the draw, the claw and the blood when love’s involved.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The different ways I tell you that you’re loved

~ by Maggie Lawson

Sitting at the table with needle and thread, I’m eyeing the pieces of you, cast like discarded clothing, throughout the room.  I move from scrap to scrap, gathering muscle, sinew and bone, laying out the pattern of you in my mind.

My tears run freely at the sight of self-destruction, hitching a ride on my seamstress tracks and I bloody my face as I wipe them away, in between the gathering of you into my fold.

Arms fully laden I place you down, sorting the inners and the outers, the soft from the hard.  I trace the length of your thigh bone, all crimson and white and notice the fractures branching out like a lightning strike.  This is where the truth lies, where you folded beneath the heft of your pain.  Such was the burden of your weighted soul that it crushed you from the inside out.

Fingers sticky with your glue I begin to sew you anew but I need to tell you, need to tell you you’re wrong.

Young man, my precious boy, look what you’ve done.  Can’t you see that you only know black because you’ve seen white?  You only know pain because it rides with delight.  Your head turns both ways, you have a neck, you know.

Let me show you the different ways I tell you that you’re loved.

Remember, it’s the semantic which personifies the flooding and outpouring of a heart and now I will hold yours until you can again.

There are seven perfect symbols of love and if you look where I place my needle you’ll see I’ve sewn them in place.  That way you’ll always have them with you, no matter how alone you feel.

The seven symbols are a scarred palm, a figurine repaired by hands of a debtless stranger, the aurora borealis, the beauty of creativity, the Stoic climbing out of himself, the forgiveness for the journey into the sordid cave, and the transmutation.

These things are my promise to you that you’re loved and when I’m done stitching your flesh and mending your bone you’ll be able to see where I knit you back together, they will be your scars, your magnificent scars that prove you are loved enough to mend, no matter how often you are broken.  I love you enough to do that, not because I know you because I don’t but by virtue of our shared humanity, because we were boiled in the same oil, flayed by the same whip.  I am gifting you golden thread so that you might wear your Kintsukuroi with pride knowing your majestic birth began when you were broken and that your coming of age is in your repair.

But I can’t fix all of you.

I can only pull together your pieces, offer stitches in support.  After my fingers are raw with mending I’ll need you to climb in and wear your history with the fullness of your being; understand that you are the aurora borealis of your own night sky, an exquisitely natural phenomena of your own making.  Stop trying to fit in.  This world is full of tight corners and edges and we, the expansive ones, were never meant to fit but to float, full and free.  Forgive yourself when you crouch in dark places; there’s no shame in needing comfort from the scorch of high noon.  Who can judge you for sucking on cactus in a dessert?

Behold the beauty of your own creation, look at the marvelous warrior you are and remember, you must love the battle, not the win because without it, the victory is empty.  When you can look in the waters of your tears and see that you only experience pain because you are so full of love then and only then will the transmutation be complete.

And it is my hope for you, young stranger, that you learn to love the ashes in your mouth because they are proof you burned bright enough to make them.

Know that you are loved, tell yourself that every day.

©All original work copyright Maggie Lawson 2018

Maggie L. chews crayons here: The Art of Chewing Crayons

You can find more of Nitin’s work at Fighting The Dying Light

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        1. Thank you so much! That was what we were trying to bring to the piece. A contrast of darkness and light. And I’m so glad we gave it justice, and even more so that you liked it.

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