I don’t know why I’m doing this. I’ve never liked the concept of letter writing. Whenever I had the choice to avoid it, I took it. The rules always seemed made up. Not one person has been able to offer me a justification as to why formal letters required an attempt at flattery. I thought language was invented to simplify communication; using unpopular words, exclusively for a certain class of people, seems illogical. I don’t know if there ever existed a governing body that determined the “official” pattern for written messages, but if it did, I’m glad to have seen this particular “art form” to its grave. Of course, my objection to written letters could’ve been partly influenced by my excitement for email.
We had email around the time you and I were acquainted as colleagues. Yes, I know ‘colleagues’ isn’t an apt descriptive for school-going children, but vocabulary isn’t as important to me as my critical thinking faculties, thus I’ve allotted my resources appropriately. Email evolved around us and as I look back, I can’t but wonder how fun it would’ve been to communicate via email when we had the chance (read ‘when it was cool’). Rules for letters didn’t apply and, unlike the most commonly used platforms today, it hadn’t any limits on word count. I guess this – this – could have been on your inbox right now, addressed to the real you and not the cleverly picked alias; I hope you appreciate the witticism. But there are somethings I’m constitutionally incapable of doing, which in this case is missing an opportunity to confuse people worldwide. Also, I’ve been stalling all this while. I couldn’t think of a more creative way to ease into the main content.
From the very beginning of me, I’ve thought of myself as the greatest thinker that has ever existed; that opinion hasn’t changed a bit. For twelve straight years, I sat quietly in a classroom full of people my age thinking about what’s going on in their head. ‘What might they be thinking?’, I asked myself all the time. I’ve always been curious of the ways of the human mind. In a span of the first 7 years of school, I was a part of 7 different friend circles – I have been through cycles of friendliness, enmity and all the intermediate shades of grey with every single person – and I think the reason, why I never managed to sustain a best friend long enough, was that morbid curiosity. Of course, I discount the possibility that others too might have their own curiosities to act upon, so that either makes me an egocentric analyst or a non-judgmental dick.
I thought so much so very often that I inadvertently turned it into an instinct. What once took me a few minutes to fully assimilate, I can now do, ironically, without thinking about it. I can read people from a hundred feet away. I can estimate what they’re thinking, what they’re looking at, and what their next move is going to be. It all happens in the blink of an eye. I’ve never gone wrong in short term predictions; it’s practically a superpower. I’ve been able to create my own hallucinations of people I know. I’ve gained proficiency in simulating entire conversations with their ghosts, to optimise real life. That being said, that assertion of my local near-omniscience might make me look like a victim to the confirmation bias and the hindsight bias. The truth is my self-endowed gift (Thank you Me!) has a massive blind spot. I’m not one who is quick to admit a weakness, but I’m feeling pretty confident no one will be able to trace this to you. It’s you.
You are the only one keeping me from achieving the perfect score on my self-administered self-evaluated analysis tests. You are the only one I can never know enough about. You are the only one I’ve been consistently wrong about. I just cannot, for the life of me, figure you out. I couldn’t when we were in school, and I can’t now. I hope you’re not taking this the wrong way; it’s all meant as a compliment – just clearing it up regardless of whether or not you already knew that, because that is just how vastly clueless I am about you.
See, while you’re out there wondering why I keep myself from revealing my emotional vulnerabilities (I know it doesn’t take up a whole lot of your time, but just pretend it does), I basically have the same exact trouble with you. Outside the long list of factoids you’ve mentioned that I’ve compiled from our many recent interactions, I have absolutely no idea how you might feel about anything else, no matter how closely they’re related to the stuff I already know. You, I cannot deduce. About you, I cannot infer from context. I can’t even coax myself to make an educated guess. There is no method, not one, enlisted in my internal encyclopedia, I could employ, to even comprehend what might be going on in your thought-centres as I speak. I’m completely defenceless when I talk to you. Sometimes, I can’t but look around hopelessly searching for involuntary cues in people around us, to evaluate and deduce from, so as to calm the loud silence in my brain. Every single instance just strengthens my hypothesis – my gift hasn’t vanished; it just doesn’t work on you. You are the unpredictable.
It is that very unpredictability that keeps me from sleeping at night. At least, it ought to. I expected unspeakable anguish, the moment I’d eventually stumble upon something I can’t figure out. I know it wasn’t unreasonable to assume I would be writhing in pain from this curse of curiosity, because it has happened before and it has always hurt me more than any real physical wound. But here we are, and nothing bad has happened. The only thing that bothers me is that it doesn’t bother me. I don’t seem to care about the fact that I’ve failed in all my attempts to decipher you. I really don’t know what in the non-existent hell is going on. It’s like the world I’ve created around me, as a superimposition to make sense of the real world, crumbles when I’m around you.
I could lecture a massive gathering endlessly on the countless wonders of my world, but when I’m with you, I don’t really care about that world. All of the thoughts I’ve mustered to arrive at that world just seem like a parallel reality. It is indeed a parellel reality I designed to amuse myself, but suddenly I don’t want to be a part of it. This frightens me. I built this world. I built it for me. I built it to house and consolidate all of my stray thoughts. I’ve got racks upon racks of data in each of the thousands of rooms I constructed in that world. The rooms are huge, some nearing Brobdingnagian proportions. Even if it didn’t serve any real purpose outside the confines of my consciousness, I’ve been most proud of this one creation because, unlike popular preconceptions of the term ‘my world’, my world is literal. It is beautiful, but apparently not beautiful enough. Not as beautiful as you.
My life has essentially changed directions. I don’t know if I can trust my senses anymore. I should be in a state of panic right now but I’m not, and that’s what I’m panicking about. I should be forcing myself to think deeper and try to understand what’s going on, but I’m not; apart from thinking about you, I can’t stop wondering why I’m not able to think. I should be facing sleepless nights ahead of me and while that’s technically happening, it isn’t happening for the right reasons. Your presence in my life has flipped every switch in my… erm… control panel. Every part of me is in conflict with itself. I don’t like it one bit, but surprisingly, I still don’t care.
I’ve spent my whole life accommodating and internalising my inner conflicts. I’ve broken every rule of society to be true to the reality of nature. I’ve torn the mask off of humanity and seen it for what it truly is. I’ve built layers upon layers of walls to keep my true self from being influenced by anything remotely malicious – the list is endless. That me – the true and unchanging internal me – seems to have disappeared lately. It has either escaped that well maintained prison I specially set up to keep it safe, or changed itself to be more appreciative of the unnecessarily complicated constructs for social behaviour. That me is writing a letter of all things.
I’ve noticed I’m happy around you. Happy, not happier; I hadn’t an inkling what true happiness was like. I mean, yes, I know what happiness is like in the context of my family but it just wasn’t the same when I step outside my home. I created the world, my world, to emulate popular notions of happiness and convinced myself to believe it was the real deal. I used Quantum Mechanics, of all things, to emulate that. I went full Deepak Chopra on myself. I was doing fine all this while as does anyone ignorant of the truth. I should be angry that this bubble, I was living in, has burst. I should be, but I’m not. I’m happy, or am I? It is unfamiliar. I’ve never felt this way and there is nothing I can compare it with to label it correctly. I can’t logically infer that this is indeed happiness and yet, my mind is screaming that at me.
‘YOU ARE HAPPY!’, says it.
Yes. Yes, I’m happy when I’m with you. It’s ineffable, but thinking about you puts a smile on my face. These days, I’ve had to come up with quick jokes to divert from and account for having that wide a smile. When you talk, I want it never to stop. It’s not that you have a singer’s voice (just being brutally honesty here and I don’t want you to have the wrong idea in case we happen to visit a karaoke place some day), but hearing you speak is magically calming to me. I could hear you talk about anything endlessly. I’ve enjoyed your company more than anybody else, so much that I yearn our following get-together the moment we part. I’ve missed you so much, I’ve started to have involuntary hallucinations of you around me. I see you everywhere. If that sounds creepy, it probably is. On a subconscious level I know you’re not really there, but I’m compelled to indulge in a chat with your ghost for as long as you’re there.
The funny thing about these pseudo-chats is that it’s all in my head and limited by my head. Since my skills don’t work with you, our pseudo-conversations hardly ever go any further than what I’ve already heard from you. My mind has been experiencing a strong vacuum for quite some time now, and that’s only relieved in those brief moments when I’m around you. True, if it was anything or anyone else, I wouldn’t classify a four hour average as brief, but it most certainly seems like it should be. My heart beats stronger when I’m around you – not a euphemism, it actually does. While I’m well versed with whatever might be happening to me physiologically, I’ve for the first time, in a long time, actively avoided making an analysis and just gone with the flow. Though now that I’ve thought about it, I probably experienced euphoria from that extra oxygenated blood flowing through my vessels.
The truth is I don’t know how I feel about you. I’m not even certain if I’m capable of emotions. I had locked them all up in a different room far away from my internal prisoner, but it seems to have found its way back. Did I intend to pull off a shortened Rapunzel like story in my head? I don’t think so. What I do know, though, is that my life now has meaning. I still don’t know what the meaning is but I’ll find it out sooner or later.
Just know that you’re the only one I’ve never clearly understood and you’re the one who has inspired me to break free. I hope, no matter what happens between us, you’ll always be a part of my life.
P.S. It’s Denver. I just think Mark is a cool alias…