Everything I have ever wished for was denied to me. But then, I got what I got; some of it was good, and some of it was bad, and they told me it was a blessing—there is wisdom in the crowds, or so they tell me. I took it in stride, believing I was blessed. Whether I was or not was irrelevant. Most things often are this way. Curses and blessings, heroes and villains, angels and demons, I wish life were as simple as our demarcations of good and bad, but it is still a wish, and if I know one thing about it, it, too, will be denied. What I get in place of it is instead this vast sea of grey in which I dip my toes and stand quietly, staring at the horizon.
I sit here and sip my coffee, reminding myself that my father was once a boy, too. I think of how I possess the best of him, and then I am reminded of how I also have the worst of him. These multitudes—my father, my mother, my batch of mistakes, and all the others I have met in passing—confuse me. So many answers, barely any questions worth asking.
Now, I am reminded that my levity is a sham. It is a carefully crafted charade. But then, it all comes back to haunt me, like an unfinished task, an overdue bill, a road to hell paved with good intentions. My life has no space for someone else because I do not want them to bear the brunt of it—of my father’s needless anger, of my mother’s wasted potential, of how lodged in my chest these pieces from their lives are, and how overbearing and present they will always be, whether they live or die.
I sit here for hours and talk about life and, sometimes, love, pretending I know what I talk about, but I do not. I have never given myself a fair chance at either. All my tragedy is an excuse so I can sidestep happiness. I sense that when it all comes to an end, all my life will be a compromise: never to rock the boat, never to lead astray, to maintain things as they are because I was too afraid to see beyond.
The neighbourhood I grew up in still holds me in its clutches. I am lost on its streets, navigating the crowds, shoving people around, but mostly, I am waiting for the boy my father was and the girl my mother was, wondering:
Why is it taking them so long to come of age?