Body Peechhe Pad Jaati Hai. What else to do?
By Tia Basu
Illustrations by Bhoomi
When you touch – and there will be touch – do not linger. Eye contact is important. Don’t do it. Don’t tilt your head and look at them too long, smiling into their face because it feels right. Look away, laugh even if it’s awkward, make a joke and move back a few steps. Don’t keep looking at doors you know they’ll be walking through. You cannot look up at them through your lashes, slowly scanning their faces from curve of chin to where tiny strands of hair dot their forehead.
Eyes at neutral. Neither here, nor there. At level with your heart. But not theirs.
Your hands will become traitors. You’ll go in for a casual high-five and your fingers will tangle. Sometimes, and this happens a lot when there’s love that you can do nothing about, they will stumble or trip. Right in front of you. You’ll jump in to help them up and your hands will be in their hands and before you know it, your fingers interlace and remain that way. Even worse, you’ll reach for their shoulders, pulling them to their feet and the edges of their hair will brush your fingers and you’ll never be able to let go.
Bring up their significant others in conversation. Not a lot, that’s too obvious. Be casual, like you’re fully aware of the significant other and you respect their presence, but it’s not a big deal to you. Because you don’t care. Not that way. Maybe not in any way.
Make sure they don’t know that you’re lying.
Watch your breathing. See how it gives away everything. Things you didn’t even know you were ready to give. Your breath will jump as they come into a room. As they walk up to you like you’re the only one in the room, and perhaps you are, your lips will part and your breath will soften into a sigh. Not a deep one, not yet. Steel yourself, compress your lips into a smile and take your breath back. It doesn’t belong to them.
Allow yourself one deep sigh when they walk away.
Put an iron rod in your spine. Your body is like Flubber when it loves and cannot fulfil that love. It will slither towards them no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Elbows and upper arms are treacherous. Whether you’re sitting or standing, your body will sway towards them and your shoulders will touch. The sides of your arms, somewhere between bicep and tricep, will be named after them. Space has no power over your body here. You will have to fight it. You become the anti-body. Allow yourself no fluidity. You are solid and standing as straight as possible. You are sharing the air with them. Nothing more.
Quiet your rational mind sometimes. Don’t think about what’s smart or how everything could fall apart because four sets of fingers have made up their minds to never be apart. Let the love, the longing, the desire flow. Touch yourself the way you imagine they would. Let the possibilities come to you with tenderness. As you hope they would.
Your body will move on. But memories are like soft teeth marks on your neck.
Tia reads obsessively, and writes and edits to fund her book fetish. In her mid-30s, she is still coming of age in love and writing.