Stay (If You Want To).

I’ve never asked anyone to stay.

But for you I have considered sitting on one palm

And biting one cheek

And stopping one foot from tapping the ground 

And asking, “Are you leaving already?

Or perhaps “When will you be back?

Or “Wait, don’t you have something to say to me?“-

Anything.

Anything but a “please stay“. 

****

I was their first, their hardest to raise

And the hardest to raise a voice to,

Let alone a hand;

because my voice would be louder

And my hand would always be faster.

I was forced to fight

In battles that I was too young for-

A battle of eyelids in a battlefield of dirty laundry and crinkled uniforms at 6:30am.

A battle of muscles in a battlefield of greasy Corelles and green Sunlight bubbles at 9:30pm.

A battle of enthusiasm in a battlefield of cranky babies and smelly nappies at every journey’s pit stop and all 52 weekends in a year.. for several years.

There was no time to care about my feelings

Because no one ever wanted to ask this skinny, seemingly-all rounded 12 -year old girl if she was ok to not go out with her friends for the 10th time round,

Or how she sleeps at night with that sinus and throbbing face

There was no reason to be asking if she was hurting anywhere

And my narrow mind thought this was just how life was for everyone my age, therefore

If I did ask for anything it was not “could I get a little help here?” 

but

“Is there anything else I can do?”-

for that was all I knew. 

So I had fought many battles

Inhaled way too much clorox

and endured way too much teasing

And I know it’s bad to brag but there were

Many of which I thought I’d never make out of sane

But I did..

all except one;

And that’s only because it’s not a battle meant for one.

If this was the flaw you saw 

That made you think twice about staying

Then allow me to deconstruct those conclusions

Because that flaw is not simple.

My pride is the only sin

Which I hate to take full responsibility for:

I do not give in and surrender easily

When I have nothing to be sorry for.

I have never been taught that

To apologise, when the other should-

Is an act done by ‘mature’ people.

I fail to see how swallowing any

Slight dignity I have left in me

Is an act of maturity

Because all I see, 

Is ingenuinity,

and a fear of being rejected

and not being accepted

by the general majority.

I do not care if I am rejected by people

If it is on baseless grounds,

If it is on the grounds that I couldn’t admit to the things I didn’t do,

If it is on the grounds that I am brutally honest,

Then I do not care in the slightest for the hate that I get.

***

I’ve never asked anyone to stay.

But for you I have considered sitting on one palm

And biting one cheek

And stopping one foot from tapping the ground 

And asking, “Are you leaving already?

Or perhaps “When will you be back?

Or “Wait, don’t you have something to say to me?“-

Anything.

Anything but a “please stay“. 

***

That one battle I had put on pause

Not a half-risen white flag,

But a half-risen expectation

That you would fight for me

Till the very end.

..that never really came

So I learnt that the battles of a scarred soldier

Can never be carried by another; not completely.

It’s a battle not meant for one or the other,

But for the willing two-

to be shared, equally.

***

I now realize that 

I’ve never asked anyone to stay

Not because of a thing called pride

But because I was afraid of passing on half

of these burdens I carry.

Please stay entails many details;

Please stay entails that you will have access

To behold my scars, in full view, uncut.

Please stay entails that you not only will be listening but re-living the pain that isn’t yours to begin with.

Please stay entails obtaining a list of insecurities that have been haunting me even if you’ve never asked for it.

Please stay entails having full knowledge of the pieces I bled ink to write.

Please stay entails gaining entry into my darkest of thoughts.

More than it is a pride-annihilating act on my part,

It would be an act of total injustice to you

to carry these things alongside me.

So asking you to stay is asking too much.

But if you stay and fight for us both

I cannot guarantee either that it will be easy,

and I cannot assure you that I will be the same

but I will try to ensure

that you will have the best of stays.

I will make the bed and arrange your shoes

and make us breakfast in bed.

I’ll do all that not because society tells me I should

but because I want to, sometimes you’ll help me out too-

won’t you?

and we’ll take time figuring out who we are

over nasi-lemak mornings

and hot gingery tea afternoons.

In the evening we’ll read Quran aloud,

covering every wall, every inch of the house,

with these blessed words,

knowing we’ve just made the best decision of our lives

and left it in the Hands of our Maker .

***

I’ve never asked anyone to stay

But for you I’ve even considered typing these words

(as I am now)

And I’d do it a thousand times over.

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2 thoughts on “Stay (If You Want To).

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