Flesh and fat and rattling bones

I have this habit of disappearing — those I’ve been with can attest to that. I step back and vacate my spot, preferably, unnoticed. I hate questions. I hate answering questions. So I decamp, quietly, out of their doors, out of their houses, out of their lives.

Sometimes, I leave marks. When I want to be remembered. Most of the time, I don’t. I want to be forgotten.

I like anonymity. I like changing names and shedding personalities. I like being someone else — maybe someone easy going, maybe someone adventurous, maybe someone contemplative or scholarly. Maybe next time I’ll be someone who does odd jobs — an assassin, a spy, a detective.

I like building empires inside my mind. I like dismantling kingdoms. I like reconstructing rubble. I like being more than my own flesh and fat and rattling bones. It makes me forget about the sum of every and all tragedies.

But there are changes these days. I’ve grown fond of people, most especially those I spend time with. I like listening to them while they recollect childhood or love affairs or mind games or frustrations.

They’re actually beautiful, people — the way they wave their hands while they drive their cars, or the way they lift their cup of tea or coffee, or the way they smile at their secret selves. The way they revel in their private thoughts. The way they feel deeply. The way they defend their principles. The glint and ferocity in their eyes.

The way they retreat, in mid-sentence, in their own imaginations.

I have this habit of disappearing, yes, and those I’ve been with can attest to that. I decamp and vacate my space and recede as far away as I can.

But there are changes these days. Like, these days, I now know how to come back. To knock on people’s doors — tap, tap, tap — to enter their houses, and to come in their lives. It’s nice to be hugged, that welcome-back-embrace, regardless of my ragged clothes and unkempt hair.

Actually, it feels good. It feels really good. It makes life bearable.

Coffee, they’d offer.

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