Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Party

I wish I could help you.

Your dark skin hides among the wooden pillars of the shack. As the sun sets on the horizon and the sand begins to glint under the moonlight, you prepare yourself for another long night. You serve us even as you know we are beggars where we come from. You serve with a smile but your beady eyes are bloodshot. I wonder whether it's the daily grind or the ganja. As your feet move in time to the beat, your tanned fingers graze her back and she smiles, "are you hitting on me?" She's so obviously under the influence, but then again, so are you. Her hand is on yours. It takes just a quick shift of my gaze to the DJ for you to get her to walk to one of the rooms with you. It's routine. Do you remember who all they were? Their names or maybe where they were from? You look like you're tired of keeping track.

This place puts you in a trance of sorts. The ocean's waves are as perpetual and incessant as your heart beat. The sounds of the wind and the water form a soothing symphony that floats around in your brain. It's not just the sea. It's the lights reaching out into the night like confident arms and touching the stars. It's the music beating its rhythm till the sunrise. It's the hundreds of bodies moving, not moving, as the party dances on into the night. It's the bright red burn of chillums pouring smoke into the air. It's the smell of chai wafting through that smoke, doing a little tango. In the throng of the crowd, it feels otherworldly. I can't imagine how it must be for you, living on these shores for years, to be in this constant state of disconnection from the real world. The tourists come for a few weeks and return to their cages but your life is their holiday, extended dangerously.

You're back, beers and bottle openers on a tray. I hear you say to a foreigner with a strong accent, "we look like gods. Sex, drugs, money, alcohol. It's all here, we have all of it. The truth is, I am suffering." What makes you exhibit your anguish so openly? What makes you push it away before you can run away? Your arms are mottled with syringe marks and maybe it is the remembrance of a worse time that you tolerate what you are now. I wish I could walk you to the ocean and let the salty water cleanse you. I wish I could take you up on a helicopter and land you in a place that was less unfriendly to the concept of reality. I wish there was a different life for you besides smiling at these dirty white faces.

Suddenly, I look at myself leaning on this flimsy bamboo beam. The black lights make my billowing white dress glow. I look at you and then I scan my eyes across the dance floor. Wasn't I dancing just a second ago? My feet are still moving quietly to the sounds of the DJ. No, I don't want my feet to touch the ground of complete consciousness yet. I no longer find myself wishing another life for you. I look down at my ghostly body and remember the big bump that my tummy has become. "There's a life in there", I tell myself, "that you have the power to change."  It is a reminder that my brain doesn't allow me to hold on to. I touch my skin, leaving sweat marks from my palms. My heart rate steadily climbs as the slow wash of the comedown flows over me. Goosebumps erupt on my arms and legs as I walk barefoot on the cold sand, towards that next beckoning fix. 


  1. At some point, you will go beyond the yearbook, and author a book, I hope :)
    PS: Good to discover an excellent blog when there are chants of blogging being dead!

    1. manuscripts,

      Thank you. Authoring a book is still a long, long way away. I don't think I have the patience for it.

  2. Replies
    1. Jen,

      Thank you. It's wonderful to have you around here!