She was that quiet girl in math class, with something written in her face- it seemed to say something to me, to us- not a lot to me personally, I wasn’t that great of a face reader- but something really- only I couldn’t put words to it back then . Seemed like the kid who’d be sucking on a lollipop, with a balloon in her hand- and blue checkered long shirt over a jean skirt or white-jeans- holding hands with Baba, and saying something about the world that would have been both echoing in the air- and making one feel all light and afternoony-
she seemed younger than us.
We had that jaded city-sub-subcultureness that needed to shock and awe and grab attention and yet never really cross that final line- just allude to it in many mystifying ways- in fact we lauded the crossing of the line so much- applauded it as the only way to live out of our lifeless lives- that we watched with a sort of set-up glee, the most wonderful spectators of, those who finally did/or had/ cross all bounds- break all ties- leave all the things that we set up- and reach the other side. We gloried in the other side- but we’d never cross over never- not truly- only you’d have to read through several layers of denials and pretensions to see that really- not that it was fake- whatever the appearances- it was real, raw and real- who we were- messed up jaded two-no-many faced people- and there wasn’t anything hypocritical about it really- so we must have told our existences-cuz we just didn’t have the consciences to see that or be anything else- except now we still don’t.
Anyway, Leena was not all that- and maybe that was why she seemed a little special to us. Maybe that was a stereotyical thing for us to think. But she was honest and clear -clear as day- herself-through and through- and I felt sad- not cuz of that honesty or clearness- but…
I could never speak with her, truly, no matter how hard I tried- in my own layered way- “what do you do in your free time?”,”do you like rap/Akon?”,”have you read…?” Layered cuz there was more than one filter on my words- but she’d answer in monosyllables and then revert to the course we were taking- and then she’d be quiet- and I tried, tried to understand then as much as much as I could. Cuz i was quiet too, and I was stereotyped as quiet too, and different things- in fact I would have been the one who people said was the unjaded one-
They’d go further- I was shy, naive, innocent,pure, childish, smart,quiet,quiet,quiet, QUIET, and WEIRD– apparently I never swore- or knew what that even meant-apparently I knew nothing about the grey, or the twilit yellow- I was messy and had my hair sticking out-my socks smelled more than others- and I was QUIET, QUIET, QUIET.
So I tried to understand- and tried to see her heart. Tried to listen at the times when we were walking along the same sidewalk, or sitting around before the stripy-shirted be-jeaned tutor walked in. cuz that always speaks- even when one is quiet- in fact it speaks louder then.
!err not the jeans!
I don’t really keep in touch with Leena now. We only knew one another briefly- although she was always around, we didn’t really meet enough- or have enough life experiences together really- and I watched her grow into a beautiful lady with that something in her face- light really- it was just never something I was fortunate enough to see back then- maybe some part of me that hadn’t become all conformist-could perceive that- and tried to always be nice-even though it was always painful. A little. Like one is unwanted. A bit like I’d been shut out in the wild, in my own special corner and perceived- rather then saw- dimly, the light of another human soul- you know the light we all have-
and of course Leena isn’t really her name- but her portrait-her person stayed with me.