where i found love

Dear you, 

My mother tells me that the first word I ever uttered was ‘Tata’.
It knocked against the curve of my tongue until finally its tip could snake its way around my mouth & puff out a whoosh of sound, ‘Papa’. 

I first met love in a darkened alley where few dare venture of the fear of forgetting where love really belongs. I found love huddled up with a pack of nachos, watching reruns of F. R. I. E. N. D. S. & wondering how he ended up there. But, he did. I first met love in the angry verses of my mother, trying with all their might to pull me out of the dirty alley where they themselves had pushed me in, in throes of pain. I remember pretending that I hadn’t seen him dozing off in a corner, drooling; for a paralysing weakness exposed in a war is half the battle lost even, if the sword in front of you is the little warrior your hands themselves had built up, piece by piece.  

I found love in anger, but I never associated love with anger because every Sunday my father would play chess with me, & let me win; to give me a taste of what victory feels like, until I’m left wanting  for more. I found love in the way my mother would wake me up everyday- with a peck on the cheek & a cruel pulling away of the blanket shield from my tiny fists. I found love in the advice my best friend gave me when I was fifteen, saying that if something makes your heart clench & latch onto the self-doubt you have tried so hard to shove down your throat; clench your fists as tightly as you can, & breathe it out. I found love peeking out from behind the scribbles in my diary, wondering when I would finally let it breathe. I found love on the bridge my brother tried to build over the scars time had left on our family; & I let him. & once I got over the innumerable faces the oceans reflect everyday of what love looks like, I helped him.  

I found love in my best friends’ unannounced visit to my house on my birthday, twelve days after my grandfather had passed away. I found love in the words I write to him, & the music the words on the cards he gave me play, every year. I found love in the loudest scream & the first clap the day I won. & every single time I find love, huddled up, munching & giggling, still wondering how he ended up here, I win. & love claps. 

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