It starts with small steps. One. Two.

Then a few steps back. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

It doesn’t stop there.

But if I were to start counting every step I retraced, we could be here all night.

Just as hard as it was to keep tabs on how much time had passed, it was twice as hard to recall where things went wrong.

Where I went wrong.

Because my mistakes couldn’t be counted, just like my traces. Traces I had left, like a scar on her tomorrows. A brooding warning, always at the back of her mind.

Six. Seven.

This is where you might realise that I am the villain of my story. But let me assure you, I have left no glaring horrors in her life. The best I have done is alter her reality in the most subtle of ways.

It troubles me to know that she is still disturbed by my presence. Going back to her old habits, hoping to forget mine.

Now you may ask, how would I know that?

Because in the few fleeting moments we had, she engraved those trusting eyes into my sullen ones.

I could never claim I knew her like the back of my hand. But I knew of her heart and her unrequited love for vintage films.

I’d always ask her about it, when she would drag me to those dingy old-fashioned cinemas, with the moss covered windows and fading red carpets. I could almost smell their salted popcorns if I thought of the place.

And every time we went, she would say something like, “If you can spend a fortune on a vintage car, can’t you waste a few hours with me and watch this vintage tape too?”

It would always knock the soles off of my feet. Every time.

Eight. Nine.

There were just the little things, that I had the privilege of knowing with this crazy girl. But for a whipped loser like me, even that much was enough. I took everything she had to offer.

I just forgot to give.


You know that feeling of coming back from a splendid vacation? When the fun is over and God decides to mess with your ignorance?

It hit me. Square in the jaw.

I never wanted to hurt her. Never to make her go away.

For the the first time in my pathetic excuse of a life, I wanted to know how it would be to fall in love, and to fall in love everyday, with the same person. To give someone all that I had, to be completely at the mercy of someone’s smile.

Her smile.

But all I could achieve in the end of it all, was her hatred. Her tears of distrust, and the bang of that door that still rings in my ears. She owned me.

Maybe I did want her to leave. Maybe some stupid, crazy part of me deep, deep inside thought I didn’t deserve her.

Maybe it was right.

Eleven. Twelve.

One thing I knew for sure though– she won’t forget me that easy. She will someday, because villains like me are written to be forgotten. But I’ll still be there for a while, as the scent in her blanket, the chill in the winter air.

Slowly, gradually, I will leave her nights.

But she won’t.

Because in love or out, beautiful is beautiful, and she was carved in my soul for an eternity.

She will capture my thoughts tomorrow, just like she did today, just like she does right now. And I would embrace it.

I knew, that she had no escape. Nor did I.

Because maybe, in another galaxy, we were meant to stay.

But I also knew that here, it was meant to stay this way.


+Manushrie Verma+


14 thoughts on “Retracing

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  1. First, let me say thank you! for showing an interest in my blog. :-). I’m certainly very glad that you did because I’m so impressed with your blog and your writing.

    I read this poem first. The title was intriguing. I read the poem, then sat back and stared at the computer screen. Then I read the poem again, slower. I like it very much. It’s an amazing narrative. There’s a quiet tension that keeps the reader moving forward wanting and yet almost fearing to know more.

    What I like most though is the poem’s ambiguity. After l read it the second time, I realized that the speaker never reveals any identity-marker such as age or gender or race or ethnicity. Nothing. It is a love poem, as pure as can be. The speaker can be male or it can be female, white or black, young or mature. The poem works as a statement on how love can happen, and what it needs to survive and the tragic flaw that can can push it away.

    Very good! Thank you for sharing. I’m glad we’ve met. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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