I often wonder how ‘The Firsts’ of things came to happen. How many trials did it take for them to prove it?
How did they find out the best way to carry a roll of paper was to roll it or fold it in that particular way? Did someone carefully hold it horizontally because they were too scared the letters would fall off? There are rational fears, like the ink will get smudged. Then there are the irrational, unexplained ones. If I fold the paper, would the lines break and become crooked and it will not be readable any longer? If I roll it, would the letters circle as the ink dripped from one corner to the other? Could they fly away with the wind? Could the ink dissolve into nothing? Could we lose it all in a moment just because we held it wrongly?
Fear of the unknown. I tremble as I make any movement. My blood is burning the muscles of my heart, the rush is more than I can take. The chill of my skin is palpable in my breaths. My sweating armpits are making me tingle. I feel like I will crumble any second. Fall to my defeat by the mere thought of something.
Such paper thin is my brave. Such paper thin is my faith. Such paper thin is my ‘jigar’.
I try to make sure I don’t fall back, fall down, fall out. The corner of the paper is pinching me against my thin fingertips. It cuts the pale skin as I fumble through its steadiness. It reddens my lack of composure with a mockery too shameful to describe. So I hide it in my mouth and sympathize with soft sucklings. Paper thin is my tolerance for my weakness.
I look at the letters, beautifully laid out in invisible military lines. Curving in and out like a swinging stitch. Their vexing drama, the sheepishness of my ignorance, the discomfort of each other’s company. The you, me and us of it all.
Do I understand myself through you? Because if you weren’t here, standing monochrome with confidence, I would never have known my escapism from truths. Because if you would never question me softly with resolve, I would never know my flaws. Because you mirror, probe, reciprocate. Hence I reflect, result, express.
So the letters stay for long enough and we establish some trust. And I roll the paper as I take a deep breath and it folds eloquently. And in that moment we both become obedient, partners, malleable.
Paper thin is the difference between us.