*Image: “Fingers” by David J. Thompson, photograph, 2017
By Mahdis Marzooghian
I wish I could tell you I love you in every tongue ever spoken. Maybe then it will be enough. Maybe then it will convince you. Or maybe it will make up for the fact that I cannot be yours in this lifetime. There are many words that describe the act of love, but none exist for yearning. There are no words – in any tongue – for such a bone-gnawing ache. No words reach that far or that deep. The ache echoes through my spine and loneliness grows on me like a second layer of skin; a girl whose own soul won’t stay with her cannot possibly have a soul mate.
II Dolor/Pro delicto
I awoke in the darkness with a burning in my throat and knew with a crushing certainty that I would lose you. Maybe I had swallowed the fire that burned everything in my dream. It was now burning me – from the inside out. I remember how it licked at your face and how you cried and I prayed your tears would put it out somehow. But it ate away at you and your ashes turned into black spiders that crawled away from me. I wanted to capture them in a jar, but they were far away and the wind blew them apart. I wish I could have swallowed your ashes.
My friend once wrote to me: “He is your soul mate, but not your life mate.” The truth slapped me hard across the face. I could add on to it, really make it sound convincing. I had about seven months before you left for Afghanistan to prepare the perfect speech: “You have a duty to your country and I have a duty to my family.”
IV Exanimationes incidamus
What I actually want to say is: “You re-enlisted for another six years because the military is all you know, and my family would never accept you for that, or the fact that you’re not Persian.” But we were never together, so I don’t.
V Rursus in excelsum
“If your soul yearns for him this way, then you’re meant to be,” another friend said to me as I drunkenly cried talking about you. I showed her that short video of us. The one where you kiss my forehead on the bar balcony in Baltimore. The last time I saw you. July 9th. She said it looked like a scene from a movie and I cried some more. Drinking always makes the yearning sting, like rubbing alcohol on a wound.
“Do you really miss me or are you just saying that to make me feel better?” you ask me over the phone. I cannot convince you with any words, so I just nod. Do we ever really convince each other with the words we say or is language just meant to comfort us with its familiar sounds?
Words are never enough. No words will ever cover the wide expanse of the desert I’ve come to know as yearning even if they were specks of sand. There is nothing here. Just an ache more unbearable than thirst because nothing quenches it. Because even if I reached you – even if your skin covered mine and I tried to shed off the layer of loneliness – I would still long for you because I could never wholly have you. You were transient. Intangible. Like smoke from fire that once burned in my dream.