The balcony’s a mess. The kind of mess that makes you wonder if there’s ever been a resident who considered putting things in order or when the snowball actually start. An old couch is placed on the corner, facing the wall, its back to the window. Its fabric is not visible with the garments thrown on it. It looks like it’s gave up long ago. By looking at the texture, you can tell that it’s felt joy somewhere else and those days are long gone. Maybe because of that it never tried to fit in. But it’s not only the couch, none of the objects look like they’ve tried to have a conversation with each other. They’ve never been a team. The arrangement looks forced.
Whether or not the view outside is interesting has lost its meaning for all the fellas. But for Tariq, the setting does not make much of a difference. All that matters is that he is here now. Solitude is needed for connection. And it’s hard to love thy neighbor when the silence you look for is not granted for some days.
It’s midnight and he’s feeling old staring at the madness. Tariq grew more empathetic towards the couch this past week. He thought that they might be the same age, though it didn’t really matter. He’s been in similar situations. The feeling of fitting in was as far for him as the man on the moon. After gazing at the curves and stitching, he felt he made friends with the couch. But similar and same was not the same. His friend could not be the same as him.
People, how interesting beings they are! After years of study and observation, their nature remains a mystery still. The reason was, perhaps, you could categorize people according to their traits and temperaments all you want, but the business of living was done moment to moment. And that’s what made them spill out their thoughts and feelings, through paintings, songs, writings and in ways they didn’t even notice. That’s what made Tariq get lost deep in his thoughts. He didn’t know what question he was trying to find an answer to or which issue he was tackling. Things got heavy in the night time and this was his ritual, his duty.
This alone was an interesting enough concept. Was there a point in trying to take it all in by going slow when nothing seemed to change on the outside? The couch, at least, had gone from “merrily” to “miserably.” But “the outside” was what other people saw, who are concerned only with your income, the type of school you went to, and whether you can backup the files on their phone when their five-year-old erased all data trying to install Plants vs. Zombies. Not only that, things on the outside get boring pretty quick. Once you hear that such-and-such’s daughter became a mother or some dude you went to school with will start receiving subsidies from the government for his business, you comprehend that within a matter of minutes. You come to a conclusion and you move on.
And how often do we show the inside? It surely is not any day during lunchtime or over some random encounter at the mall. We take mental notes when we give a part of ourselves to someone, hoping it will turn out to be an honorable one.