Dear Stranger

Written by Thanisha Chowdhury

You’re blurrier than I remember, though I suppose it’s no one’s fault. I would rather stand with my palm against yours than swallow the rain in my lungs and try to pray you out of existence.

These months have been hard for you, and you’ve done much you’re not proud of.  I know it’s hard to watch your toothbrush go dry for weeks and the dishes pile up in the sink. Your outline doesn’t match the ones you see on the crackling TV, either. You’ve never been very good at being a person, you think, and you loathe me for every minute you spend proving yourself right. That part is never new. You don’t let me forget, either, when you hiss at me every night in the dimness of the bathroom (you never got around to replacing that light) and mock me with the heavy bags under our eyes.

Your mother saw you smile for the first time in months yesterday over the phone, did you know that? And that plant you bought after you heard it’d make you ache less, that you keep on the windowsill, she’s begun to turn her head skywards (just like someone else I know). You’re coming to life bit by bit each day.

I know you don’t see in me what you want to see in yourself. And I’ll agree with you on that, at least with the “want” part of it. You are no god or deity. There is no magic that thrums below the surface of your skin. But you are something much more powerful. You are beautifully, achingly human, all flesh and heart and open veins, bleeding brilliant and sweet.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this awfully roundabout way is that I’m proud of you, of who you are, of how far you’ve come. Even if you insist it’s not much, you are here, and you are alive, and that’s more than enough. It always is. 

Now, make sure to wipe down the mirror before the next time you come find me, or I’ll be muffled behind the fog.


Your reflection