Why I stay up late

Written by Zainab Batool
Art by Ann Nekr

If you ask why I stay up late

A memory knocks again as I drink another warm cup of your nostalgia.

I’m trying to find solace in the words that are written raw and pure from the depths of some restless minds and their crippled thinkings. I’m trying to find a part of me in someone’s hands who is still loved and loving.

As the city gets hugged by the delicate arms of a harsh season, I imagine the sky filled up with the joys of those who’ve cried, curled up in their beds alone. I imagine them in the closure of someone they wish themselves with. I imagine their weary eyes finding peace, their tired breaths finding calm and their anxious hearts finding the comfort they need, after long.

I imagine all lovers holding hands with their love for whom they had waited stretchful hours for, with all their heart and heartache.

At this time when the night has snugged the city under its wing, enveloping all of its damp earth where the echoes of someone’s past grief still make a rattling sound in the air, I sit in my bed, unsettled.
My heart yearns to explain love to my body. But I refuse to let myself fall into something I’ve fallen into before– an abyss, of dumped pity and tiring concern.

Outside the window I can not see, but why are the birds singing right now? The night continues to paint the sky in dark tones of an ocean palette and my craned neck is tired of writing unposted letters to people I only concisely know. My strength bids me a cold farewell when I take your name and wish your embrace to my cold body.

Should I sing a hymn, a love song or play a violin note, slow and melancholic like the wind of winter?

Or, should I sit beside my corpse with a cup of hot chocolate, recalling the words you said in another time, and let the nostalgic aroma fill all the space you left me to build a casket in, while leaving?