All posts by A. Rinum

About A. Rinum

I am a pre-med student, and my life is a wreck. No, really it is. Jump into my mind and see the world through my eyes. ( I wear glasses though). But if you need to laugh and cry at the same time. I am here. Read my works and jump into a whole other world. follow me on insta @shadowsofrinum

Faith in Humanity

Around a month ago there was a shooting in a Mosque in New Zealand, and today there was a bombing in a church, on Easter, in Sri Lanka.

I try not to look at the news it gets me overwhelmed. I don’t want to know how many people died or how many are injured. It makes me lose my faith in Humanity, and it makes me feel like a shitty person. Here I am living a comfortable life while there are people out there who are fighting just to survive. My heart goes out to all the people in Sri Lanka who’ve lost their lives or who’ve lost someone they love. This isn’t fair for them. Something like this shouldn’t have happened. Not today. Not any other day. Not to them. Not to anyone.

But it doesn’t make sense. Why would someone do such a thing? Is it the feeling of superiority? Is it mental illness? Is this a political game? Or is it someone’s desire just to see the world burn. Either way, no matter what the reason is, innocent people have lost their lives.

I still want to have faith. People still care. We’ll do whatever it takes to create a world where no one dies because of someone else’s hate or jealousy. Where we’re all accepting of one another. Where we don’t blame religion, ethnicity or color for someone’s actions, but their motives. Where the least we could do is believe that even with these stormy clouds lingering above our heads there is still hope for that ray of sunshine.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

The snake and Nano’s Alzheimer’s

“I had Hindu friends.” My Nano (grandma) who has Alzheimer’s says, wiping away a tear that rolls down her cheek. She looks at me and smiles. “A few of them we’re Sikh and Christian too, and we would sit on the roof, on wooden cots and talk until the sun sunk behind the horizon, or until my father came home and shooed us all away. After the partition, we all just separated.”

I hold onto Nano’s hand and sit by her knees. She doesn’t remember me, but she knows I look like someone she’s supposed to know. She gets frustrated when she doesn’t remember so I play around with her, telling her I’m the cleaning lady or a neighbor or someone who is here to steal the metal plates that Abu (grandpa) bought for her.

It’s her glassy eyes that make me feel guilty. Her lips wobble and her eyebrows knit together so I spit out the truth. And as soon as I do that she smiles and kisses me on the cheek. She tells me how much she missed me, and I want to say the same thing to her, but I’ll end up crying. So, instead, I ask her to tell me about her time when the British were here.

“They were nice. Very just…” she says, and I see pride forming in her eyes. She remembers certain things like they happened yesterday, but she’s forgotten everything else including me.

“This one time, after the British left and when your mother was a child…” Nano giggles. She tells me her tales, again and again, each one having the same people, but new plots. “It was late at night and I had to use the bathroom. During those days we didn’t have toilets, so we had to go out in the fields to relieve ourselves. At night all of us women would gather together at a meeting point, and we would walk towards the fields. Now the fields were empty, and they were scary. The fields were far away from the village, so it was usually a long walk. The wind would make these weird noises that would make our hearts crawl. So like any other day, holding our oil lanterns, we walked to the fields. The grass was as long as my knees, and it was hard to walk, but we managed to get deep where no one would see us. We separated and took our spots. Now as soon as we all settled down, this girl, my friend started screaming, and we all jumped in fear grabbing our trousers with one hand and the oil lanterns with the other. ‘Snake’ I heard someone shout. We were all so scared that we… we… we.” Nano pauses and looks at me with confusion contouring her features. The wrinkles forming on her forehead deepen and she asks, “Who are you?”

“Nano!” I try not to sound frustrated, but anger coats the softness in my voice.

“I’m your granddaughter,” I tell her for the umpteenth time. Nano’s not paying attention to me anymore, she’s too focused on my cousin who’s slamming the door because my youngest aunt refused to give him money.

I slowly slip away and go to Mama. I tell her Nano’s story and she laughs confirming that it’s true. “I have my own story to tell, but yes… all the women ran away, and a man came and hunted the snake and killed it.”

“No….” My aunt says frowning. “That’s not what happened. The snake was a female who had taken the form of a snake. Her husband was killed by Chacha Akhtar, so she came back, and she bit him while he was sleeping. Remember…” She says to mama as she holds back her laugh.

“Yeah and Abu (father) used that stone to suck out the poison” Mama is wheezing so hard that water leaks through her lashes.

“The stone is probably in the old house. Remind me to go get it later.” Auntie’s still laughing.

I blankly stare at them, not knowing what childhood story they’re talking about, but it makes me smile knowing that I’ve reminded them of a memory they both had forgotten.

“Alchemy… Herbs…” Mama says trying to explain the whole concept of the snake-stone-story to me. “Chemistry” she finally breathes in disappointment, as if Alchemy is something we’re taught in school. I ask her about the stone but that requires a story of its own.

Nano has Alzheimer’s, Mama’s story seems too boring, so I go with auntie’s version.

Photo by Burak K from Pexels

Comfort of a ghost

I’m sitting on the wooden benches, in Astoria Blvd, waiting for the Manhattan-bound N train. It’s so cold outside that vapor comes out of my mouth every time I take a breath. The tips of my fingers are frozen, and I blow into them every five minutes to keep them warm.

It’s snowing and raining at the same time. My shoes are wet, and I can feel my cold socks cling to my skin, but I can’t feel my toes. The coldness rattles up to my ankles and it’s slowly clawing up to my calf.

For a moment I stare at the rusty, old tracks and there’s a voice in the back of my head, telling me to jump on them as soon as the train comes, but the voice fades away beneath the stress of tomorrow.

I try to focus on the long walk home. It’s getting dark and because of the slippery roads, the buses will take forever. I’ll get home faster if I jog. I don’t have an umbrella, maybe I can buy one on the way, but I don’t have cash; I forgot my wallet at home. The thought makes me curse myself, and the harsh voice in my head scolds me for being careless.

I lean back and divert my attention to the Tri-borough bridge. The cars passing beneath the train station, with their colorful red and white lights, vanish in the fog and reappear close to the blue bridge; but all I can see are blurry outlines and flickering lights.

The day didn’t go well; not like the other days are any different. But today it felt like someone was suffocating me. Like someone had lowered the pressure of the oxygen in the air. Like something heavy was sitting on my chest. Nothing went well. I failed two of my classes, and I won’t be graduating on time. The thought doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is having to explain all this to my dad. What will I tell him? His hopes are bounded to me and my siblings, and my failing is like stabbing him in the chest. Things at home aren’t well either. My parents have issues of their own. It’s like I’m forced into these two wars and ironically, I’m losing both of them. I’m at that point, where everything feels like a burden. No matter how much effort I put into something, I always fail, and I’m tired of failing. I’m tired of trying. Tired of just existing.

I’m in pain, and it’s the type of pain that can’t be explained. That can’t be put into words; no matter what language I use.

The train comes after half an hour, and the walk home isn’t as long as I imagine it to be. Maybe because I run half the way, splashing water all over my clothes.

At home, no one asks me any questions, and I am grateful. Everyone is too occupied with their own issues, that my little problem seems like a minor inconvenience. My blotchy cheeks and stuffy nose are the result of the rain- that’s what everyone thinks, and I don’t correct them. I could easily break down but besides “get over it”, “have faith,” or “I’ve been through worse,” I won’t get any other form of comfort.

I change my clothes and go straight to bed. I have an English paper and a lab report due, but I don’t care. Nothing seems important. My mind is messed up, and I’ll probably break down crying. I just want to sleep. But as soon as I close my eyes, tears as big as raindrops cascade down my cheeks. Searing pain is ripping through my chest and it hurts so bad that I can’t put it into words. I’m wheezing, and I can’t seem to breathe. I want to yank my heart out of my chest and squeeze it until it explodes. A throbbing headache spills through my skull, and I find myself questioning God.

But as soon as I close my eyes. Hands as soft as feathers touch my forehead, and I feel an odd, unexplainable warmth spread through my body. Like someone has wrapped me around in a nice tepid blanket. Like all the negative thoughts in my mind are caged behind bars of tranquility.

“It’ll all be okay,” a voice as warm as the sun whispers into my earlobe and I can feel the warmth of someone’s breath. The voice reverberates in my mind, and I find myself repeating those same words.

For a moment there’s comfort. A one I’ve never felt before, but as soon as I open my eyes there’s no one around me, but I feel like I’m being watched. Like someone, invisible is hovering over my head. I’m too tired to think. Too tired to comprehend.

I close my eyes, and I feel someone massaging my scalp. Someone is sitting next to me on the bed and is whispering “everything is going to be okay.” And for some odd reason, I believe that voice. I feel an odd ecstasy take a hold of my body, easing every cell rushing through my veins. It doesn’t take long for me to fall into a deep, dreamless slumber.

Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi from Pexels

You tell me the world is vicious daddy
because you’ve looked it in the eye
but it’s my turn now
so won’t you let me fly.

You tell me there are storms out there
that I won’t be able to bear
but you’ve molded me with your own hands
then why do you have this fear?

How long will you keep me in the comfort of your nest?
Don’t you trust that light you planted in my chest?

You’ve carved me into this pillar
that does not know how to bow
if you want me to stay down here
then come show me how.

It was you who told me that when I rise
I shouldn’t come back down
yet you complain and tell me
that I’m better off on the ground.

The winds are too harsh
you tell me each and every day
the forests are too cruel
you whine in every way.

There are vultures out there
you tie my hands, so I wouldn’t leave
the mountains will break you
you tell me I’m naive.

You twist your words
and then you scream
convincing me
that I shouldn’t dream.

But you don’t understand
in this tight space of yours
I can’t seem to breathe.

You’ve put your strings around me
to keep me grounded to this floor
but by doing so your hurting me even more.

I know you’re pulling me down
because you don’t trust the world
but how do you not have faith in your little girl?

You’re the one who taught me
that I should laugh at every ache
because I will tear, rip but I won’t ever break.

Maybe I’m not strong, maybe I will crack
but daddy you’re the only hope I have.

I know you care,
and you don’t want to see me hurt
but how will I ever rise if I don’t kiss the dirt.

You don’t want to see me in pain
it breaks your heart
because if I ever crash it will tear you apart.

I know
the world is filled with devils
who’ll point their fingers at you if I ever tremble
but it’s through you that I’ve learned
how to make the earth rumble.

I know you’re afraid
that the demons will laugh at me and you
so teach me how to rise
so we could both make it through.

I don’t know what aches your carrying
or what scars you’re trying to hide
but why are you stopping me
from touching those skies.

You’ve held my hand
to teach me how to walk
you’ve given me your words
so I could have a voice to talk.

You’ve stayed up late nights
and spent so many restless days
you’ve toiled so much
just so I could be okay.

You’ve given up your youth
to give me this life
you’ve burned all your dreams
because you wanted me to thrive.

Since I was born you saw a dream for me
I know your ground is safe
but it’s not the sky I see

I’m chasing an empty horizon
and your scared that I’ll lose
I want to kiss the stars daddy
just once walk in my shoes.

If I crash
I know you’ll be mad
and you’ll ache all over
but if I ever fall daddy
I’ll always need your shoulder

If I shatter just promise me
you’ll pick me up
you’ll make me indestructible
so I wouldn’t ever stop.

Daddy
you’ll always be my first prince
but let me take my throne
I belong on the battlefield
not in castles made of stone.

You’re scared that I won’t be able to ride my own horse
or I won’t be able to slay my own dragons
and I know you’ll say that’s enough
but daddy
if I ever lower my head my crown will slip off.

Trust me…
I can train an army in a dress
and I can fight in heels
you haven’t taught me how to back down
but watch me make the world kneel.

For once daddy…
Instead of pulling me back
and instead of saying ‘No’
why don’t you just smile
push me
and tell me to go.

Why don’t you look at the world through my eyes
and then maybe you’ll see why
I’m so desperate to reach those skies.

So daddy…
with tears streaming down my face
I want you to hold my hand this one last time
walk with me to the horizon as I take my flight.

Poetry book: Curing My Venom

Photo by Bess Hamiti from Pexels

Imperfections

Because
I am trying so hard
to understand
why I am the way I am
but I promise
if I could be someone else
I wouldn’t think twice
if it were that easy
then, like a coat
I would wear someone else’s skin
but sometimes, I wonder
beneath these layers
of all those things
I wish I could be
would someone ever
crave to be me?

Imperfect

Poetry book: Curing My Venom

I wrote that poem because of all my insecurities. People tell me I’m beautiful, but the girl staring back at me through the mirror says otherwise. She doesn’t ever see any of my victories. All she does is remind me of my flaws and failures. All she does is compare me to everyone else around me, and I find myself hating that girl even more.

I’m too fat, too thick, too much of this, too much of that. It toys with my confidence. It messes with my mind, and I find myself wondering what other people might be doing. Do they feel the same way? But everyone else seems so satisfied. So happy, then why aren’t I. Why do I feel this way? Is there something wrong with me? Sometimes I feel like if I had a choice, I would choose to be anyone but me. And if everyone knew the anguish I go through every day, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t ever want to be me.

If I could…

I would take a knife and slice away my skin and carve myself into something different…

I promise I wouldn’t hesitate….

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels