Can You Hear Me?

A drawing of a girl in a yellow dress trying to feed an unresponsive terrapin.

Neither am I a native terrapin speaker. (Art by me). 

The first short fiction piece I wrote was published online on 10th May, 2014. I had two beta-readers, neither of whom were native English speakers (neither am I). Infused within clumsily-used adjectives and lopsided grammar was a desperate need to be understood; for my snotty, thirteen-year-old ideas to be processed and lauded by the entire internet. 

And perhaps, that need still exists now, although less urgent, less consuming. We look less and less for an audience and more and more for a confidant. Perhaps that’s why we write, we sing, we pray. To reach out to the sliver of possibility that someone out there will see the worms tangled in our hearts and miraculously make sense of it.

The piece I wrote aged poorly. The John Cena jokes did too. My sentences were incoherent, and I had to brave out the reality that I was audacious enough to put my thoughts out there without proper polishing or refinement, before receiving the 'English A1' label on a laminated O-Level certificate that proved I was decently in command of the language. 

But what was miraculous was the fact that I still understood—not everything, but a little bit ofwhat she was trying to say back then. ‘Listen to me talk about what I think hope is,’ she spelled out sloppily, ‘Listen to me talk about what I think pain is.’ I saw words that I am still saying now, surprised that she had been saying them for nine years. I saw beads strung on a string that built up to the thoughts I ruminate on today.

And so, my argument: I think it might be alright. To fumble through letters, songs, and prayers. To want to be listened to, way before you can express yourself in point-evidence-explanation-link format. To speak about things you have not understood fully, feeling the words tremble against your throat until one day, they make sense to you.

Perhaps it is not so bad to pen your thoughts down. This world has space for revisions. 

Look, it would be nice to not be the only person whose embarrassing imagination lies somewhere out there on the internet. 

Yours faithfully, 

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