It begins formless like a cloud; like an amorphous syllable on our lips; paperweight — it dissolves in our enunciation. Nothing defines the feeling perfectly. Not the “butterflies in our belly” metaphor. Nor the language evoking a portraiture of our faces. Nor the eerie onomatopoeia of “goosebumps” when fear crawls like an arachnid under our skin. We paint our feelings with colors of syntax and they fade into sepia, a ghost of us weaved in the chiaroscuro of our hands. Do you have a name now, for the thing groaning in your belly? A day ago, my shadow walked me to the edge of a paradise and he said “leap.” I did and like Icarus, I came crashing down kissing the dust. To name the bane is never enough. I am a man awake in a tedious dream. The wraiths in my head whisper: “We are all exit doors” & my chest leaps, my heart quaking like dawn breaking from the shell of night. No one can escape who they really are. Again, the paradox fails to fill the vacuum. Here, take this as a postscript to our never-ending travail with words. My father still hasn’t found the right words to apologize to my mother. I still can’t tell you how loving you gives me more pain than joy and how weirdly, I pleasure in that pain. There are words still entrapped in our mouths. When shall we say it all? I halt my ink here because this is how it begins: a naming, a genesis, a reason for it, them and for us to exi(s)t. Goodbye — I mean, let’s begin.