August 27, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part

When they fought, he would make up. And eventually, in a few minutes, she would relent, and the world would be perfect again.

So when he left home to buy a strip of medicines that she needed, locking her inside the house like he did when she was cooking and not free to come close the door behind him, she did not sense anything amiss. She let him go. She decided to make up once he came back. She would be calmer, he would be calmer and the world would be perfect again.

Ten minutes, Fifteen. Twenty. She started panicking. She reached for her cell phone, dialling his speed dial and heard the familiar ring-ring. Only, this time, it rang not only in her ears, but also in her bedroom. He had forgotten his cell phone home. Paranoia set in as she leapt out of the bed and ran to the door, pounding it, pulling until the handle wobbled. But it didn't budge. She ran to the balcony, wondering if she could leap out and reach the terrace, find her way down and go look for him.

She grabbed a rosary, chanting his name, back and forth between the door and the balcony, looking out for him, his retracing footsteps, the sound of his vehicle. When she saw the familiar, relief would break in, before realising that the footsteps were a stranger's, approaching other doors, other lives. Fresh waves of hysteria would break in and threaten to break her will.

Anything if you let him come home, she gasped, her eyes on the altar, the god she worshipped smiling down at her.

Her eyes darted around the house they had built, the things they had filled it with, each meaningless if he did not come home. She thought about the assigments pending at her work place, all valueless if he did not come home. She saw the discarded bit of toffee wrapper he had left on the floor, suddenly so precious, the last thng he touched before leaving home.

She thought of his mother, his family, the baby they had still not had, the plans that had still not materialized, the house they had still not built, the plans they had made together, suspended in time, caught in an unbreakable time warp. She rocked back and forth, back and forth, huddled and curled up on the bed he had slept on once, when she poured a bottle of water over his head and he had chased her round the house.

And under that hysteria, the paranoia, was a voice telling her she knew this, she knew death, he was a familiar friend, this was not the unknown she was facing, this was not the fear she had not been warned of. This...this was an old friend come to revisit...perhaps, perhaps, maybe in passing, maybe to stay.

A calm gradually settled in, silence took over, a silence so thick, she could cut it with a knife. A silence so thick, she thought she would drown in it, as the sobs subsided and she thought of ways to get out, find him, and bring him back...or find him, and then find ways to end her own life.

The silence frightened her more than anything else, the realisation that she could think of death in a neat flow chart-like way was alarming. It brought on a fresh wave of sobbing that threatened to tear her down and rip her apart. She wound the rosary tightly around her wrist, hoping it would sear and burn through her pulse and end her life when she heard a familiar ring again. Her phone. She shot out of her curled up position and headed for the bedroom and her phone, jabbing the 'answer' keypad and whispering a raspy 'hello'.

'I can't find it anywhere. Should I go a little ahead and see if its available?"

She broke down in wails, her voice breaking and tearing, while he grew increasingly alarmed on the other end.

"Baby, what happened?"

"Come home. Now!" she rasped, hanging up after he said a hurried 'yes'.

She wept into the phone and promised to never, ever fight with him. She had come dangerously close to losing him and her sanity and nothing demanded that she go through the same again. She cried for five more minutes before getting up to fry his eggs.

When they sat down for dinner, it was an unusually quiet affair, his stealing concerned glances at her, her lowered eyes trying to force the tears back into her eyes. One big tear rolled, 'plop', into her plate.

He smiled. "That is going to be one salty affair."

She looked at him and forced a smile. "Whatever," she said.

Whatever it takes to make you come back.

August 18, 2009


The kitchen. Pretty much where she spent a greater part of her time. Randomly throwing spices, cleaning up and spraying repellent on little red ants that crawled their way up to some new tidbit they had stumbled upon.

The bedroom. Clothes flying, arranging shelves, holding up curtains, wiping windown clean, making the bed, lounging and feeling the ache in various parts of her body and mind. Sweeping, mopping, swatting flies and reading. Working. Trying hopelessly to declare it a no-laptops zone.

The living room. The little seating lounge she has fashioned out of nothing. The lights, the lamps, lighting little fire lamps and letting the breeze flood into her home, warm her hearth and lighten her heart.

The dining room, where she saw him eat, work and talk, where she heard the breeze flow helter skelter, drying her clothes and carrying aromas from other kitchens into her home, some palatable, some disgusting.

The bathroom, where she let the water run on her skin, feel the cold trickles seep into te warm skin, blood gushing in her veins, scrubbing her face and hair, brushing her teeth, drying the floor and collecting stray bits of hair.

The balcony, clothes drying up and windswept hair on her face. Neighbours peering in, some smiling, some looking through.

Her feet on the floor, her eyes on the sights. How do they make a house a home? By making it lived in.

August 11, 2009

The Wisdom Of Dusk

Sorrow can be solid; you can feel it thumping, knocking the air out of your lungs, rendering you incapable of drawing breath, air inches away but so still, you cannot suck it in.

A thousand thoughts rush through your brain and rush into your veins, pushing your blood harder and harder until you feel that your nerves are too narrow to carry them. You can feel the edge of an ancient rock being scraped, an impression digging deeper and deeper, making its mark, a mark no sculptor will find it easy to erase and camouflage.

The sculpture is marred, and marred for life. Time brushes against its wounds, sometimes carressing, sometimes tearing, bloodless blood leaking out invisible to known eyes. There are no tears anymore, for rocks do not shed them, but the anguish lives on.

Until of course, the rock remembers what it is. A rock. That time will smoothen out its jagged edges, that the winds will even out its crevices, the water wash out the filth it has gathered, the soil root it firmly to the earth and leave it capable of standing: alone, not lonely. Wounded but healed.

Until it remembers that rocks do not feel. And returns, true to its nature, to that space where all emotion, good and bad, happy and sad, washes over it like the gentle waves of the sea, salt crusting over its features, but unable to sear its scars. Not any more.

And so, they must forget not, what they are and what they are becoming, for they shall stand past eternity, for they are human, and made of soil. Just like sculptures.