I was so preoccupied that day. It was cold. I hurried to cross the road concomitant with my subconscious mind in memories of the past.
My father had died in a war and the government had gratuitously given my mother a cottage in the countryside. I was ten when we shifted there. Mother had arranged for my home education so I seldom would go out. Mostly played in the backyard. Mother would go to the city on Sunday evenings to buy groceries. One day I met Elle, she was nine. I invited her to play with me. She always had an exorbitant amount of kohl in her eyes. The way she talked was a little abrupt and rude; brusque. Considering her to be bourgeois, I inquired where she came from. She said she made her own grotto a few miles from here. She had a peculiar sense of humor. She was skinny and I would often take a jibe on her appetite and she would on my corpulence. Ah, that is how girls are. Aren’t they!
Thence, she visited me every Sunday. We would play hide&seek and sing very funny songs together.
My life had become so much better. The first thing mother would do when she would return is to ask me to come inside. It would exasperate me. I had no other option but to imbibe all my anger and say bye to Elle. She would stand there without vacillating her eyes, watching me leave. It was nothing until the day mother decided to move to the city. It deluged a heavy ache in my heart. I cried incessantly all the way in our carriage. I peeped out of the window and saw her there and I waved at her, crying. She stood there, just hollow. My mother pulled me and wiped my tears and assured she means no ill-will for the house could have only been baleful and it is all for my own benevolence.
I have been here for the past sixteen years now. I still miss her. I sometimes hear her voice back in my head singing that weird song. What was it…
“ Stand up tall
With the clap
make your feet tap
Shake your bum
And sing twidly dwidly dum”
In fact, I sometimes even see her.
The only thing I fail to apprehend is… She is still nine!
19 Nov 1995
It has been two years when I got fettered to this marriage. Ever since the burden of this wedlock has burgeoned upon my finger. He did not want to beget with me so now only three of us live; my husband; Dr. Ed, Nancy, our house help and I. I am particularly not fond of Nancy, for I suspect my husband has affection for her, which is out of the bounds of marriage. He never lets her leave and she forces me to take medicines without negligence and treats me as a social pariah. I am constantly under CCTV surveillance when he is on duty at a nearby hospital. I believe he has connived to murder me and usurp my property with those pernicious medicines which I cannot avoid and at the same time cannot fathom any sane explanation as to why are they subscribed to me.
Enough! I shouted to myself. Ed, always punctilious to lock his paraphernalia while going to shower, tried everything in his power to eschew me to reach it. I suspected what he hid from me. Propitious to the vicissitude of my life he mistakenly kept the lock open one day.
I tiptoed to the drawer, with almost panting, timorous heart; my eyes ran impetuously through the documents while constantly keeping a tab on his movements in the bathroom. To my consternation, I found a file with my name on it, my heart congealed; it almost made me want to cry as I thought they might be the divorce papers. The shower had stopped and in seconds, he came out and noticed what I had found. He came running towards me snatched the file, threw it and hugged me to choke me and said while crying mawkishly,
“Please make peace with yourself!”
I struggled to extricate myself, screamed on top of my voice, and tried to get hold of the papers and tear them. I kicked him in the stomach and stretched my hand out to reach the papers. He crawled to my feet and pulled me down. My head hit the corner of the bed and I felt dizzy. The papers crumbled in the tussle and I passed out before I faintly read,
“ACUTE PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER”
Nobody talks to me now about what happened that day. I am done. This torture is at its zenith now.
A few years ago, I was satiated with the kind of life I was leading which has now become vapid itself. My heart has become impervious to any kind of emotion humankind is known to.
I was lying in a verdant field, languid, ruminating about what all had happened. I meticulously delineated grass with my agile fingers only physically present and eyes wide open staring into the abyss of an incessant sky. It was maybe the zephyr carrying me only deeper into my thoughts. I could hear the pages of the book, kept by my side, flutter. It’s noise only inconsequential in the crescendo of his voice in my head. I could not have been more complacent with my life.
Suddenly the wind abetted a dust particle to jump into my eye, bringing me back from my thoughts. A tear came running down to my ear not merely because of the dust but because of the irreparable damage time had done.
I was ingenuous to his superficial affection. His memories were inscribed forever in my heart. The way he maneuvered his lips tracing my own and curling his arm gently around my waist, pulling me close until even air ceased to pass, still sends a shiver down my spine. Where I considered his love to be my elixir, it had only been a calumny and him so perfidious. I cried inexorably recalling all that had occurred.
I started to walk slowly towards the sea considering death to be my ultimate panacea. That is when he silently crawls up in my bed and lands a smooth kiss on my forehead saying, “Wake up love!”