She watched mindlessly her wall-clock. It was 1:14. The hands staggered and rolled like a weary insomniac. There was no reason she would check the time because it was a lazy night- a worthless night. Her back leaned scarcely against the stained wall and her ass stuck between the bed and the wall. She was a strange girl, a nicer human being and a bit reserved. These nights make her feel incredibly horny.
She stared at the doormat; it grew bigger, bigger and bigger with its slimy tentacles. And then ran about her room like a mouse. The walls stooped down shaking off cobwebs from their underarms. Her neck was bright and bare. You can watch her neck being groped by worms. Words might have words to convey to each other but she didn’t. Silence waited like mousetrap- waited to devour.
Everything shattered into fragments of ethereal sarcophagus and blood stained her crotch. Her legs, spread out wide, can’t say invited an inflammation.She smacked a mosquito on her palm, stared at the stain of blood and felt her palm to be a sanitary napkin or the tissue that was one of the witnesses when she lost virginity.
Her father was in military. He took voluntary retirement because of some psychological issues. He remembered every militant he killed, their dresses, their pale eyes, icy jaws, bloodless lips. He turned into an insomniac. He never wanted to kill, but it was his job to do it. He was once shot near the kidneys and he survived somehow. When people pay homage to the brave army-men he feels a bit ragged, a bit cringed and a bit dejected with all those people. Whichever country it is, the people killed by military are always people; people of similar shape, four hands, one mutilated head, a torn jacket, one shoed feet and a tenant’s name engraved on the forehead of its corpse. They were taught in army training how to imagine the target as a nonhuman. But at the end of the day he looked at the sky and tore through this pretense. He now sits by the window and looks on to a vast, incomprehensible nothingness, and, mutters: “the sky here is still pale blue…heavy cumulonimbus bearing death and thunder…she spreads like a dark fog from the nostrils of gods…dusk, fall upon the guns…”
She didn’t look back often to her childhood. Ragged, tattered memories smeared in gray lay on the floor…her parents’ separation…uncle Hamid…her brother’s shadow moving far, farther and turning into a dark patch at the end of her sight. Her memory felt like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that went missing uncomfortably in her own house. She should’ve looked around for them, maybe under the sofa, beneath her bed or behind that portrait of Buddha. She should of, or, maybe not. What would be the use of a random assemblage of fragments? Pearls drop into the dark and turn black. Wallow your head, or hand, or yourself and you’ll find your ribs have collected them all; the bones amalgamated with the darkness and pearls imitate the movements of your iris and run; run, through the lanes of your rib cage, crash against the bony walls and just like you, randomly try to find the reason of the void conceived by those bones.
“Earth is a strange place, isn’t it?” her head faced the ceiling, “I wonder how afraid I am of tragedies. Or am I? Life is such a deceitful tragedy. Several times I’ve touched his little fingers while we stood in a rice-field. My toes dipped into the mud, the sky shed tears and smiled like he did. And then, our worlds collapsed and gods tore them apart.” Her head was slipping from the air she perched it on. “Haahh” the brown pillow struck her head with much care than she expected. She looked at her cleavage. It could’ve lured her if she was a guy or at least not herself. “Why my lust gets stuck at the point of my existence? Why there is always a piece missing from the puzzle?” But she didn’t will to touch them or play. The grave darkness breathing between her breasts haunted her. She lied paralyzed and a swarm of darkness stormed out of her cleavage and grasped her face.
Now second’s hand had disappeared from the dial and time seemed to be stuck in traffic. Traffic…traffic. She could hear a continual buzz, an unusual cacophony from the streets nearby. She could listen to the blunt laughter coming from a collective unconscious. “I wonder if I’m delusional or too disillusioned, subconscious or at the peak of my consciousness, dead or resurrected by my senses!”
Uncle Hamid never came over since her parents separated. She sometimes went to his place to borrow some books. He was a bachelor. Often she’s seen him staring a hole into the thin air, his pen parked steady on an A4 sheet, a line or two written on it. Hamid was a doctorate in philosophy. He often told her how esoteric Vedant can be at some places. Teaching in a college and writing in journals were all he did. Uncle Hamid had a violin; she used to play with its bow when she was a little girl. Lately he had become more silent than usual. His writing stopped and often his whiskey kept waiting for hours in the glass. Uncle Hamid, the very first man she fell in love with. It was his birthday when she went to his flat and found newspapers left at the door. The collapsible gate was shut. “If he had gone somewhere he should have informed me”. She went downstairs to ask the caretaker his whereabouts. Suddenly she turned back at the door and she could feel the grave sighs of death beaming through the black collapsible. Things went on like a soporific speech of a lone speaker and her unmindful stare barely kept account of anything. The last few things she remembers till date are uncle Hamid’s curly hair leaning on the table, a broken glass, a pen chocked by rigor mortis and a fourteen line poem on the floor.
She pushed herself up a bit from the bed; her limbs felt heavy with an uncanny fatigue. Then she dragged her hip towards to edge and her legs flung down from the knees before touching the floor. They trembled and rambled like those of a bedridden. She walked a weary step or two like a maiden woken up under a spell, strolled towards the mirror on the dressing table. The mirror had her Bindis stuck on the upper corner of it and was quite blemished at some places by the stamp of adhesive used in Bindi. She picked up a blue marker pen, stared at her own face in the mirror and wrote some words on it- incoherent, obscure but not quite irrelevant: “dreams fal-…night- mare…loved me. Love. Shadows”
The last ‘s’ of ‘shadows’had a prolonged tail as if it strived to touch her toes. She stared at the writing and tried hard to find its reflected counterpart on the mirror for a few moments; and then, suddenly started scratching on the mirror and squeezing her palm as if she wanted to crumple it like a piece of paper. The writing was rubbed off the surface of the mirror after a minute or so by her frantic altercation with those words. Nothing was left but a transparent trail of the blue ink and that little ‘s’. It lied there, smudged at places, like an eternal serpent.
She was preoccupied with the eerie recurrences of her own gestures as if they stood for a forthcoming tumult. She craved for a sleep now. Sleep--that she had long forsaken. She wanted to press her cheeks on her father’s lap and cry. Every time she did so she found a subtle smell of urine emitting from within the thighs. It’s hard to say if she liked it but it reminded her of Hamid. However she removed herself from in front of the dressing table and headed towards the main entrance of the apartment. It was long past one in the night. The door was presumably locked. She searched it in the cupboard for a while. It was her accustomed territory where the keys slept. She was the one who had to lock the apartment every morning when she went off to school. She just moved her fingers on the rack without looking at it. The keys groaned a little reciprocating to her touch. They grated in the keyhole before the door opened with an incoherent moan. The ex-surgeon lifted his eyes from his delirium and tried to follow the sound before realizing his daughter was closing the collapsible gate. The melody of her slippers fainted away in the downward spiral of the staircase. Now he looked at his whiskey as a cripple does to his old shoes. In his blemished days the liquor used to keep him warm among the death and the snow. But now, all it has to offer is a frigid inebriation.
Her slippers flapped against concrete as she walked on almost touching the curb with the edge of her left foot. It had rained almost a couple of hours ago. Her bare neck could feel the sweep of her hair disheveled by an intimately violent breeze. She reached the crossing where four streets met or diverged from. She always felt that these crossings are where everyone and everything part. It wasn’t too easy, neither too difficult, to decide which way she should go. She could have gone either way held she had no destination. But, to the irony of roots, she had. She wanted to go somewhere where she’ll meet her family, together. It wasn’t easy to decide because all the streets looked the same in the intense yellow light. There was a blue reflection on the wet, glimmering street. The ground felt like a woman right after her bath, only veiling her breasts with a black towel. Very few parts were dried up and they looked like lecherous scars.
A little boy, of twelve or thirteen maybe, is running on the empty sidewalk. From his gesture it seems he is running, or at least striving to run, really fast. But it’s pretty intriguing when someone observes him from a distance. He’s making a slow progress on his way despite the frantic throwing of his arms and legs. It seems as if he doesn’t actually want to reach home early; as if he wants to wear himself up long before he reaches home. It seems he almost doesn’t want to reach home before the rain starts. Lightning strikes the western part of the sky and the wind startles like an epileptic patient.
Drops of sweat slept on her face like glitters on a handful of sand. As she walked on the road slipped under her feet in a tedious rhythm. The street was fairly asleep in benumbing silence; and it was only shattered into pieces when an insidious bark of a dog rang across the lanes, or a tired old compounder lowered the shutter with a grating sound. The sudden and transient voice of distant whistle from a deserted train only managed to deepen the silence that had the town covered like a somber fog. She saw almost nothing that was occurring on the banks of her stream of sight. It went in a descent angle, firm, steady and straight. She was blabbering to herself an old lyric composed by an ascetic. It was about the failure of a lifelong endeavor. The lyric portrayed every stage of human life with a set of metaphors that consisted the different times for Namaz. And, suddenly, she surmised it was no time for a prayer. “Who’s asleep, God? Or man?”
The boy is completely drained when he reaches the door with which he has been acquainted since his parents separated. He overhears his mother’s voice through the door and he isn’t much surprised to find her screaming over the phone. The woman sprinkles some water on her face and wipes with her palm to calm herself down, to make herself presentable in front of her son, although she is well aware of her son knowing all about her practices. Every night she dials a number on her phone and starts screaming at whoever is on the other side. Without any exception it is always a generic female voice informing that the number does not exist.
A strong odor stopped the girl in her tracks. It was a public urinal. A man of middle age, almost wasted and swollen up with the odor of country ale, was urinating. He was moaning in a delirious pleasure as the warm water was almost bursting out of his penis. His head was tucked in only to hold the bottom of his ragged shirt under his chin. His dark tummy was obnoxiously bulging out while free from the bounds of his shirt. There was a perfect arch created by his waist and hip and his pant was barely hanging from his butt. She felt digressed by his posture. The irritation grew in her head with every passing moment while she stared at him bluntly. At first it was repulsion, a bit of uneasiness; then it grew and grew until it formed a monstrous craving. The longer she looked at him the more she wanted to obliterate his existence. The muscles of his hips tightened further to eject the remaining drops of urine. Her pupils ran faster as if to search something. Suddenly, from the darkened corner by the wall of the urinal, peeped a piece of rock. It was large enough to inflict a significant amount of impact on the skull. And, she could lift it up without much of a difficulty.
The boy, after her mother welcomes him home with a smile, walks into his room silently with his chin buried in his chest.
She strode on, after that unprecedented interval. Now her face was glowing in the yellow light. A couple of locks adhered to her forehead like fatigued soldiers. The mouth of her slipper was drenched in mud, blood and urine. Now she smiled, it was not the first time when she felt the way she felt moments ago. The last time she felt this repulsive was perhaps yesterday.
She walked on. “She had a beautiful face.”