pain

Little Tea Party

Posted on Updated on

10153789_665295203539624_8242302090423378732_n

Dylan Thomas once said, “I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me.” Perhaps that was one bright epiphany for him, perhaps the observation of general human tendencies, but it couldn’t have been more true for Anouk even if it had been tailored for her, with a dozen words to spare.

Her beast, her angel and her madman were having a tea party today, each flashing its grin in turn, peeping in and out on her face like children through a curtain. Angel, please let me have angel today, Anouk had listless hope. No longer bundling energy enough to beg, all she could do was hope, knowing only too well that on usual days, she would either hurt someone or get hurt herself. Seldom was she gifted a completely happy day with a bright blue ribbon, and all she could do was hope today was one.

The inner angel spread her wings and beamed, softly silver in Anouk’s eyes as she thrust herself out of bed. Plans for today were deliberately enthusiastic, to cut into a long week of sorrowful routine. She was going to meet a friend, in exactly twenty minutes. On any other day, twenty minutes would have been too less. To bathe, dress and accessorize, a girl needs time. Today this girl had much different circumstances and twenty was enough time to slip into the skirt and blouse, the only skirt and blouse she hadn’t packed.

Good point #1- Upcoming trip to Japan. Surely she could trap her beast in with that, pacifying it that all was well.

Sighing, she picked her threadbare bag, threw in her charger and almost dried phone, some money to get back and a sheet of paper to write the apology she owed her boyfriend.

Bad point #1- She had hurt him.

The beast stirred and the madman’s ears pricked, each possibly wondering whose release this really was. The beast sensed there was probably her own pain involved, and sulked back in his seat, while the madman’s eyes danced like a disco light in a New Year’s party. Without him, she was a lost child with fear brimming in the corners of her eyes. This was the madman’s playground.

The plan, concentrate on the happy plan, Anouk chastised herself and ran down the road, hailing a rickshaw to her friend’s place in less time than she had allowed herself. She had half the day to chill with her friend, and the only real planned thing: trying a variant of lentils for lunch. Then she had her beloved gran coming over to help her pack for Japan. And in between that, she had to finish the apology to win back normal conversation with the man she loved. That was a two to one ratio, in favour of the angel. Hope seemed to be working just fine, for now.

Good thing #2- It was windy and her cheeks flushed with the gale.

The angel spread her wings, the beast cringed.

Bad thing #2- An idiot drove through water spilled on the street, and splashed her legs with a dozen mucky droplets.

The angel folded the wings back in, the madman squealed.

“Anouk!” Mira hugged her at the door, and Anouk visibly freshened. Bonus points for angel, who stretched her arms and flew a few feet above the tea party table. “Mira…” Anouk hugged her back, tight and sincere. It took them two minutes to cover for a month of absence, as each had been busy with their own brand of torture. Together they were only youth and giggles, rolled into hours and hours of effortless company. Quickly, Anouk forgot the injustice of the past week, being framed for something she didn’t do, being humiliated for doing nothing wrong. She deleted the words that ached in her mind, said by her father, said by her teacher, words that were pure hatred and tyranny, words she didn’t deserve but then we are seldom treated how we deserve to be. She purposefully kicked out feeling like a limp puppet, when she realised her parents had gone to her school to defend her but had been far too polite, as decent folk tend to be, far too polite to have gotten due attention. All this was another story, puzzling to an onlooker, possibly puzzling to Mira too. But it was Anouk’s troubled truth. And slowly, it was fading, Bad Points of the past being shot out with a bow the angel had gotten hold of. Oh she was magnificent, gliding over the beast’s scrowls.

“Anouk?” Mira asked, concern visible in her eyes.

“It’s fine. It’s ok now.”

Mira nodded with silent understanding, years of practice coming in play. And in that brief loving gesture, Anouk was suddenly empowered. She straightened her back, two inches taller, and called order to the gathering. The tea party came to an abrupt halt as those present nodded in resignation to the boss, Her. Yes, you listen to me now, she put her hand down on the table, as tea cups and sugar cubes vanished and the party was over. Listen.

The seething pain of her school incident still kindled a fire in her heart, but she had largely accepted that she needed to give it time. Next on the list was her father, a man whose day seemed to start and end with how much trouble he could brew for his unsuspecting family, and her in particular for she was the fiesty one of the lot. Standing next to Mira, for a moment she thought how worthless his attempts would be if she could only just fly away into her future, far far away from him. The angel sat up at the possibility of escape and safety, until the madman winked: What about her sister. Or her mother. So she needed to root it our, not cut the trunk. Very well, and Anouk wondered idly if the beast could help with that. Quickly she reprimanded herself, she was much better than to answer bitterness with more bitterness. She was Anouk, powerful and strong. Anouk, who had willed her life and earned a trip to Japan. A free trip, she thanked her stars. She was Anouk, loved by a man whose mere existence in her life was enough for her to take on her father and all his brutality.

 

Her boyfriend… those present perked to attention as the next agenda flitted into discussion. It was hard for either of them to understand whose arena this really was. Being a matter of love, the angel felt a certain possessiveness. Being interspersed with pain, the madman wanted in. The beast, frankly, was willing to attack just about anything that involved negativity, and there’s plenty negativity in wounded hearts.

It had all been a misunderstanding. She had been talking normally, conversing about his day, and hers. Then he had started getting cryptic again, laconic with his answers and shutting her out, and she became a helpless child again. She tried to pull him back in, saying he really couldn’t do this, he needed to tell her! But the words she chose were wrong, and he felt like she disrespected him. How much further from the truth could that be. Disrespect him?! Her love, her strength, her faith! But her words were wrong, and she had to pay.

And that she was willing to do. You see, perceptions of right and wrong fail when it comes to love. That’s what drives poets mad. That’s what makes men promise the moon and beyond. That’s what puzzles the angel, the beast and the madman and frankly, that’s the only thing worth hurting for.

Anouk smiled a dazzled smile.

Bad point #numberunknown- She had come to no conclusion.

Good point #numberunimportant- She was master of the three voices of her soul.

Bad point stressed- She really had no plan of action, nothing to DO, nothing decided, definite.

Good point stressed doubly- Yes, she had no solution. But she had clarity, and strength. A friend and her time, and new food to try. She had a paper to write an apology on, with a light heart and unbridled love. She had a trip to pack for, and her gran to help. She had him, her boyfriend, always and always by her side, being the very word of ecstasy and the embodiment of something deeper than love. She had no solutions!  And right now, she really didn’t care for one.

A new woman with glittering eyes walked into the house, a deserted tea party fading in the back of her mind, cold.

 

 

Advertisements

Musical Showdown

Posted on Updated on

It was showdown night.

The past fifteen minutes had rolled out to their plan, and she had these begged for five minutes to make her stand. Who cared that the court was partial… that no one was going to hear her defense? This was her space… and she had to speak…

She had only been singing… she didn’t have a great voice and for that reason, she kept it low. But she couldn’t completely stop herself. She tried. She tried to stop her feet automatically tapping to the songs that played on tv, or floated in from a neighbour’s house. They all hated when she drummed her fingers… said it was always out of tune.. or too loud.. They had a point, because just as she started swaying to the music someone would shout at her. Out of Tune. And loud enough for the neighbor to hear the argument and turn down his music.

She just decided that she should keep it away from others to hear… so she decided to stop singing…

Then one day the people in the house below moved out. She spent the day glued to her window peeking down at all the activity… the little kids running back in every second to dig out things they had hidden in crevices and cupboards over the years, and take them along to their new home. She wondered if that meant there would no longer be music. It was the eldest daughter who played the most music, of all her neighbours. And her choice wasn’t bad. She sighed. Music just kept slipping away from her. But then, she could take a cue, she had to learn to stop singing.

She accepted it.

And her day started changing. She would no longer dance on her toes while reading for her next school test… She would no longer hum as she baked… She would no longer smile as tunes ran in her mind, and she would no longer squeeze her eyes bracing the crescendo…

She might just have gotten used to it… a life without music… Everyone else seemed happier. Her parents didn’t send her in when they all gathered for tv time anymore… People didn’t mind when she went onto the internet, but then those were the hardest times, she had to sit very stern to stop her idle hands drumming or her feet lightly tapping away… She remembered to keep her lips pursed tight. If she sang… she would have a bad telling and a worse night.

But it wasn’t going to be so easy.

A new tenant came. A boy. Seemed like he was going to college, anyway, he moved in alone in the house below. She saw him shift in his stuff and didn’t give him a second thought. She couldn’t even dare looking at boys, when just music caused such outbreak in her family…

But he wasn’t just a boy. To her horror. He was a musician.

Today, late in the evening, just as her father came in from work and her mother shut everything to go see to him, she quietly slipped into her room and went to read. That’s what kept everyone happy.

And then… a melody took form… she thought she had heard something but she was still fighting fancies so she ignored it… but it grew stronger… and louder.. her mother picked it in the living room too, wondering if another family outcry was soon to unfold..

The girl was scared. She drew the curtains. She shut the balcony door tight. She started talking loudly, reciting her chapters to herself, speaking anything to try and block out the sound. It was  a sin to love music. It was a sin because it shook the scheme of her house, as her father had based it over years of rule.

The boy kept at it. She kept getting more scared. She started crying. If someone heard it they would be mad. After that, even if she didn’t sing at all, she was in trouble. She had become the embodiment of that defiled philandering her father despised, and thus so did her mother. No one could think different.

She tried. It was getting harder each second. He was getting more soulful. He was getting stronger. He was letting out trough music. A musician at that stage is invincible, she knew.

She gave up. She threw open the window and bent down and looked at him. He was playing the guitar. He was plucking the strings with the easiest of movements. He was trifling with them. He was running his fingers free, and his eyes shut, he was playing old melodies that found place in all hearts, but her father’s.

Her father. Now she heard him. He was right outside her door, his step was heavy, he was furious. It was too late. She was too late. He had reached. She couldn’t do anything now. Now, the music would be pushed away through the window, and his screaming would take foreground. His screaming… would ride over any other sound… and music will drift away… like always.

She cast her eyes down. The boy… what would he think…

And he started speaking… shouting…

Did she know she was really irritating him? Well she was…

She was the shame he had had to put up with…

Disgraceful child!

He had been cursed he knew…

THIS NUISANCE IDEA! MUSIC! Pah!

She, will soon be kicked out of the house, if she kept at this useless stuff!

 

She wished he just would. Kick her out. She knew if she asked for it, he would only scream more and her mother would be heartbroken.

Fifteen minutes. She now shut the window and locked it tight. She pulled the curtains. The music wasn’t playing any more. He heard.

Fifteen minutes. All it took for her to lose a possible friend, and a love.

He had won again. He had everyone just where he wanted them… under his thumb. He had control, he had absolute obedience. And now he was happy. His daughter may not be, but then, she was a shame wasn’t she. Music. The very idea!

She accepted. She accepted days without music over hours of screaming any day. But she begged for her five minutes. Just five minutes when she could tell the whole world, that she did NOT agree with him. She WILL not. Never. She will accept the decree, but she will not justify it. And in her five minutes, she wrote…

Late in the night, she thought she heard a tune brew up again from down below… but she just turned and went to sleep, her tears drying…

And next day, at the same time as last evening, when the same tune rose again, she decided to take one small peek at the boy and then she would pull on mufflers and earbuds.

She looked down… and saw him staring at her window.

The Time Of Pain

Posted on Updated on

Its not when there’s people around
That the heart will admit to the bleeding pain
When there is chatter and noise and footsteps fall
That won’t be the time the heart shall yield
There is no silence in light

Its in the dead of the night
The solitary confinement of human mind
And the chill and creep of memories left behind
That the monster of that pumping organ
Is unleashed, unbound
And ready to bleed you out
Slowly…

You may find more poetry here and here.

Stuck

Posted on

What do we do to the people we love?

Hold knives on throats and press gently, slowly..

Why do we hurt the people we love?

We live to regret it but we do it nonetheless…

She loves me I can’t live without her

Yet I haven’t said a single thing that’s on my mind to her

Our conversations start with the weather, end with ringing phones

Our hugs and kisses are jokes, pretence that nothing’s chnaged

We sit next to each other all day, same roof

We age a little we die a little

But we choose not to try and talk

We’re stuck with our cares and our frowns

We know that the other can help, but we wont go first.

What do we do to the people we love?

I look at her, I feel dismay

I want her back but I won’t say…

 

 

Long Gone

Posted on

Sequel to the post You’re Welcome.

Ella walked lazily to the kitchen and tossed some frozen food onto the gas, to make it edible. Or close. The lines of her rough kohl had spread and she rubbed them even more, till the smudges under her eyes became hideous.

The neon-clock wasn’t lit any more… it was ordinary. Just like many things of the night become. Just like their conversation had become. Ordinary.

Whit was dead, and it was ordinary. She had thrown Sam out, and it was ordinary. Probably for the first time in her life, she had woken up in need of an agenda, and with neither of her best friends in a position to talk to, and it was ordinary. Well, it wasn’t particularly new… or special. She had to see it coming… What they had, Sam and Whit and her, it was long gone. And she had known this day was coming.

You don’t just walk away from the people you love. You don’t just let them go either. But Whit had walked away and Elle had let her go, and Sam had been just indifferent. That was when the troubles had begun.

Whitney had taken to drugs. Sam had left them both for Europe, and posted happy pictures with unknown friends regularly. Elle had decided to be just as stuck-up, and she joined the ballet lessons she had promised Whit she would do with her.

It had taken them only a month to see things weren’t going too good. Whit was in hospital every second day, Sam was on the phone with Elle worrying about Whit, and Elle was the arrogant girl in the ward room, acting like it was her job, and nothing more, to get Whit out… only for her to fall back again.

One month and Elle, Whit and Sam had needed those infamous round-the-couch meetings. They had to “talk about it”.

Elle emptied the contents of the pan in the bin. If she ever got beyond the look, she could never get herself to eat that smelly food. She would order out. Again.

The bell rang. Elle cursed. That early in the morning, with her eyes as they were… but whoever it was, deserved it. Everyone has their pace in New York, and hers was slow, big deal!

She opened the door, and peeked outside. It was a delivery. She signed for it, thanked the guy, checked him out and came back in. She recognised the handwriting on the envelope. A fat envelope, green and rubbed around the corners.

She couldn’t place it, but she had seen it, she knew. Slowly, as if the handwriting had sparked need of investigating, she checked for signs on the envelope to guess where it came from. Nothing. She tore it open, and out stumbled some sheets of paper.

There was another envelope, and a long piece of paper, which she opened first.

Elle drew her breath in, as she read the first few words.

Dear El

It was Whit.

I’m sorry Elle. I tried to say it, to you and to Sam, but I didn’t. I can’t ask you to understand, I can’t ask you to believe in me every time I do something that I KNOW is wrong. So I have decided to do this, and I feel it’s my duty to tell you somehow, though this isn’t the best of means.

Please try, and let me go El.

I’m leaving new York. I’m going East… I’m gonna try and explore… who am I kidding, I’m running babe. I don’t think I can do it in here, where I know you’d be there to watch my back, or Sam to take care of me if you fight me. I’m gonna try and escape, and for that I’m choosing to leave you both stranded. And like this.

I’m sorry El. I really am.

Love,

Lots and lots of love,

Whit.

I’m sorry babe. You guys were my family and I’m running out on you. But maybe, it’s for the best. I have to try.

Elle let the tears come. Whit had wanted to change, Whit hadn’t been lost.

Whit had wanted to fight the drug, to make things better and now she was dead.

The tears had come, even if they were a night late.

Elle wanted to call Sam back. When Whit could want to fight it, how could Elle let it win? How could Elle let her friendships stain?

But now, Whit had died, before she had a chance to make things right, Sam and Elle had fought, and everyone was alone, and hurt.

But the love had long gone. The faith had long gone. And they had let it go.

 

 

 

The Love Before Dawn

Posted on

The night is darkest before the dawn, but the coming of dawn is inevitable. When the sun broke through the wispy darkness and the first streaks of gold illuminated the sky, Myra was already on the rooftop, gazing into the distance. It had been too much. It had all been just a little over what she could control and she had needed the break.
She hadnt cried, but her heart had bled enough already through the day. She allowed herself another flashback, another peek into the painful past, to try and find once again just what had gone wrong… how could she have avoided it all….

It had been a Saturday like any other. She had stood proud in front of the mirror, smiling, rubbing her bulging belly anticipating the day in the sun with him. His return, which she sorely missed, she had thought about for weeks on end, each time ending with a smile. It was apparent she loved him. She couldn’t hide it even if she wanted to. Thoughts of him beamed and penetrated her skull radiating a glow of passion from her face. The dress she wore accentuated her curves and increasing bust. She looked again into the mirror; smiling again, imagining his approval of her obvious femininity.

Hours later she stood at their usual rendezvous. She was thirty minutes early. He didn’t like to wait and she had thought of buying flowers anyway; the kind he had bought for her so many times before. As the hands of the chronometer on her wrist approached their agreed time she felt a nervousness around her. It had been just under three months since they had last met and her body longed for his embrace. To keep herself from being bored she dived into the archives of her memories of them together; the time and the happiness they had shared. It made her smile even more, wishing she could somehow manipulate the laws of time and space to her favour.

From a distance she spotted him; his obvious swagger and proud head setting him apart from the rest. She jumped to her feet and dusted the imaginary dust off her clean dress. She wanted to look her best for him. Her face radiated even more and the smile on her face told of the deepest passion and nostalgia. She put her hands behind her back, trying to hide the evident flowers in her hand. To an ignorant by-stander, she looked like an overgrown child waiting for the prize she had won at the fair.
Behind the dark shades his eyes also had spotted her. She looked a little different from the last time they had spend the weekend at his exclusive lake-house, but maybe it was just that he hadn’t seen her in too long. He quickened his step a little bit to try and cut the time of their moments apart.

Being together again felt like reliving a dream. He was her Prince Charming, reincarnated. She, she always felt because of her humble background, was the lucky peasant girl who got to be with the Prince. Their love broke all rules and barriers. Their love was like no other, a perfect fairytale.

She hung onto him as they embraced; the flowers beating onto his back. As they drew slowly apart he smiled, showing a perfect set of teeth. Her legs melted, turning to wax at his smile. A tingle erupted across her whole body, quivering with intensity and waiting for him to draw her closer to him. He waited, the seconds seeming like eternity to her. Before he could say a word she rushed at him, her kiss impetuous.

But something was amiss. Something wasn’t quite right… She thought it was her. Maybe he wasn’t quite satisfied. So she pulled his arms around her belly, helping him feel the difference. She kissed him tenderly, letting her love free. But he didn’t kiss her back. Instead, there came a wave of difference between them, his expression cleared, the twinkle in his eye faded… he pulled back. He stared into her eyes, but she didn’t feel the warmth she did before, like she did in the lakehouse… she saw fear, even shock… and suddenly she felt cold. She moved her hand up his arm, rubbing it slowly, showing him she was there. But he had passed into a world nonchalant of their love, struck by some pain that was pulling him away. He broke away. He moved back. He was looking at her, and she couldn’t say anything. And then suddenly, he dropped his gaze to her belly… the curves rounder than before, how he couldn’t hold her the way she fit in his embrace before… and then she realised. Imagining his approval, beaming with the thought of his delight she had come. Would she leave with the dread of his disownment of his own child, she wondered. She moved forward… she trusted him, he would understand. She told herself, he would, he was just taken aback, they hadn’t met in a while and he would understand, she repeated to herself. But the horror in his eyes made it hard for her to accept that this was the man she had loved all this while, whose love she had succumbed to, with devotion.
There they stood, united with love, separated by fear, until at last, she let the warnings win. He wouldn’t come. Exhausted under the heavy sweep of that realisation, unsupported by his loving body, all alone and dismal, she fell back into the bench that had earlier occupied her ecstasy. She tried not to think of the time she had spent with him just next to her on that same bench, she tried not to think of the evenings at the lakehouse… she tried not to think of him standing still a few steps away. It was his move. He had to decide if he was going to leave her or if he would give them a chance. With every minute that she waited, a pain plunged through her veins, faster and denser than the blood, hurting her fingers, numbing her toes, making her feel like bursting under the pressure, the confusion… and it originated from a sharp pierce of a dagger formed by her memories, brutally cutting her heart, while the rhythm in her belly kept it going. She moved a hand on her belly, in silent pleading for mercy but the only thing she received, was even more pain as he stood away, still.
She sighed. She felt like an old decaying woman, her soul soiled with shame and loneliness, her will decreasing. On perhaps the last of her energy, she lifted her tired body, walked with her head low towards him, and for a brief moment looked in his eyes. He still hadn’t accepted her, and now she knew it was too late. She took his face in her hands, kissed him gently on the lips, for the last time she realised, she pulled herself away while all of her wanted just to hold on, and stumbled away from him, back the same path she had come earlier, bouncing. The flowers had fallen, as lifeless as her. He didn’t even turn.
The dawn is inevitable they say… she would rather live a lie though, if the truth could hurt that much. She couldn’t have avoided it. She had been positive he would love her just as much now or perhaps more, but she had been wrong. She had been wrong because she had understood him wrong, and for that the dawn had had to come.
Silent now on the rooftop, as the sun warmed her, Myra knew it was over. Nothing they could say, nothing they could do would bring back the love, would ease out the pain… nothing they could do would hide his betrayal, they couldn’t be the same. She rubbed her bulging belly, wondering if it was a weed in her body, if she should kill all traces of him… but would she let him kill another heart, she thought. She waited for the dawns to send her the answer, and until then, she would give it a chance, just as she should have had one.

By Peter and Ruchika