He was watching her breathe, when she stopped suddenly and turned towards him. “In this breath, I hold a thought” she said, “I’ll set it free once you can guess it.”
And still when he sits before the sea, watching lovers cuddling, he thinks of that breath of hers.
As she has been going down the stairs she finds that feeling returning – of becoming lighter than the air above her. And then, the fear of rising up in through the block of air and reaching the floor she had started from; of finding the door, she had closed before she left, ajar; of finding him sleeping in the green light of the night bulb. That color hurt her eyes.
He dreamt of waking up.
When did you fall asleep on the sand? Did the last sun hurt your eyes? Like it had burned me? And the pages on which I wrote these love tales? Will the sea water heal your hurt or my love tales? Must I hold my breath in anticipation too? Hope? Do you know to dream? Am I the one who’s asleep in it?
Her blood went nowhere. It lingered a few feet away from the steps. Steps on which no one shall step in a few more hours to come. And no one shall see her blood catch the strangest of hue. Perhaps, it was the green light in her last thought. A green thought in the last light filled up her eyes. Filled up her heart. Filled up her belly. Filled up her breasts. Her fingernails.
It’s hard to tell whether she had felt dizzy or drowsy when she decided to take the easy way down the stairs.
In the crowd that had gathered on the shore to watch her beautiful corpse, there were children. They understood this to be a forbidden pleasure. They all stood in the warmth of her death. But for her, it was disturbing. The shame of being watched dead. The shame of it. She wanted to crumble into herself. But death, among other things, robs you of movement.
And if he were there, he surely would have covered her naked demise with himself.
When was the last time you died? Was it down the stairs? Was it on the shore? Was it elsewhere? Can you tell me the events in the order of their occurrence? How many times did you die in there? In my love tales? Does it hurt anymore? Didn’t I restore your lost immunity? Didn’t I trap all your deaths in these folded pages that the sun burnt? And yet, now, without your deaths do I have you at all? Wasn’t your life the longest dying? Broken down to smaller grains of death that flew hither and thither in the wind that blew?
When was the last time you died? When was the last time the last time?
He dreamt of waking up in a dream. There was dew all over. The dew that went nowhere but was everywhere. And in every dewdrop he found her trapped. He tried to catch a dewdrop to set her free. But the dewdrop gently slipped down his palm. And as it did, it slowly transformed to a waterfall of dewdrops, turning to a green stream gushing in full force. And in that stream he found her being carried away, drowning. Desperately trying to save her he jumped into the stream and found the water to be salty.
Once in the stream, he found that there was not one but a multitude of her. And that she wasn’t drowning in the stream at all, but into herself, over and over again.
And then there a was mirror in her room. One of her images was struck in it. When he stepped in her room, in the soft haze of the blue streetlight pouring in, he saw that it sat in a corner of the reflected room. One of its feet stretched towards the light. Trying to hide from the light.
When he pointed his torch towards it, it tried to crumble into itself. It was always difficult for the poor thing trying to look at the man behind the source of light. She wanted to run away from this playful rape by an unknown light. But a reflected world stretches only as far as the mirror-eyes wandered.
Slowly, the torchlight mixed with the blue light, creating the green hue. And an old, rusty feeling of discomfort returned. Somehow, she preferred this feeling of discomfort. Perhaps, it was acquaintance. Maybe, death again.
When she stepped out on the road, in ignorance of a death she had descended from, she walked gracefully.
He’d be waiting at the place where the road bends.
Am I just playing with you as if you stood in my palms? Is your imaginative future a piece of marble for me? Shall I carve it the way I wish? And again? And again? Don’t I know you’d never be breathing life into none of my sculptures? But? At the same time, don’t I sprinkle you in the eyes of an onlooker? Will you not live in there? Make a home? Another room? With a mirror?
Will I close my palm when I find the answers?
There was also a mother, lost in one of these tales. She had abandoned the mirror. And therefore, I guess, the author abandoned her too. But there she is, clinging onto the space above her head. Frightened it’d disappear soon, one of these days. As would her memories. And her hands.
“She danced so well”, she tells the boy “she danced.”
He dreamt of waking up in a dream. They sat on a shore when she pointed with her fingers towards something that moved in the grass. It was a beautiful insect. She took it on her palm. It was then that he realized that there were more of the insects all over the place. And they crawled all over her body.
She whispered in his ear – “They’re eating through me.”
That’s when he noticed, lots of her was missing. And bleeding. Like the second last finger of her left hand. The part of her forehead where the sweet wrinkle appeared when she was in doubt. Her right foot. Bits and parts of her lips. The left corner of her last thoughts.
And yet she went on playing with the insects. She went on.
The white cloth.
She never understood what darkness meant. A creature of light, she loved wearing white. He called her Sanctity. When he held her hand, his hands would invariably seem dirty.
Once upon a time, there was to be a year that’d teach her the inviolability of darkness. That’d be the year of him. And violins. She’d learn a movement guided by instincts. The completed chapter of dance. Of waltzing with the winds. Of the less enchanted children.
There was to be a year.
I lost a very important chapter of our tale. It was almost like losing the sweetest year of all lives. And long after I’ve closed this tale with this letter, a reader will stumble onto a chapter lying somewhere on the sands. The staircase. The place where the road bends. In a dream. Trapped in a palm.
Maybe, the mirror was just another river in which you drowned amidst yourselves. Maybe, your mother caught a glimpse of you drowning in the mirror. Maybe, she’ll keep herself in the space above her head. Maybe, I’ll keep the sea. Maybe, you’ll know your last thought. Maybe, we’ll all become insects and eat through each other.
Dear girl, will a publisher buy you?
Labels: death, dreams, fiction, flash fiction, love, mirror, short story, story, surreal