Long-forgotten line, a sad love story
Long-forgotten line, a sad love story
Part -one (Sunlight and Ransacking)
The sunlight is profusing liberally through the ungrudging bars of the rusty, oxidized window. Mithila stares with her old opaque eyes at the brazen dazzling spikes on her open book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, worn out after several re-reading. It stirs her memory to something, or someone, blurry but tangible. Her heart pounds in a desperate attempt to recall the name, so intricately carved in her soul.
She closes her eyes and opens- a face, no, not a face, but a part of it, twist of lips, arrogantly amusing in a controlled smile, from the bush of dense beard and mustache and the eyes searching deep, hit her tarnished memory. “That’s it”, she exclaims, like a child at the success of recalling the long-forgotten lines of rhyme. That smile matches the sunlight, spreading over beautifully like an ancient symbol of excavated civilization, magical and mystic.
It was a long time, three decades, and more. Now Mithila is 65 and all alone. Nitesh, her husband died five years ago. Mainak, and Manisha her son, and daughter, are happily settled in their cities, in their own families. They call her once or twice a week, and that she feels enough for an old woman, waiting for death, in the custody of a belligerent maid.
Part- two (Down memory lane)
She met him on her blog, “Drafts of Sadness”. He was an avid reader of her poetry and a confidant of her tryst to explore the riddle of the literary labyrinth. And she could not think back how he broke the ice of detached aloofness, and the cloak of self-abrogation from her, with his exclusive patience and simplicity of behaviour.
He made her feel the emotions, the loves, written in the pages of books, and in real life intertwining them in a magic piquancy. She never propped to his appropriateness, but she felt what he just wanted her to feel or pretended to be.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way than this: where I do not exist, nor you,
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” (Xvii, I do not love you by Pablo Neruda)
“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”(Every Day You Play).
He used to quote Pablo Neruda with all its sultry sensuality, and poetic emblem, wafting her deep, like a feather, lost and light. Her songs, her slices of solitude got intoned in his assurances, in his longing for her company- “I love to talk to you; I feel comfortable with you; I like you so much.” Oh! How these words ramble through her trafficked memory even now, twitching her lips in a suppressed smile!
He was so eager to know what she was doing, what she was reading, why she was sniffing, if she was taking medicine or not, and he wanted to see her desperately. Everything was fine till the day she disclosed the truth just casually, “My husband is at home today, so we will talk tomorrow. Just keep on reading The Book Thief. You may feel a little bored at first but it will be worth it later.” At that moment she could not apprehend his flinching back in shock or disappointment through the safety sojourn of virtual media where only his voice can be heard. But very soon she felt the flakes of frosty formality in him, burying the warmth of their relationship. And the detachment of his behaviour was more deadly than anything else in her life. She took him as one who could be with her just as she wished him to be as her book lover, her soul mate, unblemished from any earthly atrocity, purely eternal. But she never thought that her heart would be at stake in this way, in a constant fire, in piercing pain, and in …desires. His words, and songs, so simple, so earthly, so loving and caring like old books, yellowish and smelling of affection, kept haunting her, slashing her in deep bruises. A single simple message from him could do the magic, could wash away all the anger and hurt heaped in her weak rib bone, just a “hi” or “how are you” Or “which book you are reading now?” Yeah, the last one would be the best. But nothing happened. She just waited and waited in perturbed silence to watch him vanish.
Her husband started accusing her of her absentmindedness, her son’s homework got neglected, her in-law’s medicines skipped, and she waned away. What she could do now? She was prepared for his departure any day, any time, but not like this. That would be a great leave-taking proclaiming mutual love, and respect and with the promise to keep the memory in heart, not in this frantic abrupt way mitigating all those dreams we piled, in debris, and mutilating her in a dead body. There was no need to prove her wrong in that way.
After one month when she erased him from the screen memory, she felt “it is the time to kill him” from her brain-ROM. She started writing her story, the story of a virtual love that got betrayed and assaulted. It took a week to finish and edit it, giving a perfect shape. She was happy at her creation, a beautiful short story ready to be published in her blog from where it was born.
And in her heart, she felt he was no more. Her hatred, her abhorrence, her pity could murder her blind feelings at last. But then why did the sunlight remind her of him after a long year?
Hey, I am Munmun, the phoenix fabulist who wants to tell you stories. I love to read stories and I love to weave stories. I feel life is an amalgamation of multiple stories, colourful threads, and threads of pain, pleasure, hope, and hopelessness. We just need to pick those hues and arrange them, knitting them with our own emotions and perception. So let’s celebrate the stories of life.