Unspoken Words, Part 02

She found him a few days later. Deep sleep was never her forte, and quite often she’d spend the nights being enslaved to books. She loved to read, the one thing that never seemed mundane to her – because two books were never the same. That night, on her way home from office, she was reading Kafka. The eccentricities of the stories were bewitching, often casting a veil between her and her surroundings, only to be bothered by the jerks of the car whenever it hit a bump.

She looked outside. There was a small patch of lightless area between the main road and her home, a sort of no man’s land between the bright yellow halogens of the main road and the soft white lamps adoring both sides of the gates to the complex. She often ignored this strip of hollowness between two different worlds, but that night Kafka was holding her mind.

There was so much beauty even in darkness.

Telling the driver to park the car, she stood there, watching the little place. The security guard saw her, but couldn’t comprehend what she was so intently looking at. After a while, blabbering to his younger colleague some of his amusement, he concluded that this young madam was suffering from pain. His old eyes had seen many a victim of depression.

Her cell phone rang. Broken out of her reverie, she followed the gaze of the old chaukidaar immediately, and in an embarrassment-filled voice, said that she was watching a cat trying to catch a mouse. “So you were”, replied the old man, and gave hear a pale smile.

She couldn’t sleep that night. After finishing the book, she stared on the wall for a long time. The paper pigeons, the twinkling lights on the strings – they seemed to carve in borders. There was darkness which the light tried to control, like the shepherd dog.

In the diary, she lazily wrote – “I find myself crying/ not because I once loved you, and/we’ve drifted apart, but/ I had shed tears one night for you/ only to find you seeking the light/ which carved another shadow on the wall”-and she threw the diary back on the chair. Her visions were getting blurry. She hated this part. S was a memory, a distant past. She was over him.

Didn’t she remember? He had betrayed her, she had seen them together. Kissing. Cuddling.

“What the hell” She uttered looking at a bottle of Vodka, half-filled, in the fridge, “This is better than water any day!”

Back to balcony she was, sipping her darkness from the glass, wiping her tears in between.

“So you’re at it again” His voice caught her off-guard. She saw him, sitting cross legged on their cane chair. The vodka spilled a little on the floor, before she controlled herself.

“How” She quivered, “How in the hell did you get here?”

She was expecting the worst.

“Through the vineyard” he gestured, towards the wall, the pipes on them running like networks, and then chuckled, “Not really!”

“I’m not really comfortable” she returned words, “Have you been stalking me?” He barely paid heed to her questions, and walked towards the railing.

“So many faces in this city, don’t you think? All of them running, doing things they don’t really like – loving someone and living with someone else, longing for something else and working in something else”

“So much sadness, it’s overwhelming!”  He looked at her, “Don’t you think?”

“Who are you?” She looked at him with curiosity.

“I’m…just one of those faces” He said, “Just a lost soul”

“So you’re a ghost?” Her mind was getting numb.

“Look at yourself and ask” He came forward, and touched her hand. It was cold.

“Are you alive?”

She woke up on her bed, with the diary open beside her. There was a little note in it.

“I never realized I could bridge the gap between the living and the dead, but last night I did. Death is not really for the faint hearted, and accepting it is even harder. You are confused, but so was I – trust me, I’ve been there where you are now, with a burnt heart.

P.S. I just wrote a bunch of crap in your diary. Tear up those pages.

P.P.S. I also read your diary. Sorry for that. Sorry for what happened between you and S.”

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She sat there, trying to eke out a reaction. But there was nothing.

She bumped into S on that bookstore that very day. It was awkward. He tried to talk to her; they even went to the same coffee shop. But she couldn’t. There was something inside her that won’t let her. She had rushed out of the café, leaving him there, and while the setting sun had glistened her tears a gleaming orange, she curled inside the cab seat so that no one could see her so helpless. Everyone was looking stupid, hawkers, couples, leering stalkers, busy commuters. Everything looked meaningless, blasé, concocted. She waited for the balcony guy to turn up that night again. He didn’t. The strange calm in her apartment made her restless. She wanted to have a drink, but her dazed mind could only manage a glass of chilled water. With that in her hand, she came back to her bed, and opened the diary, then paused a little bit, stooped towards her drawer and pulled out another stash of pages carelessly bound together by a spring clamp. They were starting to get that yellow tone, that slowly-obscured-from-memories color. Pictures carelessly stapled on the pages, faded yesteryear chores – looked like pages opened from chapters long lost, chapters filled with myriads of emotions. Their first meeting; visit to the parks; snogging in the museum; the wild first peck on the lips; the cabdriver-bamboozling smooch; the getting wet in the rain; the tete a tete on empty streets; The love she never thought she could have, and the love she wished she didn’t have, it was all there, between those sheets, carefully arranged like pages of a script.

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A drop or two was supposed to come out of her, blobs of memories blurting out of the pool of sadness, like the day she had seen these pages the last time. She was all over the place, the room filled with memories of him, drenched in smells of vodka, and her loneliness. She thought about that dreaded night again. He had changed a lot, she thought, the old beer belly was reduced to a little, hardly-noticeable lump around the waists. The unshaved, rugged look was changed to a clean-cheeks corporate ardor.

How about those eyes which she loved so much? They hardly changed, she thought. ‘Eyes hardly do.’

She should’ve asked him about Esmeralda. Were they still together? Or was she also a passenger in his voyage, like her?

“I’m sorry”.

“Hm”, she knew it was the other one. He was standing near the edge of the door and the balcony, wearing a tee which read ‘Evergreen’. She smirked at that word. Beyond death there was no time, no age, nothing. The word fit him like a glove.

“That won’t help” he pointed at the empty glass, and then the stack of pages “And those won’t either.”

“What do you know?” She murmured, and then spoke a little louder, “What tells you that I need help?”

He looked at her straight. “Don’t you?” he said, and came inside the room. The pale yellow glow of the twinkling lights fell on his face. She felt the sorrow the eyes were emanating. There was something eerily similar.

“Do you know why I jumped?”

“No” she replied. She didn’t want to know. Or maybe she knew already.

 (to be continued)

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