Jay’s Cess


I heard the slow rumble of many songs rising from beneath. It built to a chorus of screeching tyres; a crescendo of marble glass breaking. There was a mirror directly across the room. I flinched at what I saw. My face had contorted into a contemptible frown; and no matter how wide I stretched my skin with my palm, it wouldn’t snap back.

At first I was relieved when it stopped; the silence was so abrupt it unsettled me. Then the silence ate its way into my skin. It was as if Luciano’s give my love a try was being stenciled in a labyrinth into my cochlea.

Darkness. Smoke. Mirrors

There were too many things happening at the same time; and then there was nothing happening. They looked like me yet they looked strange. Their fabric of existence was surreal, I wasn’t sure if I was in my head…or not.

They moved into new positions to create a pathway. They moved as if they were counting each step. I waited for someone to come through the closed door, but no one did and my eyes were getting heavier. I closed my eyes for a second. When I fluttered them open she stood in the middle of the room. A beautiful she.

There was an aura about her. I could hear soft whispers teasing me not to touch her. How do you tease against a thing? How do you beckon me to leave? My mind was slipping…

She had on a coffee brown robe that looked like it would fall off any minute. And it did. The panties she had on was a thin strip at the back and fully covered her at the front. She didn’t need a banner to tell me she knew how to perfectly balance the good and the bad.

She wasn’t talking, but they were listening. She had a look; as if to say ‘I only need you to be an audience.’ Nothing else.

And that’s all she needed.

Her eyes fell on mine. That’s when I say the multitude of hearts she’d pegged on her sleeve.

There was another like her. Just like her. Only, she had a peach robe. They were sisters. They had been fighting for 2 millenniums over a king who bathed thrice a day. His name was Jay. And his bath water could cleanse all filth. The only way to get to him was to dip one’s soul in his bathing tub. They called it Jay’s Cess.  The sisters had been fighting over who ought to dip her soul in Jay’s Cess. Only one soul could.

A space existed between the door left ajar and the sudden door slam. A gap small enough for me to fit through. I needed to see Jay’s Cess.

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Tag of heart


There’s something swift about the way savannah holds my tongue, lingering behind the semblance of an uncertain bitterness that cools beneath ice cubes; ice cubes that tickle knowingly as they melt down my throat.

The edge of my front teeth hurt and I smile for no particular reason.

 

He smiles at me.

The gesture reminds me of his impermanence and it hurts to swallow.

“What intrigues you?” I hold him with a stare that I hope translates into little thorns of anger.

“You”, he says with a chuckle. “Your eyes are following my every move and I can see your soul begging them not to.”

I laugh. And immediately regret for not laughing hard enough.  I smirk and nuzzle my glass like it’s a smooth butt cheek

He moves out of the darkness into the light. He sits on a low chair and looks away as if I weren’t in the room. I want to call him out on his failure to make me feel less important, but I can’t; because I feel invisible.

She walks into the room and he pats the seat beside him. She responds with a smile and slides into her seat.

 

I can see her nibbling his ear lobe; he has an indescribable look on his face, as if he’s torn between expressing pleasure and pain. I cough a little.

As a reminder you know? Maybe he’s forgotten I’m still there. He cares for my feelings.

He does, doesn’t he?

He looks up with a look of guilt and brushes her away…but it takes just a few minutes for him to be drawn back into her. She’s biting his lower lip now, and her hand is lost in his bulge.

Feelings of self-worth ripple through my body, there’s a turmoil only I can feel.

 

I open my eyes, and she’s just whispering….

 

Halfway through..


I think about the things I want to achieve before I die, the places I want to go, who I want to be before I die, but barely how I’m going to die. I imagine being old and wrinkled and happy, with pictures of my children and grandchildren beautifully framed by my bedside or tucked safely in a beautiful purse given to me by my oldest grandchild; and dying peacefully in my sleep.

When I was 16, after a continual bout of disappointment, I had written a letter to the maker of the New Year, complaining about how stale the supposed New Year was and how the only new thing was my beautiful niece, who cried louder than the bells of the Catholic Church have ever sounded.
After several days of waiting in vain for a well- muscled postman with illuminating wings to deliver the letter, I gave up on making New Year resolutions. Years down the drain, to appease my maturity gods, I make a list after 5 years.

How far doth the wind blow?
How high doth my voice go?
How fair has thy maiden fared?

Dreams

It had been an overwhelming month. Starting up the ladder felt like stepping into an overcrowded bus, everything seemed impersonal, no one was concerned whether I got a good seat or no seat, or if I had something firm to hold on to through the ride.

I longed for familiarity, I searched hard, and whenever a known face came in sight it faded away before my smile could reach my eyes. That was hard for me to accept. I gave up my seat for another, why couldn’t they hold my purse while I stood?

Family

Mother and I fought over everything. From the food I ate, the kind of boy I had to marry, the type of panties she did not want to see me in, to my unkempt hair. But God! How I love her! I remember one dawn, delirious from pain and entertaining thoughts of death. She lay with me and cradled me to sleep, singing softly to me as if I were 8 instead of 18.

Fast forward. She lay unconscious, as I dribble ‘I love you’ on her skin. Dying inside of me, wondering if I had been the perfect child, longing for her cheerful self for just one minute, so I could tell her I will strive to be who she wants me to be

I miss us ten years ago. I miss being a closely knit family and fighting with my brother across the hallway

And just when I feel like we’ve each detached ourselves from this big quilt, they somehow manage to wrap it tighter around me

 

 

Friends, love and tomorrow

I heard about her death in a bus home. And the pain I felt, clutching my phone hoping someone else would call and say it was a joke. Questions running through my mind, what ifs and whys

I remember the look of surprise I had when she had a baby, thinking to myself how I hadn’t even kissed a boy yet but she had gone ahead and had a baby. Never once thinking of what she must be going through. If remorse could reverse things, I would wear a case ash cloth. We never appreciate the people around us till they’re no more.

I was learning that even though we kept our heart’s door open, not everyone wanted it ajar. Sometimes we become so compact around other people; you are a fully laid out bed, but your potential could be compressed into a mat, and we become useful for only the things we need off of each other, fitting into a list of other people we know, in a hierarchy of value we’re not even aware we are auditioning for.

So we remain stuck in role playing and we continue to play it till the curtains fall down.

I need you for 13 months, 3 days and 2 hours

Take the cue baby, take the cue…

 

I’m learning not to let rejections and disappointments forge my personality, and just because I’m not inclusive in the decisions of the people I love, make them any less lovable.

And for today, just for today, my life is an incomplete proverb.

It’s only halfway through, but it still makes sense