Sunday, 12 January 2014

Trembling hands.

We sat next to each other on his bed. The room was faintly lit by the light that floated in from outside his window. The dense, shadowy orange hue softly outlined this face. Street lights in the bedroom.  This city really never sleeps, I thought to myself distractedly. I tried looking at his mouth wording the sentences but the darkness had almost swallowed him whole. Instead I focused on the outline of warm light bouncing off the edge of his jaw. I want to remember this, I remember thinking then.  

She sat next to me that evening. We were alone and the house sounded eerily quiet, pregnant with uncertainty of things left unsaid. Maybe the quiet was because some strange forces haunting the house knew of impending storm. Maybe it was because the ones who usually raised their voices had left for the night, leaving me behind. Maybe because it was her and me again. Her and me after all this time. Maybe.  
Why did I call her here? And why didn't she refuse? If this is supposed to lead nowhere why are we here? 

He was unusually talkative that evening. 
He spoke about the last time we met, college pressures, work, the last girl he slept with and what went wrong between them, the wedding his family had left to attend that evening, his friends. It was strange to see him like that.  In the facade of buoyancy he had put up. 
He just kept his head angled straight ahead and went on talking. I was worried, but I didn't say anything. I was afraid I'd rupture the thin bond that his words had manifested into. Curling around the two of us, binding us together. So I let him go on, we had nothing better to do other than talk anyway. But I couldn't help notice his sentences were strangely random. Scattered. There was no visible sequence threading his thoughts together. His eyes constantly kept combing the dimly lit room as if to reassure himself everything was the same as it was the last time he checked. He tapped his feet incessantly on the floor. He repeatedly kept running his fingers through his hair.  
Should I have been worried? But what could I have said? I'd forgotten how to speak to him. 
Suddenly, he sighed, shuddered slightly and then sat absolutely still. As if something in him, something small, valuable and delicate, something that had kept him alive all this while had just fallen off the edge and broken. His eyes stopped roaming. His feet stopped tapping. He lowered his gaze from a random spot on the wall straight ahead down to his hands resting on his lap.

His mouth stopped talking. 

She directed my trembling hands away from my lap cradled them in her own. I looked at her, surprised by the gentle reassuring gesture. Did I even deserve it? I shifted slightly and looked at her. At first, she herself looked taken aback by the boldness displayed by her hands. 
She looked at them as if they were a detached entity with an entirely separate and functioning brain. One that ordered her hands to envelope mine within themselves. Slowly, she tore her eyes away from our hands and looked up at me while tilting her head softly to one side, her eyes crinkled as they examined mine as if trying to fit in a stray piece in jigsaw puzzle. Her eyes searched my face as if she were trying to remember an ancient, half-forgotten memory and my face was the only catalyst which would help her siphon the memory out of the murky recesses of her mind.  
All at once, something burst inside me. Something vivid and clear yet indescribable, something desperately urgent. Everything around me began to assault my senses: The painful heaving creak of the fan above our heads, the smell of dinner laid out hastily on the kitchen table, the faraway groan of the elevator shuttling up and down the length of the building. I looked at the delicate face opposite mine. I cupped her chin, leaned in, and kissed her.

I checked myself in the mirror. My face looked flushed, hair askew, breath heavy; irregular. I closed my eyes as I turned open the tap and splashed the cold water that poured out over my face.    

I felt the icy water hit my skin. I felt the droplets racing down my face.  
I felt his touch burn my skin. I felt his heavy breath on my neck. 

But that was all I felt. 

With my eyes still closed, I shut the tap, took a deep breath in, fought the images of what just happened from my head and opened my eyes languidly. I chuckled to myself for no particular reason. I felt a senseless urge to laugh out loud build up inside me. The impulse suddenly became paramount. I doubled over, sat on the washroom floor and shook in silent laughter. 
 It's over, it's all over. There's nothing left. Tonight, I had you, you had me but what did we really give each other? For the longest time I thought I loved you. But do I? I got up, still hiccupping silent bursts of laughter. I read the names of the shampoos lying on the counter by the wash basin as I toweled my hands dry. Right before exiting, I glanced at the mirror again, frowned at a developing redness on my neck.  Should've been more careful, I thought while my trembling fingers lightly lingered over the bruise under my ear. 
Quietly, I stepped out of his washroom, made sure he was still in the kitchen, slung my bag over my shoulder and slipped out of his house soundlessly.   

She left. 
I heard her open the washroom door and slip out. I heard the main door in the hall slide shut.
Why didn't I stop her?
I looked down at the two (now) useless cups of coffee I was in the process of making. I poured one down the drain and picked the other one up. Her cup. Sipping the concoction I walked up to the window overlooking the road, and saw her exiting the building premises. My head began to hurt. I slumped down on a nearby chair and buried my head in my hands. 
We'll figure this out later.   

All we had is over. 
And all that was left was a semicircle of teeth-marks on a honey colored neck.


Raj Chawla said...

Hi! Remember me? No? Ok.
So glad you're back mate (Again)!
(Also, really glad that I get more mails about you updating your blog :P).
About the post, as usual, stellar stuff. But is this a collab piece or is it all you?
Really really beautiful and kinda heartbreaking (in a good way) nonetheless ;)
KIT and keep writing!

snehalsblogofeverything said...

You have a way with words. I love the way you constructed this story. It kept me hooked till the end.

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