Saturday, 28 June 2014


I want to tell you
A story that creeps up from behind 
And wraps its barbed wired
Treacherously around my frail neck
For years I have laughed off
The cold spidery fingers that urge me
That urge me.
During the distasteful closing notes of a popular wedding tune, she decides she would be that poet.
Of course, she had the idea scribbled in several corners of her scattered mind from the time she had known Alex. Even when they'd shown her the cellophane packets that took her to the blue mist. No, even earlier than that. Even when she was seven and wrote an amusing little rhyme about a chomping cloud.
The parents had been just that, amused. That was what she saw anyway.
I cannot say if her eyes are narrow and constricted. I cannot be sure. After all, we only see what we want to see.
She is not stupid. She is a spirited obstinate child. She is only mine to play with and criticize. So don't you judge her, when she sneaks out in mended shoes carrying a few meaningful trinkets and cellophane packet, hoping she looked like the stanza of a poem that had always played in her scattered mind.
The parents don't see yet. It is a crucial and expensive wedding.
Soon she is in on a train, it is an ugly maroon dump of of grimy men and women against grimy walls pacifying their grimier children. She is playing out her suppressed poems on the broad barred windows and a woman with intricately cracked heels is asking her why she is alone. I'm off to meet someone, she says, fascinated and terrified by the deep cracks. Next she is tracing a few small words in her notebook, about the music of the ugly train, but instead thinking about the depth of the chasms she is falling through.
She has always wanted this fall. It always chokes her to know what and when and how. She delights in the sheer uncertainty of her destination and thinks of the worried parents and the hum of the television set and crying babies at home. They shouldn't be selfish, she reasons again, the poems and the blue mist need her more than ever.
The poems play again, more gleefully.
I will plant seeds on the bleak barren mountain
And the empty clouds will give in and rain gloriously
I will break my heart to a string
Of ungrateful unfaithful lovers
I will weave in and out of misery and uproar
And tap my feet to the music in dingy taverns
They will look around and frown
And frown.
The evening darkens, and she doesn't admit it, but i know she is missing the feel of her slippers and her pink nail-color. Instead she thinks of Alex. He had come to her out of the blue mist like the perfect poem he was. He had told her she was too beautiful to waste away methodically in the stupor of a city with its dusty lanes and petty quarrels. School had been an orderly flurry of notebooks and class tests, college was a needle pricking her temple. Alex had given her the gift of the truth, a truth she had seen all along but resisted because it was surreal. But time was slipping away and chaos was evading her. She couldn't take that. Alex didnt want sex, he wanted her attention and he wanted her to come with him. He wanted the corner of her lips to crinkle. He had filled her notebooks for much longer than he had stayed.
So you see, now she fancies herself a rebel. Rebelling against everything that is real and orderly. Where is she going to? To this Alex, I think.
I know now. He is a cruel boy with an iron grip on her frail neck. Love is the most poisonous of poems. And she is in love with the dark-haired Alex and the truth she has always seen.
Her notebook feels grainy as more dust pours in and settles on the full, creamy pages. Something is not right. She inhales. Where is the ridiculous rush that was to drown her in the happiness he said she deserved? Devotedly she thinks of Alex again. His preoccupied green eyes and promises that she will find things that will move her to tears. The hint of a stubble under his firm mouth that will graze her nipples when he makes love to her.
Now I see it. Alex has pulled her into a ghostly canyon where they would dance to wild music and wash off the mundane world they were caged in. After the fall they would reach home and things would be alright.
She is a stupid girl, eyes clogged with stupid poems. I cannot rescue her. I am only a pair of eyes, judging, playing, watching with malicious relish.
She is breathing, eyes half closed, when the train stops. The woman with the cracked heels swears and spits, and it is revolting and strangely comforting. She still has her feet planted on the lackluster world she has turned her back on.
It is this comfort that she despises.
The train has stopped and they're looking for her. The parents. The police. The fear and mystery are ebbing away. The blue mist is clearing. She hasn't even written the first word of the poem.
Now I can see her, almost hesitating.  Almost doubting the truth around her frail neck. 
But there is Alex. The perfect poison. The perfect poem.The cellophane packet. She is off the train now, drugged from their reunion, perfectly happy in his arms, in his clutches. I see them now, tangled against another cold train track, the blue mist closing on them. She smiles contentedly as she feels the tracks sing with the rhythm of the approaching train.

Post a Comment