Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why?

“ … Why, is such an inconsequential question! Why would a parent do something like this? Why do bad things happen? Why are children across the globe being mistreated? You want me to make a list of Whys? It would run so long, it could guarantee a draught hit continent as life-time supply of toilet rolls!” He took a much-needed pause. He looked down into his folded hands, shook his head to erase the troubled frown creasing his handsome forehead, took in a deep breath as if breathing in fresh thoughts and continued, “This is not another movie, aiming to shred block-buster charts. It is a movie which will rip your soul from your body, slam it around till it’s battered, and shove it right where it belongs. So if you are not looking for that moment, which will turn your life upside down, if you are not looking for that moment, beyond which life can never be the same again, then you had better sit at home and twiddle your fingers across the remote control, flicking through brainless emotions, which register but don’t matter.”

“Papa!” Kayla said pointing one finger at the screen and cuddling closer to her. She smiled at her nine year old daughter and kissed her mop of unruly black hair. “Yes, sweetheart, Papa!” she assured.

She pulled her daughter on to her lap and shifted focus back to the screen. Joshua had been very passionately involved in the making of this film. It was a film about a small girl, who tries to escape from her abusive father and how society and circumstances keep pushing her back to him. When he had told her the script, she had cried. She had tiptoed to Kayla’s room and kissed her fragile sleeping form. The world was a brutal place to bring the child in.

“Who is she?” Kayla asked pointing to the star kid of the film.

“She is acting in Papa’s film,” she explained to her daughter.

“Do you think she is pretty?” Kayla asked a small frown appearing on her baby forehead.

She laughed, “Yes, I think she is very pretty! But not as pretty as you!”

“Does daddy find her pretty?” She asked looking straight into her eyes. She senses the jealousy underlying this question of her nine-year old. She smiled worriedly. She had heard daughters being possessive about their fathers. But something about the way Kayla asked the question, was making her very uncomfortable.

“I don’t know,” she said, “Maybe you can ask Papa when he comes back?”

This seemed to satisfy Kayla for the moment. She leaned back into her and continued watching the interview. She switched off the television and told Kayla it was time for bed. After tucking her neatly in, she kissed her goodnight.

“Will Papa come to kiss me goodnight?” Kayla asked as she made to leave.

“Of course, sweetheart he will!” she answered as she moved to turn off the light.
“Mommy…” she asked hesitantly, “does Papa kiss you goodnight too?”

She laughed and hugged her daughter to her. “Sometimes,” she answered as honestly as she could.

“Do you like it?” Kayla asked.

She frowned and pulled back and looked questioningly at Kayla. Kayla snuggled under her blanket and pulled her bunny close to her in a tight hug.

“I sometimes don’t like it when he kisses me goodnight,” she whispered. “It hurts.”

With her heart thudding like an avalanche coursing through it, she ran a gentle finger down her daughter’s cheek, “What hurts, honey?”

Kayla said nothing for a moment. Then as if making up her mind, she peeled off the blanket and raised her night shirt to reveal a redness between her thighs.

She stopped breathing. Her eyes welled with tears, but she did not dare to think. “What happened baby?” she asked as she ran a soothing hand over the sore spot.

“When Papa comes to kiss goodnight, he hurts me, he says it’s all a part of the goodnight kiss. He told me at first it hurts, but later on you get used to it. “ Kayla said self-consciously pulling her night shirt down.

She clasped one hand to her mouth. She didn’t want to sob in front of Kayla. She tucked the blanket around Kayla, willing the tears back into her eyes.

“It’s ok baby,” she whispered, “Papa wont kiss you goodnight after tonight. He wont hurt you.”

“Promise?” she asked innocently pulling her bunny close to her once again.

“Promise!” She whispered brokenly.

She turned off the lights and headed downstairs. She heard his car as it rumbled up the driveway. She walked into the living room.

He saw her sitting by the fireplace, waiting his arrival. It had been a terrific interview! The audience was waiting for their hearts to weep. His performance had moved even a couple of the journalists to tears! Now that was acting.

He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. She had been crying too.

“Was it the interview?” he asked. She nodded. He knew it had been a terrific interview.

“Kayla slept?” he asked pouring himself some whiskey from the decanter.

She nodded again. He gulped his drink in one swig and poured out some more.

“The movie is going to be a roaring success!” he told her with glee. “the audience is hugging their children closer to them, to scared to trust their own partners! That’s the power of flawless acting. Mistrust has crept into every relation…”

He cleared his throat, something was irritating him. The room began to spin in front of his eyes. He shook his head to clear it. Was he going too fast with the drinks? He coughed and sputtered some blood. He looked at her for help.

She remained seated by the fireplace staring at him. He began to grasp for air. She remain unmoved. Through the thickening haze, he saw with startling clarity that she had poisoned his drink.

As he cluttered to the floor all he managed to get past his lips was a choked… “Why?”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coffee

She put the book down on her lap and leaned he forehead against the cool rain-washed window. Rivulets of crystal blue water criss-crossed on the glassy panes, forming a million dreamy patterns. She pulled the baby blue blanket further up and tucked it below her chin. Rains, she thought, were incomplete without coffee. As if reading her thoughts, a rain-mixed coffee smell drifted to her nostrils. She smiled. She remembered a conversation etched long ago in the golden folds of unforgettable memories.

He was sitting facing her, fidgeting with the paper napkins on the table. She watched his tanned hands strike a contrast against the snowy white tissues. She watched his strong fingers first fold, then unfold those tissues. Was he nervous? She wondered. Or maybe he found her boring enough to kill time folding tissues…

The waiter arrived with their coffees. She watched the frothy bubbles of her latte pop soundlessly in the white barista cup. She leaned in a bit closer and smelled the coffee and wriggled her nose.

“I take it, you don’t like the barista coffee much,” he said amusement lurking in his brown-black eyes.

“No! Its not that!” she hastened to assure him, lest he terminate this date prematurely.

He smiled and raised on brow in question. Oh he could simply melt her insides with the simplest of gestures, couldn’t he?

She sighed and confessed, “Its more like the on-the-move coffee, you know.. something you pick up in a hurry to get the caffeine kick?”

“Ok,” he said at length, clearly lost with her explanation. “And you don’t drink coffee for the caffeine kick?”

“Not always….” She admitted. “You see there are moments which demand the savory-coffee. You know? Moments like these? When you want everything to be just perfect! The perfect moment, the perfect atmosphere, the perfect guy on a perfect date..” she blushed feeling hot at being so blatant.

He smiled, blushing a little himself.

“You see?” she continued with her explanations, “moments like these deserve the perfect coffee. The perfect blend, which makes you go mmmmmm in response. The perfect proportions… unfortunately, you must make the perfect coffee yourself…”

She smiled at the memory as she watched the rain. This was one of those perfect moments which oh-so called for the perfect coffee. But she didn’t want to get up and make some herself.

“Coffee?” he said as he handed over a mug brimming with the hot beverage.

Startled, she looked up at him and smiled. She folded her hands around the coffee mug, drinking in its warmth and sniffed the wafting vapors.

mmmmmmm…. Perfect!

He lifted the book off her lap, tucked the blanket beneath her feet and sat himself opposite her. Together they stared out at the rains.

mmmmmmmm… Perfect!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

lonesome tonight

It wasn’t yet night, nor did it have the lustrous charm of a sensuous evening. It was that time of the day when you feel at odds with yourself. Afloat in the vast confusions of complex relationships, you desperately search for an anchor. He hated this time of the day. He hated being alone.

He sighed and threw his head back. People always told him solutions were always directly proportional to the complexity of the problem. It is just that blinded by trouble on tends to lose focus and the solution blurs out. He loosened his tie and leaned his elbows on his knees. He watched the lush green carpet run in deep green lines under the bed. Why does one feel lonely?
He should just pick up the phone and dial a couple of numbers. In no time he would be heading out to a spirit enriched late night fiasco. But he did not want to go. He just wanted to sit here and feel lonely. He rubbed his temples with his fingers.

“Hey,” she whispered, “Long day huh?” She sat on the bed beside him and draped her arms around his neck. He smiled at her. She smiled back and rested her head on his shoulder.

Why did he never hear her arrive? It was almost as if she always tiptoed on him, sneaking upon him, surprising him, spying on his private thoughts. He wanted to undo her clasp on his neck and put some distance between their bodies. He watched her slender thighs, snug in her denims touching his trouser clad one. At one point, this sight would have led to different thoughts and a totally different outcome. Now he just felt repulsed.

What had changed?

Had he?

Had she?

“Coffee?” She asked sitting up straight and stretching her slender frame.

“Sure!” he said grasping the first excuse to put some distance between them.

“Great! So you make some while I freshen up a bit, “ she said as she rose. She took two steps away from him, stopped and looked back. Then she threw her head back and laughed. Once upon a time he would want to sell himself to be able to keep that laugh there forever. Today he just wanted her to shut up.

She walked back to him, snuggled on his lap and kissed his nose. “Kidding! Why don’t you freshen up while I get the coffee going?”

He looked at her and nodded. This was the loving domesticity he had craved for all his life. All his life he had wanted to come home to love. Yet now when his dream was staring him in his face, all he felt was… empty.

She kissed his nose once again. He wriggled it, as if trying to shake her kiss away. She giggled at the gesture and the slid of his lap. He breathed a little easier. He watched her retreating back and then made an attempt to get off the bed himself.

His cell phone buzzed. He looked at and looked at the door through which his wife had just disappeared. He answered the phone. He smiled. It was her.

“Miss you,” she said.

“Hmmm”

“Why cant you come home to me?” she asked

“Hmmm” he replied

“I am wearing only a red tie,” she teased. He smiled wider.

“Do you want some sandwich to go with the coffee” his wife’s muffled question floated in through the door.

Before he could answer, she whispered through the earpiece, “Bunk the coffee and sandwiches you can have champagne and me instead.”

“Hullo?” His wife called out again.

“Sandwich is fine!” he screamed back irritated.

“Why don’t I call you back in a bit?” he whispered into the phone.

“Sure,” she said, “enjoy the coffee.”

He hung up and stared at the phone. He had no idea how long he had been staring. His reverie was interrupted by his wife. She was sneaking on him again.

Lonely. That’s how he felt right now. Very very lonely.