Interlude

>> Sunday, August 19, 2007

The lawn was basking in last evening rays, which gave everything a warm glow. The speaker was largely unaffected but when she arrived, almost an hour late, there was a minor stir in the small gathering. She was bright and statuesque, all flashing in a shimmering pink sari, and she was alone. She seated herself so nimbly that the wooden chair emitted hardly a creek. However, she lost interest in the speech soon and looked around. The smallish garden sheltered from the sun, tended meticulously, was flowering, though outside the leaves were wilting and falling.

He was observing her with a twinge of desire, from a distance where she appeared unattainable. Scarcely, one is able to see that precise moment when fact becomes faith and people start to bend their finest loyalties to make themselves bemused custodians of the grave. He saw that moment now, in the profile of that woman, and he knew there was no time to lose. Her restless pupils, after a quick survey of the place, rested on him. They were suffused with such an ineffable sorrow at the unbridgeable chasm between them, that he looked away. He struggled with his impulses for a while but when he gathered the courage to hold her gaze she had shifted her attention to a young man, who was conversing with her solemnly. It was in her nature to be in love with someone, she had once described it as a disease. He was annoyed for being jealous and evaded her eyes.

Tardily, the torturous speech ended, they started serving refreshments and the group dispersed in scattered clutters. She was talking to the same man when he walked towards her and offered a faint hello. She turned and yet again he was crawling into a quagmire. Her black eyes reflected mockery and abnegation of one who had broken with everything and everybody. He could not leave without a last confession of his sins and prepared himself to face her. Her companion bid good-bye and joined other people who were promenading in the garden. He proposed a walk and she assented with the sweet serenity, which never failed her. It was useless to hide behind pleasantries and he decided to hit the spot, instantly.

They walked side by side as if they might have been accepted in the ark.
"I came here, only because I knew you would come." He was speaking out of a deepening despair, floundering. She wasn’t surprised, or if she was, she skillfully concealed it. All the wrong, hurt years of her affliction were proof against the miracle that she construed.


"I didn’t know you’ll be here. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about you." She replied flatly with a curious air of pride. Sad thoughts, yearning and longings had taken a flight but somewhere there was a spot too sore to bear even the lightest touch.

He was convinced that there was a wall clear as glass between them and if they should fling themselves through it, it would smash and let them through. They had been hurtling past each other and he had made up his mind to exert the final blow.
"I'd thought if I ever saw you again, you’ll have a lot to say. That is why, I wanted to see you.. at least once." He murmured with no trace of shock in his sonorous voice and an intense look of interest in his usually dreamy eyes.


She considered that for some time. Once, she did intend to say a lot but without his angry looks and caustic comments he seemed less interesting and she was a tad disappointed. No man had ever attracted her at first. She always undertook a slow process with them, of erasing the first impression, or at least overcoming and correcting it. Behind the outer façade there was another façade which she usually liked. The man who stood before her now had shed both façades and she tried to hasten her evaluation, to strip away with all layers and catch a glimpse of his current motive.

"I’m sorry, but there will be no crying out, no vain appeal to the past, if that is what you had been expecting." She said quickly and the words lashed him with their irony, things staring at him vacantly from the depths of their mutual past.

"Why do you say that? I owe an apology though I assure you I never forgot you, not even for a day.. a moment.." He stammered and she sensed a rush of moisture in her lashes, a familiar wave of weakness in her heart. Popular sentiment had it that relationships ought to be between equals, but she had never known an equal in love. It was always somebody feeling more than the other, somebody protecting, somebody requiring safe harbor or permission or simple compliance.

"Assure? Did I seek assurance?" She said and simultaneously made a gesture to leave.

"Wait, don’t misunderstand me. I meant to come back, you know that. Why did you stop writing me?" They had exchanged notes regularly, passionately first but slowly their correspondence had become impersonal like news articles. He’d continued to write, perhaps to minimize his dull sense of guilt. He was secretly thankful that she had ceased replying his perfunctory letters, written with indifference.


"This is ridiculous. You had gone away and do you remember seven years have passed since then and I kept hearing about your relationships." Luminous drops of tears fell from her eyes, as she talked. Under the fluorescent lights, he thought, they magnified her eyes into immense pearls. She had dropped the mask of her light-hearted courage. It seemed that she had preserved with dogged, indomitable resolution and little hope. His eyes lit up in the radiance of fresh anticipation. The fact that he had never heard about ‘her’ relationships fluttered his dazed imaginations.

He could see she had changed but she was one of the women in whom altering years show what they had imparted and not what they had taken away. A closer look revealed that what they had assumed must have been estimable of its kind. Yes, indeed seven years had passed and he had had his share of adventure but each time he had returned to her memories, chagrined and grateful, surrendering to them, acknowledging their absolute. Those episodes had merely sullied the surface, never reached his heart and he wanted her to know that he was back, rededicated and more certain.

"Everyone learns sooner or later about loss. The absence of a presence can crush the strongest people." He drawled, sanguine deep down, that the whole creation had ground and wound itself down through the vistas of eternity to bring the two of them face to face for reconciliation.

She stood still for a moment; incredulity and hurt written all over face. There was something intensely personal and moving about her loss and the pathos of her suffering seemed to come from deep inside her slender body.
"When you love, you entrust to that person your sense of worth and if that person throws you aside, you believe profoundly that it is because you are worthless. That is a kind of death." Her words stripped him of every defense and once again he descended to the very pit of his sorrow.

There was a rustle of leaves under their feet and the smell of them, all sad, autumn-like but a scythe of moon was just appearing over the trees. The palpitations of her heart were unknowable finally, they would remain forever mysterious. He drew in the evening with a sigh and implored .. "Only if you’ll let me explain…"


Something in his voice suggested a blend of fresh grief and psychosis, which reminded her of that year when she had fallen in love with the comfort of their togetherness. A permanent relationship and same vague gush of adjectives. They contained a shred of truth, though wrapped round on impenetrable lies. His name had hung about her like a chord that continues to vibrate. All romantic moments are associated willy-nilly even if some are long dead.

"You don’t need to explain. I understand…" Her contralto voice had a rich thrill into it as she paused for few seconds. She knew that when with him, it would always be 'the past' that would occupy them. It would always be there, huge, obstructing, constrictive, and more plethoric than anything the future could ever conjure up. She wondered if beyond what they had already discovered lay more spectacular regions, waiting to be explored.

"No mater how great a love may be there comes a crisis that is just as much an enigma as love itself. You still love each other, but you have to part, or a new person comes along and introduces a new approach." She completed the sentence without any emotion, shrugged, and walked away.

22 comments:

Alok August 19, 2007 at 9:58 AM  

needless to say loved the piece ...

few lines that leaves a mark for me ...

"Scarcely, one is able to see that precise moment when fact becomes faith and people start to bend their finest loyalties to make themselves bemused custodians of the grave

"It was in her nature to be in love with someone, she had once described it as a disease.

"All the wrong, hurt years of her affliction were proof against the miracle that she construed.

btw, its one of ur pieces that has the simplest construction :)

very nicely done!!

alok

Nash August 19, 2007 at 12:42 PM  

I loved the complexity of this simple tale. You know what I mean? This is very real and associable. As usual the sentences are visual and wonderful wonderful wonderful.
Too many of 'em to cite.

Alok August 19, 2007 at 5:26 PM  

Aria, read it again today morning and the feelings emoted are precisely the same ...

I think tht's the beauty of the way u write ....

tc

alok

PS: a cup of coffee and ur writing is a fantastic combination :)

aria August 19, 2007 at 11:23 PM  

Alok .. thank you so much for your appreciation. I wanted to write about an ordinary situation in a different or at least interesting manner. Just tried doing so .. I usually have so much to experiment with language that my stories get too long for a blog-post. I'm really glad you liked it and you read it twice .. great .. thank you again :)

Nash .. As usual, you are too generous .. :) Thanks much.

AakASH!!! August 20, 2007 at 3:44 AM  

Apart from the story, where you are at your ususal brilliance; what is really interesting is that the same story appears in two antipodal avatars to the above two readers.

The first finds it fairly simple in construction, the other the complexity. But maybe both are speaking of the same thing, with different adjectives ofcourse :)

My two pence, this is more like a play, something more suited to a live performance with minial stage props and just lighting to enhance the ambience.

As a story, it tends to be repetitive at places. Thus sometimes the mood is forced.

But overall i liked what i read.

Alok August 20, 2007 at 7:00 AM  

Aria, I am glad u understood wht I meant ... I was talking of the way u have constructed the narration which is very simple and lucid and was very evident when I read it ....

U tried to write it in a different genre and if tht is reflected in the piece then I am sure tht's the success of the story in itself ...

I agree with Akash above tht it suits very well for a play with minimal props and simple lighting ...

thanks

alok

Nash August 20, 2007 at 8:35 AM  

Majority of humans have a special knack for complicating simple things :-)

One of my favourite lines.
"All romantic moments are associated willy-nilly even if some are long dead."

It's full of your stylish sentences that can be read many times. I'm not generous, you are modest !

asuph August 20, 2007 at 10:32 AM  

Aria,

This is surprisingly simple by your usual standards. But I agree with Nash. The simplicity is deceptive.

So much to take away from it. Write more prose too... :)

asuph

vi August 20, 2007 at 8:25 PM  

wow story from you after a long time!
I had always thought you were English major, now my question is psych minor?

words conveyed the state of mind emotions of the protagonists very well!

keep them coming!

Inside our hands, outside our hearts August 20, 2007 at 8:57 PM  

This was lovely.. I loved the last lines... "No mater how great a love may be there comes a crisis that is just as much an enigma as love itself. You still love each other, but you have to part, or a new person comes along and introduces a new approach".

aria August 20, 2007 at 11:04 PM  

Aakash .. Thank you kindly, for reading. I don’t know what exactly is repetitive .. but if you say so.. could be .. as the story was laid-back kind and based only on one encounter perhaps I should have been more careful.

Alok .. Yes, I did understand what you meant. :) Originally I’d thought of telling the story only in dialogues but I just couldn’t do it on this occasion .. maybe some other time. Thanks for all your encouragement.

Nash .. “Majority of humans have a special knack for complicating simple things :-)”

That was well said & it is so true. I do that in real life but honestly .. in my writings I have never tried to be either simple or complicated. It takes its own course and I’m really glad you find them worth reading more than once. Thank you again for your generosity :D

aria August 20, 2007 at 11:17 PM  

Asuph .. Now I feel like inviting Punds over, specially for his opinion. :D
There was a time when I hardly posted poetry and now writing prose seems like a major task .. but I’ll try to correct that. Thank you. :)

Vi .. Thank you so much. I’m so glad to see you, you aren’t updating lately so I was wondering where you are.

Inside our hands .. Thank you.. :) Really nice to know, you liked it.

asuph August 20, 2007 at 11:27 PM  

but your prose has improved so much! it's like you're using your poetic skills to write prose...

yes, let it be said, that i liked your previous story a lot more.

The Hermit of Wandering Thoughts August 21, 2007 at 12:31 AM  

i love the way you contrast the inner and the outer worlds,.
,.. nothing remains to weather the erosions of time, just a few memories maybe.. and what we often perceive as destined fate is sometimes merely a co-incidence but its hard to believe in co incidences..

a nice one Aria..
cheers
z

aria August 21, 2007 at 2:06 AM  

Asuph .. It seems, the kind of energy I apply in my writing, shows everytime. The previous story was well thought, edited and all that .. & this was primarily written for "venting" :D The good thing is to know ..that you feel there is a general improvement .. Thanks ..

Zofo .. "what we often perceive as destined fate is sometimes merely a co-incidence but its hard to believe in co incidences...."
*sigh sigh* @ that .. beautifully expressed. Thank you :)
[I hope you've deleted that duplicate comment on your myspace blog. I was feeling so stupid after that :( ]

AakASH!!! August 21, 2007 at 6:26 AM  

the phrases employes to build an effect of estrangement, that coercion on the part of the writer seems repetitive.

I may be wrong.

aria August 21, 2007 at 6:41 AM  

Coercion .. I see.. You could be right .. thanks for your feedback ..

The Hermit of Wandering Thoughts August 21, 2007 at 11:56 AM  

Thanks aria,
Thats just one of the quirks of MSN Live spaces these days.. sometimes it returns 4 comments when you press enter..no worries.
cheers
z

Arthur Quiller Couch August 21, 2007 at 12:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthur Quiller Couch August 21, 2007 at 12:33 PM  

Sorry, no spika da Inglees.

What then?

Kalyan August 22, 2007 at 1:29 AM  

I simply don't know how I can really describe or analyse this story. You have crafted some real complex human emotions wonderfully in words and its very true..."No mater how great a love may be there comes a crisis that is just as much an enigma as love itself. You still love each other, but you have to part.....but I do believe...true love is pure, eternal and immortal...

aria August 22, 2007 at 3:19 AM  

Zofo .. ohh I thought so .. but then my khataara computer is much more quirky. :D

Arthur .. and you think it's english? :)

Kalyan .. "but I do believe...true love is pure, eternal and immortal..."
That's a nice thing to believe in .. I probably am looking for that kind of love too :D
Thank you for your comment.

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