Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Wall

She woke up feeling lost. Like a reluctant little girl led astray into the alluring woods, and then abandoned abruptly.
She got up. The harsh sun, already high, was exploring the house leisurely, entering and exiting through the open windows, discovering it anew, chasing away the remnants of sleep from its drowsy corners.

He was nowhere to be seen. The tell-tale signs of his presence were missing. His side of the bed was made-up, probably never slept in. She looked at the clock. It was time for his favourite show on radio. Yet it sat mute, like a sage in meditation, waiting for the lord, offering her no answers. Another premonition.

Her eyes scanned the place slowly, like a huntress who knew where her prey usually hid. But she was looking more out of hope than certainty.

His black shoes -- gone. So were his other footwear. The shoe rack now held only hers, looking incomplete, half-naked.
The first brick fell in place.

Sounds from yesterday drowned her mind in the chaos of their noise. Sounds from the fight. 'Did you...' 'What's this about...' 'Are you...' 'Now, don't start...' 'How could you...' 'I did not...' growing louder...'What does this mean...' 'Whatever...' 'But then you did...' 'That's what you think...' 'Didn't you promise...' 'No...' screaming now...'Why won't you see...' 'I cannot...' 'Did you ever...' 'I might have...' 'Does nothing matter...' 'No...' 'Do you love me?'... quiet, but just momentarily.
She shut her ears forcefully. But the voices continued to grow. Hers, questioning, disbelieving, pleading. His, refusing, rebutting, hurting. She hated him. No, she loved him. No, she hated him.
The bricks of her hate continued to fall in place. Slowly, steadily, the carefully inflicted pain of his unfeeling words cementing each in place with unerring geometry.
Desperate, she tried bringing the wall down. But every effort of hers to bull-doze it only resulted in it continuing to grow. Like a parasite that fed off her growing negativity. Her hope would smash one brick, but then the reality, and the truth, of her pain would replace it, unfazed. She could see herself on one side. Her voice calling out to him. But he stood afar, unlistening, moving away from her. And the wall -- it continued growing.

She checked his wardrobe. Empty. She half-expected to find his shirts there. Even as she was opening it, she had hoped that his clothes would be in there, and that she was only being paranoid. But no. It was empty, staring up at her blankly. Gloating at her angst, she felt. She slammed it shut.

More sounds from yesterday. Now the scenes bloomed as well, like in an old T.V. where the screen flickers to life a few seconds after the audio has come on. Sound is faster than light sometimes. She saw him sitting on the bed, flicking through a cheap fashion magazine, unreading, acting, paying rapt attention to her every word, refuting with sadistic rationale. She saw herself standing a couple of feet away from him, screaming like a mad-woman, demanding and imploring by turn, alternating between anguish and anger. Her emotions for him lost their identity, love and hate mixing in an incestuous union, her pain their unlawful child, leaving her confused and drained. She felt the first of her tears ease itself out of her eyes.

She looked about for his briefcases -- gone. She wondered if the house had been burgled. But then all her things were there, in their lawful places. She started to wonder if burglars were choosy, but then managed to stop herself from going crazy.
Her gaze continued to skim across the room. Searching in despair.
His CD collection -- gone. She whirled around. His books -- gone.
She saw him everywhere through his absence, through the sounds of his familiar movements about the house that she could no longer hear, through the smell that he left on her clothes, through the traces of his existence that he had so clinically wiped away. But for the one in her heart. She saw him everywhere, and yet, nowhere.
And the wall continued to ascend, each brick more certain, more precise, than the previous. She no longer could see him, but for his head above the wall, and that too only if she craned her neck. Her tears began to rain down on the wall, and she couldn't see him very well at all.

The wind whistled through the house, wailing. It felt hollow without him, she thought. Her life felt hollow, she realized. She wished they hadn't fought, wished she hadn't asked all those questions, wished he hadn't hurt her so that she could now convince herself that he still loved her. She caught herself, feeling ashamed of her own thoughts that had betrayed her, feeling disgusted of her weakness for him.
She didn't need him she told herself, her pain now dominating, the wall now rising upwards, the rain now pouring. She didn't need anyone, she consoled herself, but found herself opening the door to the bathroom, hoping that he would be hiding inside, waiting for her, and that all this was just a prank to make her come around, and that they would make up.

But no. He was gone.
And then her eyes fell on the dresser. His half was cleared. Like a verse with its rhyming lines missing, no longer making sense. Instead, there lay her gifts. All of them. Like exhibits in a court-room serving to prove a crime she didn't commit. From the first 'speaking' greeting-card to the portrait that she had painted of him to the calendar with photos from their vacation together to the violin that she had bought for him three days ago. Every one of them.

The pain that she had been holding back for so long hit home swiftly. Like a weakened dam, she broke down before its force. She fell to her knees, sobbing, her tears now a torrent, her hate now violent, her pain permanent.

He had left. Forever.
And this wall, tall and grim, would stand between them always.

6 comments:

Samudraa said...

Here u r!!!

With the last one and this u've evolved ........as a writer,as a person.The fact that u can write the intense emotions a woman experiences this beautifully proves that u have come a long way.

Kudos,way to go!

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

I can see that you have worked on this piece. A little more description would have made it perfect. :)

musafir said...

@ samudraa: Thanks! All in good time.

I was conscious of writing about a "woman's" emotions when I started but then I switched identities with her pretty quickly.

musafir said...

@ afj: It shows, doesn't it? Ah, never mind -- still have a long way to go.

And I thought I went overboard at times with the description.

catch 22 said...

Do you realize fully what you have written !!

. : A : . said...

Evolved writing. This was beautiful.