Edward? Julian? Alex? Dan Daniel David? Nathan? Philip? Noah? Blaaaah… blaah blah….. Nothing seemed right. Scarlett had promised to come up with a different name. But all these were just… So normal. So ordinary…. Names are important…. She looked at the painting and frowned. “Only if I knew what is your name… I am sure you have one!”
She had taken ten days off from work. Sick leaves…hahahahahaa… According to her, these days were for recovery. Picking up the scattered bits and pieces of her life and stitch it back. There seemed to be a lot to do. One whole day will go in phone calls, catching up with friends and lost contacts; another in shopping things for her house; one day for spa and parlor… No wait… Stop. There she was, again scheduling and organizing her days ahead. A bad habit. She had forgotten how to enjoy a lazy day, how to do something spontaneously, how to feel the craziness of the moment.
What did she want to do now? What had she done before when she had free time? It seems so long now. Ages actually. The house was silent. Its been like that for quite some time. She went to her system and randomly selected some songs and started playing them. She didn’t know half of the songs. Never before in her life, had she given so much thought to songs, singers, lyrics, release dates. Scarlett sat in front of the system, determined to update her musical side, find few new favorite singers and songs, and she wanted it loud. The sound should make things move. Maybe on another day she will hate that music. But today she wanted sound… noise blaring in her ears. The walls of the house have been silent for too long. She wanted to wake them up and banish the eerie silence that seemed to fill the house and her mind.
Scarlett decided to cook. She loved the feel of spices and vegetables between her fingers. She liked to bake cakes too. But today she decided to experiment with whatever was there in the house. She walked into the bedroom and faced the painting and said, “Ok. I have decided to cook today. And I came to tell you that I do have a couple of names for you. It may not be really different. But it might just suit you. I am sure you don’t want to be named Theodore or Timothy or Robert. Well, Robert may not be that bad!” Scarlett sort of danced, a full turn, a twist and a shake and a flipped her hair. “Hahaaa, that was nice. You know I haven’t done that in ages. You really seem to bring the long long forgotten Scarlett Williams out into the sun from some scary musty damp corner of life. Why do i feel that this is a perfect situation for an LOL? Dont you think?”
Suddenly Scarlett walked to the painting, looked straight at it and asked, “Why am I talking to you like you are a real person? Why do I want to give you name and why do I want you to like it? Why do I wonder what you look like? What is the colour of your eyes? Why don’t I feel lonely anymore and why do I feel it in my heart? Why do I feel that you are listening? Have I finally, I mean, actually gone mad? As in MAD???”
For a few seconds, there was absolute silence in the house. The blaring music had stopped. The honking of the vehicles on the road had stopped. Everything had come to a stand still, for a moment. She had stopped breathing as well. “I am sure I have gone mad. There is no other explanation to this.” With that announcement, she walked back into the kitchen, checked the things in there and the refrigerator, trying to decide what to cook.
There was really no explanation to it. She paused and closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She did not understand why she felt a ‘presence’ in the house. It was not evil, that much she was sure. What happened to the music? She went and check her phone, there was some problem with the connection. She tried to play it again. The sudden sound caught her off-guard that she gave a little squeak. “I don’t like this music. Too much loud.” She couldn’t even like such music for a day. Lord help her, she was becoming cranky about loud music. “That felt so middle-aged.” She let out a heavy and defeated sigh and changed the genre to a more milder one and went back to kitchen. “I am indeed a lost cause.”
Scarlett started to sort out things there. She needed to do something and that can be actually explained to another human being. Thus, the cooking! Spoons, vessels, vegetables, spices, and sauces were lined up on the kitchen counter. She tied the apron and started working to the rhythm of the music. She wanted to forget the painting and the man. So she started to sing aloud. Scarlett lasted only two minutes before her thoughts went back to the guy in the painting. She still hadn’t named him. She stopped chopping the vegetables and thought again through all the names she had short listed.
With the knife still in her hand, she went to the bedroom again and called out, “Are you Jullian?” She stared at the painting for two seconds. “No you are not Jullian. You cannot be.” She walked back to the kitchen and continued cutting the vegetables. She had decided to make salad. There was also some chicken in the fridge. That should be enough for lunch. She stopped cutting the vegetables, with the knife still in her hand, she walked back to the painting. “You cannot Alex either. Everybody knows an Alex. Far too common. And it doesn’t suit your hair colour. No. Not Alex. Is that okay?” She waited for two seconds. “Ok. I am glad you agree with me.” Scarlett went back to the kitchen and continued her work. After ten minutes, she was almost done. Again she went back to the painting and said, “I just came to confirm that you are not David or Daniel either. Maybe you like those names. But I don’t. So no David. No Daniel. No arguments there. I wont budge.” She stomped off to the kitchen. She finished her work and cleaned the kitchen, took a glass of wine and her bowl of salad and went back to the bedroom. She opened the balcony door and sat on the rocking chair with her bowl and glass. She took a sip of her wine and stared at the painting, and ate her lunch, slowly to the rhythm of the chair. The music had stopped playing again. The playlist must have got over. She had anyway stopped listening to it long back. Scarlett kept staring at the painting even after she finished her lunch and wine. How long did she sit there, she didn’t know. Slowly the blazing sun of the afternoon gave way to the soft evening sky. Scarlett sighed and looked away. She needed to sort her thoughts and clear her head.
She got up and walked to the painting and said, ” I know I am yet to give you a name. It feels as if I do know your name, but like I cannot remember. Can you believe that? I need some more time. Sorry… ”
Scarlett sat on the bed opposite to the painting. “Do you think I am stupid? Maybe I have gone mad. Maybe you are evil. Maybe nice. You may or may not be what I think you are or I don’t think you are. Did I get that right? But, whatever it is, I am not going to give you away. I think I can’t. I have become too comfortable with you. I have been alone for too long. I need somebody. It feels like you are not really hanging out there on the wall, but inside my heart. I dont see you as a mere painting anymore. That, I think, has been well established. I dont understand any of this. But I am done trying. I am always thinking too much, you know… Always reasonable, practical, sensible, realist… Maybe its time for me to be a little eccentric.
Scarlett stood up, went to the wall, turned her back and leaned on it, just near to the frame. “People always leave. They break your heart. The don’t understand your dreams. They judge. They prey. They hurt without hurting. They kill without really killing. Not all are like this, I know. I have seen a fair share of both good and bad people. But, I have always been wary. I am tired. I have decided to give you life and accept you as a real man. I have decided to trust you and make you my partner, my home. I am not always a bad person, though occasionally I am worse. Will you see me through it? Wont you stay by me? Wont you just, hang-in there, with me? For me? Or after so much of melodrama, do you want to run and drown in that sea of yours?”