He could not see her clearly. The urge to climb out of the frame and go in search of Scarlett was tearing up his mind and body into tiny pieces. Scarlett Williams was all he thought about now. Every moment of the past five years he had spent regretting, apologising and in the shadows of second thoughts. But then, she came like a blazing fireball, burning his insides, melting his frozen mind, and shining over him like the north star.
She was having a lazy-cozy day, reading some book lying on the bed. He felt like smiling. She must be advising the characters in the book on the best way to do things. This woman loved to boss. Did he dare to turn that essential half-inch so that he could watch her little more clearly? Will she notice? He sent a silent prayer to the heavens above that she wont notice the difference and turned. The half of him facing her, crackled into life and other half remained a still life painting. Eitherways, it was better than being a full still life painting.
She later switched into watching an action movie. But he was watching a different movie all together. Her face mirrored every expression shown in the movie. Anticipation, wonder, humour, excitement and a myriad of other small movements that animated her face. She had different smiles, measured in different lengths as her lips stretched. By the end of the movie, he had picked out a few favourites. He best liked the small shy smile. No, the wide full face-teeth-and-eyed smile was even better. Then there was that smile she tried to suppress but still peeked out of the corners of her lips and shone in her eyes. Still more beautiful was her smile when she was embarrassed. Her cheeks glowing, eyes crinkling, teeth biting the lips and that small tip of her chin downward that hid quite a lot of her emotions and revealed even more. Why was she smiling like that watching an action movie, he didn’t understand.
Scarlet walked up and went to the painting. “The name is Bond. James bond. It’s so sad that my name doesn’t have that punch of Bond. Just Imagine if I say my name like 007, how it would sound?” She folded two of her fingers and pointed the rest of her right hand and made it like a gun and said, “The name is Williams, Scarlet Williams.” She burst out laughing.
He just forgot about all her other smiles. Nothing could be compared to her happy laugh that had no restraints. Just unbridled spirit and cheer. The room rang with the sound of laughter. It echoed in his ears. If ever… If ever he came back to life… Every smile and laugh he will hear would be a weak sample of her bubbling laughter.
“That’s just absurdly funny. No!!! Pathetic…! Ewww…. If Ian Flemming or any Bond movie directors hear heard this, they would vomit.”
Scarlett was funny. Not the sarcastic funny. Not the cheesy peasy funny. She was silly funny. Being the bossy woman she was, she completely lost it at her humour. She made pathetically lame jokes and laughed truly at them. And then at herself. He had turned back and retained the half-inch difference, enjoying every bit of what he could see of her. She did not notice. He was hurt a bit. But then which sane woman noticed a wall painting so minutely.
“Wait… You have the same hair as him. Were you also a Bond of Fan? Ooopss… Sorry! Fan of Bond?”
There you go! This was exactly what he was thinking about. But still he felt like laughing.
Bond, huh…? She noticed. A woman from another world, who knew nothing about him, just repeated the one thing he must have heard at least thousand times when he was alive. (What was he now?) More people than he could count had told him the same. That he resembled Pierce Brosnan somewhere. Each time, she clinked in a new link in the chain that connected him to her and his past; it was difficult not to see where all this could lead. It was difficult not to feel the embers of hope slowly build into a flame in his long-lost heart.
Punch, you ask…? How does shiver, terrified and intimidating sound? The mere mention of his name had people passing out. That was a long long long time ago. But he did have a lot to thank Scarlett for. For buying the painting, for her sweet innocent talks, for all the smiles and laughter, for looking at him everyday… For a thousand other things which he cannot explain in words.
These feelings were alien to him. His heart was not familiar to them and he didn’t know what to do now. Gratitude, tenderness, care and affection was crashing against the walls of his heart in waves. She was asking for hints. He was dying to give her anything she asked for.
“You….! You, The man in the painting…. What… Who… No, what I mean is… why… Oh Scarlett.. Will you please shut up and forget it…? I think I need to do something…I…I… am going for shopping… That’s what sane women when distressed do… I need to see real human beings…for the love of God… someone whom I don’t have to give a name and someone who can,” she turned and looked at him with a wishful expression, ” some one who can talk back… for a change…”
Every inch of him burnt under her words. She could shout her frustration. She could still
express it. But he was trapped. Every cell and atom and DNA in his body hurt, screamed for relief. He was tired of thinking how caged he was. There was no way he could ever explain his helplessness to anyone. How he wished to talk back to her. He could not do anything. The only truth of his life was “Feel everything. Experience partially. Express nothing.”
If this was not punishment enough, Scarlett started getting ready to go out. She was trying different dresses, all the time muttering something to herself which he could not hear.. Good that he could not hear. He was already finding it hard to stay still in the frame. He could not even close his eyes nor see her completely. The glimpses of her body was tingling something inside him, sensations which he had forgotten to feel. Curves and valleys he had forgotten. It was alluring, magnetic and… and…. He didn’t have a word… He was afraid he would explode, no, combust.
He wanted to touch her. Feel the pulse beating inside her wrist. He wanted to trail the shape of her neck, feel her swallow the anticipation, check the depth of her collarbone, measure the angle of her jaw bone. He wanted to feel her hair, warmth of her skin… He wanted to taste her. He wanted to pull her toes, massage her angles, find his way home, up her legs. He wanted to smell her, nuzzle her back neck, lick her there. He wanted to carry out a mission of kissing her everywhere. He wanted to come alive inside her. He wanted to hear every rush of her breath, mark himself with her nails, feel the pressure building in her hips, her passion and needs pulling him deeper. He wanted her to the moon and back and still some more.
But before leaving the house, she came to him, “I am sorry. I was rude. I was so insensitive. Dont worry, I am not dumping you. I’ll be back soon. Promise.” She twirled in her dress in front of the painting, “Won’t you just turn and look at me? Beautiful or just nice? What say? Do you think good-looking guys will ask me out? Check me out, at the least??? ” She stood there with her eyes closed for two minutes. ” Will you miss me while I am gone?”
“Miss me… Please miss me…”And she left.
All the hot flaming ideas that was creeping inside him suddenly became tender. He was humbled by this woman. She was apologizing to a non living thing? An absolute irrelevant thing? She thought she was insensitive? What was he then? How could he explain it to her? If his heart could have borrowed even a single heart beat from Scarlett, he would have been a better person. She was teaching him what it was to live and love from the other side of his world. He was not even worthy of falling at her feet, forget touching her. She deserved a man who was not a man just in between his legs, but who knew to respect and care for her, protect and cherish her. She deserved a heart untainted by evil and greed. Scarlett deserved to be loved and worshiped.
But why was she so sad? Why did she say miss me like that… Like there was nobody to miss her? Its been few days now she was at home and nobody came visiting. As far as he heard, there was no long phone calls that sounded like friends or family. Where was her family? Why was she alone at all?
“I already miss you my dear Scarlett. Be safe and come back soon. Dont forget, I am waiting for you. It’s not even the curse that is keeping me alive now. Its you. Just you.”