My dear Readers,
This turned out to be little longer than longer. I am still learnig the art of story writing. Please bear with me. I knew no other way around to take the story forward. I am having one of those bad writing days. But I promise I’ll make it up next time. Or i may rewrite this part.
Shopping alone was boring. Roaming the city on a beautiful evening was even more boring. There is no hand to hold while crossing a road. There is no one’s reflection on the misted glass walls of the coffee shop. There was no one to push you away from ogling at a ridiculously expensive impractical dress displayed in the shop.
Scarlett had come to see real people and get her mind off the painting. But with each crossing in the alleys, and blinking of the traffic light, she wanted to go back to her house and snuggle under the blanket. “Maybe I should join some dating sites. I cannot ruin another beautiful evening on my own. If I sign-up, at least I’ll have somebody else to blame, instead of myself.”
Scarlett bought a few items for her house, had dinner and walked back to her apartment. On the way, she bought a couple of books and a news magazine. After five days alone in the house, she was running out of things to kill time. It was then that her mother called.
“Hello Scarlett. How are you? I hope I have not called too late.”
“No. Its fine. I just came back from shopping. How are you?”
“Good… good. We are retired people. What is there for us to do now… I called to ask you something… Hmm… we are travelling to Venice next month. Will be there for a fortnight. James and I would like you to join us.”
“You know that I won’t come.”
“You could try”
“I don’t want to try.”
“Scarlett, please don’t be stubborn.”
“I am not stubborn”
‘This is a chance to fix things. We could live like a family again.”
“Oh, we are a family now? Good to know.”
“Give your father a chance. It’s not like before.”
“I did give a chance. But he did not use it, if you correctly recall.”
“You are not being reasonable. How long are you going to hold it against him?”
“I was and I am the only one reasonable. And as for the second question, my answer is forever.”
“Scarlett, please… at least come and visit us once. You are our only daughter. We love you.”
“Is that all?”
“You will not change your decision?”
“I am known for sticking to my decisions.”
“Ahhh… yes, you are. Always the strong one.”
“Can we come and visit you?”
“You can come.”
“You know I cannot come alone.”
“You cannot or you will not?”
“Scarlett… It’s been seven years.”
“Yes. It’s been seven years. You don’t have to remind me.”
“It’s good to stick to your decisions. But, once in a while, you can afford to give the benefit of doubt. Forgiveness is a divine virtue”
“How typical of you to scold me now… And yes, I do have that virtue. But I reserve it for deserving people.”
“What is so typical? I cannot scold you…?”
“Of course you can.”
“I am not scolding you.”
“If it will make you feel better, you can… I am here…”
“Do you think it is going to make me feel better?”
“How can I say… it’s your call.”
“Don’t you miss me?”
“Is this all? How long are we going to talk like this?”
“I don’t know… I am sorry.”
“You seem to be so far… I feel I have lost all power over you…”
“It was your choice to go far.”
“And you are still punishing me for taking that decision.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“You don’t understand. I had to.”
“Yes. I don’t understand.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Was it not?”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You never did know what to say”
“Now you are scolding me”
“Am I now?”
“Scarlett, I don’t want to argue. Please think again about coming with us. Please try.”
Scarlett sighed into the receiver. She did not have enough strength left to continue. She did not know long she could hold back her tears.
“Sometimes, you just have to believe. People change. There is no proof in the beginning. Even if it is there it will not be enough. Take a leap of faith, my child. You need it. It will make your life easier.”
“I know you will not answer. I know you are crying, though you will not admit. I know you are hurt beyond what I can heal. But I cannot stop trying. I will not. One day, your heart will get big enough to forgive. My only prayer is that it comes soon. People do not live forever. You can only make the moment last forever.”
“Scarlett… are you there?”
“Yes,” it was almost a choke.
“Please think again. And take care. and I love you. We both love you. Goodnight my child… Take care.”
The phone slipped offer Scarlett’s hands and fell on the floor with a soft thud. There was no way she could stop the tears from flowing now. How long she sat there and let the tears exhaust itself she did not know. It was very dark, the house eerily quiet and she was alone. She opened the balcony door and let the moon inside. She stood there with the cool silver light on her face, feeling it seep into her skin and mingle with her blood. She needed to talk. She needed the support of her voice.
She walked to the painting and said, “You heard that, didn’t you?”
“If you did not understand, it was my mother. Wondering why we talked like strangers? Even worse than strangers, I know…” and she sighed.
“Its a long story.” She was tired and weak. She lied down on the floor, with moonlight spilling all over her. And in a sing-song voice of a young girl, she started talking.
“Long long ago there lived a small and happy family in a small town. Father, mother and daughter. There were cakes, cookies, jams and tarts everyday. There was swing and flowers and birds and a pond with fish in their courtyard. The house was filled with songs, and laugh and happy screams. Even the doors and windows joined them with their tiny little squeaks.”
“Then, the father got a new job uptown, and their whole world turned upside down. And in the biggest cliché of life, the happy family became a miserable family. He started drinking very badly. It was a surprise how soon he gave in to the habit and became an addict. The songs disappeared. The cookies were never right again. The jams no longer sweet.” Her sound almost a whisper.
“The hands that caressed gave into violence. The lips that whispered loving words shouted abuse. The same old story. The same old story. ”
“Are you bored yet? Want to jump to the climax? I can see that you are…”
“Then one night, the father forgot that he was a father. He forgot that he was a husband. In a rage, for what reason, god alone knows, he wrecked everything, spilled havoc in the house. He was strangling the mother. Bones were broken. Blood was flowing. But there was no tears. Wisely, it remained frozen.”
“The daughter, the witness to all this, was still young then. Her heart not so cold. Just out of college, ready to chase her dreams. It hurt her more than anything to lose her father little by little. It hurt to love him a little less everyday. But enough was enough. The daughter, possessed by a courage that only hurt and pain can give, took the bedside lamp and hit the father on the head.”
She stopped her sing-song voice and said in a more matter of fact tone. “Well this might not be really extraordinary. It’s a natural to defend. He did not die. To make the long story short. There was police, hospitals, de-addiction centers, court, case and verdict. There is no twist here.”
She got up, in a high pitch sound, she continued, “The twist, my friend, was when the father came out of rehab. The twist, my friend, was when the mother decided to go with the father and overlook the terror and horror he had created, which the daughter could not forget or forgive. The twist, my friend, was when the mother decided to forget that he almost took her life.”
“Since then the daughter lives alone.”
My dear Readers,
If you are still here, thank you so much for reading this post. Feel free to post your opinions. I know this was not all that great.(Read pretty bad). I would gladly welcome your thoughts and suggesstions.