Dust sprung up in the breathing air and hung there for a while as if the sun rays were playing the part of strings. Shimmering golden, misplaced pieces of the world.
The woman was anxiously picking up cushions and was dusting them frantically, imperfectly, for the sake of it.
‘There are more of these than I would like to manage’ she hissed in irritation.
‘Oh, I wouldn’t complain darling, they are still beautiful’ said the woman’s companion, who was sipping from a steaming cup nearby. Mrs. Andere.
For the sake of affection she was referred as ‘De’ or ‘Ande’.
She was plum, peachy as peach itself, she wore a shade of disturbing red lipstick on her, that seemed to have been made in a brickyard, using scrapes of red.
‘You’re being too harsh on yourself darling, you need to sit, breathe & have a nice cuppa tea’ she grinned broadly, showing all her teeth, almost looking excited.
‘No no, De you don’t understand, there are a lot of things I must do, then there are few other things I wish to do.’ said the woman, taking a moment from beating pillows together, to wipe sweat from her forehead.
‘Much as I enjoy sitting at leisure, with no work, I regret it too. She heaved, momentarily looking at her stomach that had flattened while she held her breath, then releasing it instantly, her belly rose up like a fermented dough, slightly bulging around the belt of her dress.
‘It’s stagnating, it doesn’t open new doors, new feelings for me to witne- ‘
‘Oh Shut up!’ Ande cut her off repulsively, it seemed as though the woman’s words were nauseating her. Displeasure was so evident, it almost produced cracks in her foundation concealer cream, her real face peeped from inside.
‘I didn’t raise you to be such a freak, you were a tiny girl when I took you, look what I turned you into, this magnificent, beautiful intelligent woman that you are now.’ Mistress beamed with something that was not pride but was teeming with possession and ownership, nevertheless it still was, though obnoxious, a teethy smile.
‘Please don’t mind me, the woman pacified. She took De’s hands with affection in her own and made her sit on the couch. Her smile that was put up to show composure was feeble & fading.
Half a twinkle.
‘You must understand me Ande, I’m neither complaining nor denying anything. I’m simply trying to tell you that my heart desires. It desires new Springs.’
The smell of fresh parchment,
An ink that can paint.
Tea that is sweeter,
A humming heart; thousand folds eager.
Rusted corners that glimmer twice,
A storm that pours within, nigh & beyond choice. Re-construct as such that doesn’t obstruct.
Farther than the sight explores,
Fire that crackles a ‘mood-full’ more.
The woman’s face was reflecting a child’s expression, one that awaits appreciation for self evident creativity or a wise thought. She bit her lower lip in anticipation, palms facing downwards on knees, tensed forearms & shoulders raised to ears.
There was an uneasy silence in the room.
Andere kept staring at this woman infront of her, trying to make sense of what she’d just spoken. Her eyebrows gave a slight twitch of disgust, mouth making a small crooked opening, which was despicable.
‘You know dear, your desires are turning you towards lunacy. What you truly need is sanity.’ She spat.
It seemed she had been stung by a barb dipped in a gall of poison.
‘I taught you everything, looking after the house, the daily deeds, needs, I even got you cushions… so that you can dust them, there’s a carpet too, if there’s ever a need for change.’ She spoke hastily, only to stop for a second, her eyes darting to check whether her words were given their deserved acknowledgement.
‘I let you do & savor things not many people get to realise, you do knitting when you please, crochet too, don’t you? Never restrained you from playing piano.
I let you paint, sketch, read.
Isn’t that just enough?’
‘It is just enough. You’re quite right. But there’s no expanse in enough.’ The woman retorted firmly for the first time, her tone perfectly anchored in conviction.
‘My dear De, there’s a whole world of difference between recreation & self growth, between indulgence & involvement, engaging & blossoming.’
I do not seek just freedom, I wish to disembody myself into the limitless.
I do not dare pursue possession, I seek absolute dissolution.
I’d rather be a complete puzzle of immensity than a missing piece, out of place.
I’d rather rage as forest fire than diffuse as thick sooty smoke from cold ashes.
My desires are the chariots of my growth, without them I’m a damp matchstick in a tiny tinderbox.
‘I’ve to do certain things Ande, things that I don’t even know if they exist, things that touch me in a novel way, that uproot me from the belief of “who I think I am.”
I love the cushions you’ve given me, they are pretty, but I do not belong to them, nor to this carpet, nor to you.’
‘I still have to be who I am. And for that I’ll have to let you go, you’ve been a good confidant.’ She caressed the mistress’s hand lovingly as she spoke.
Andere watched in horror & disbelief. She had never known helplessness such as this.
The woman closed her eyes & then whispered softly, almost making it seem self affirmative.
Just as one command given in solitude. ‘Now you take leave.’
When she lifted her eyelids, the Sun was spilling the lasts of its light in the room. Dust had settled long ago.
The woman sat completely alone staring at the window, the passing sunset glared back, turning her pupils into golden orbs.
There was lying, at a distance, an empty cup, glinting the portrait of the woman from its white ceramic self.
Reflections from self to self. There was no Other.
The rim of the cup was smeared with red lipstick.
The woman laughed nonchalantly.
– Sharanya Ikshan E.