Saturday, September 17, 2005

Maelstrom in the Mind

She was standing at the bay window in the study, watching the sky. All of a sudden, the colours changed from a nuanced, still blue to a raging, roiling slate, and a low, rumbling discontent sounded across the drum of the horizon.

The thickening shadows in the room needed some light. The small candle nestled in the window pushed through into yellow warmth as she slipped away. Slipped away into a blue-purple-white dream of nothingness.

Everything's a gentle, blue haze, shaded and stark... It is a peaceful place, this one... That's curious... shaded and stark! My pen needs refilling... As does the refrigerator... Let us go then, you and I, Where the evening is... Why should I cry for you... Something stirs, in the east, everywhere... What was that?

The real world is reeling me in like a marlin in the death throes of its defence.

As she crosses into the living room, a faint hammering rises louder and louder on the roof. Inside the room, he was sitting at the table, under the light of a cane lamp hanging by a finespun weaving of blue-green threads. He seemed like he was both working and irate.

Peculiar, familiar interdependencies... but then he's a peculiar, familiar sort of person.

"It's raining again." he said, a sigh in his voice.

"What of the movie?" she asked, resignation in hers.

A new whisper unfolds through me, sits up and streches its arms and takes breath. Looks around at everything. At the unaccountability of checks and balances that is my life.

"You cannot possibly want to go out in the rain. I won't get parking, the traffic will be crazy, and you don't have to drive. I do."

The indignation emanating from him was magnificent. Nothing short of it. She replied, "Yes, I suppose so. It does seem like too much effort."

It watches me breathe, as if to remind me not to forget how to.

He looked at her suspiciously then. Very suspiciously. After a moment, he started to speak, changed his mind and bent his head once more. She kept looking at him though.

The time is nigh to put together these scraps of wholeness and be unbound... from me.

She moved to the window, and while settling into the armchair with the rain and the book she was reading, she said, "No, don't worry; I am not mocking you. I think... I understand."

He looked up at her. And although he looked straight at her, it was sideways; a look you could call doubtful and distrusting. She didn't see but felt it instead. She smiled sweetly at her reflection.

Seek and ye shall find.

Her feet lowered gently to the ground. Her smile only rose as she picked up her anorak and slipped on her sandals. But he didn't register anything until the latch clicked open.

"Are you going home? The rain's still heavy; you could spend the night here."


"Where then...? NO! No and NO! In this rain? You have to be mad!"

"Did I ask you to come with me?"

I need no one else to appreciate this moment but me.

The door shut behind her. His confusion followed her from the house, like a cabbie dogging a potential fare. When she turned the corner onto the main road, she could still see him staring after her, wondering and questioning if this was, in truth, her.

The roads are indeed terrible and the traffic crazy. He was right. Maybe I am crazy... but maybe not...

And so it continued for the twenty minutes the theater took to arrive. The ticket line was serpentine enough to convince her that there were some others plucky (or foolish) enough to venture out. The line also seemed to take an interminably long time to move.

My first movie alone. No monster under my seat, drooling or otherwise. Sweet Jesus... the missed movies...

Her turn was suddenly up. She asked for "one ticket, back row, near the aisle, please."

"I trust you enjoyed the cab ride." His voice was dry... and unmistakably proud.

He looked far more wet than she did. There was a stub in his hand for a spot in the private parking lot around the corner. It would cost him twenty bucks an hour and this was a three hour film.

She turned back to the booking attendant and said, "Two tickets, back row, near the aisle, please."

After he bought popcorn (since she bought tickets), he looked her in the eye and said, "Thank God, you're not my girlfriend. You're not my headache." He smiled sweetly, almost falsely.


The strangest déjà vu... I have said this somewhere else to someone else in some other lifetime.

I must mention S, soul sister. With my thanks for the "scraps of wholeness." I
must also mention both the elder sibling and the reviewer. Thanks for your patience.


Manan said...

By patience, do you mean 25 years of it?

Geetanjali said...

I liked the flow of this piece and how exetrnal events were interspersed with the inner thoughts...the best part of it was the turns it took. Some of them surprised me...for instance I initially thought they are a married couple, then when he asked her if she's going back to her place - lovers...only to find something else at the end.
The end was the best part!

. : A : . said...

Beautiful. I really like the way you have captured the moments in this one. The inner thoughts works very well.

Brood Mode said...

loved the flow of events and of course the suspense... great piece

Extempore said...

@Manan: You're just mean!

@Geetanjali: It's been a very long time since I told a story and I am not still not very happy with the end. Am very glad you liked it. Gives me hope for me next yarn! :)

@ .:A:. : Why thank you! :) I was so afraid I was going to be terribly trite!

@Brood Mode: Thanks so much! I look forward to seeing you here again. Will certainly be back at your blog.

finnegan said...

I looked at the length of this and decided to go make some popcorn (with butter and salt, naturally). By the time I got to the movies with the two, I joined them in a menàge a trois with the buttered popcorn. Excellent little movie here!

. : A : . said...

It definitely was not!


Shamik said...

:) hmmm.... nice.. I can go deeper, knowing you...

incognito said...

I like the bit where she says "Did I ask you to come with me?"

I guess shutting the door behind her is the turning point of the story and her life as well.

Must say you have captured the thoughts beautifully.

Prat said...

Beautifully crafted together.
I also go on record to say that I liked reading the comments too.
Especially the way you said " terribly trite"!
Something about the way they are juxtaposed.

Anil said...

finally found time to read this...very atmospheric with the minutiae of life...but I was wondering about the couple...what is their r'ship? are they friends? ex-lovers? and the stream of conciousness (am I right?) in italics seemed to make the waters murkier...

Geetanjali said...

(You've been tagged)

Extempore said...

Am sorry for delay in responding but its been a little crazy at work of late. :)

@Finnegan: LOL! Menage trois, eh? Am glad you liked it. :)

@ .:A:. : Thanks, A! *broad smile*

@ Shamik: Am quite sure you did as well!

@Incognito: Thank you!

@Prat: Thanks for coming by and for your kind words. Am glad you liked it and I do hope you'll be by again.

@Anil: Thanks for coming by. About the couple, well, their relationship is platonic - in my head, they are friends who do not need words to communicate anything - be it motive, intent, etc. And yes, the italics are the thoughts in her head, the things that she is thinking. I do hope you liked the piece though!

@Geetanjali: Thanks for the tag - this is the second time I have been tagged for this. Will get down to it asap. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved the way you've described the entire scene. Could literally visualize the entire piece :)


Extempore said...

@Jo: Thanks! :)

Stormy Zephyr said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stormy Zephyr said...

Pretty ok, that story!

Stormy Zephyr said...

actually, this is a very nice story...again, I need to change my comments!!