Monday, October 15, 2007 

The strands in your eyes

Your number on the phone stares back at me. Should I call ? Will you be there ?

What did we talk about, in those meandering conversations ? Remniscences of the past, details of the present. Sharing vignettes of a life even as it ebbed and flowed by us, converstations that stretched. Till the nitty-gritties of a life were but interregnums in the connect, to be given short shrift while we sought to pick up the threads from where we’d left off. I could never run out of topics, not while your stories remained untold. Not while I found pleasure in the most mundane of your details, in marvelling at the way you navigated what seemed vicious shoals.

I now recollect that I once thought of the patterns of dappled sunlight on a wooden floor while we talked. Of someone practicing scales that seemed to fall in glistening pieces on the floor, melting in the warmth of an afternoon sun filtered through flower-patterned curtains. The sound of your voice is an abiding memory, but of the mist that covered the peaks in the early morning rather than the details of the landscape down below, for I recollect your voice without quite remembering what it was you said.

I start with surprise, and then realize that a desperate mind is trying to tell a heart the soothing lie that a random voice is yours. I see arms in the familiar gesture of smoothing back your hair, and I wonder if that tendril is still as obstinate as ever. I once went through a phase where you filled every crevice in the consciousness that was not already occupied by the debris of existence. Now is the time for you to visit, for I have split myself asunder, creating a palace of solitude for you, with a hut of the remnants being reserved for the bits and pieces of the daily grind.

You have no idea, you often said, and though I protested, it was true. For my writings were but the treasures of a beachcomber wandering where waves of your voice carried magical pieces of flotsam onto the shores of my heart, and now he waits in vain for the tide to roll in again. And in the meantime, he is loth to move on to another shore, for he carries with him the burden of unsaid words that the tide was to sweep away.

For there are so many of them, the unsaid words. I have yet to tell you of the tiff with the younger one, and the gaffe I committed with a well-meaning acquaintance. There is the story which you must listen to with sympathy, for I am too afflicted to be proud. Another which I know that I will rue telling you, for you will laugh. But with the tinkle in your voice that will make me see the silly side of it too, and so it will be alright. This one I know I must not tell you, for you will belabour me with it for a long time to come,but I will . The dream I had of sitting next to you in a car in the road adjoining the runway, of sipping lukewarm wine in waist-high grass while around us the planes soared, and the moonlight fell about us in casacading sheets of remonstrance, awaits your chiding for being absurd.

I had nothing but the mundane to offer you, and yet the lightness of spirit that came with the shedding of words was great. Now the words tumble out faster than I can stuff them back, and yet the tide does not come.

I now sit and type incoherent words that lack the uniting strands of your thoughts. And the screen reflects a pallid light on my countenance, for it is in these early hours that I have spoken most to you. The morning will soon come, and I shall sit in the hovel and attempt to arrange the odds and ends of an existence, a sentinel to that empty cavernous edifice of the heart that awaits your arrival.

Your number on the phone stares back at me. I call, and you aren’t there. Perhaps you never were.