A young girl, haunted by the shadows of her life and struggle, encounters a man who compels her to step out of her boat and explore the vast sea ahead.
It had barely been a week since my arrival in the neighborhood and, to my amazement, I never could adapt to this environment. The snarls of people, their worries and dissents topped with hypocrites all over the place, had instilled a raging monster inside me that neither wanted to be depressed nor happy. The abysmal reality of the city disappointed me in many ways. It seemed as if the people in this part of the world consumed cakes of hatred and idleness, frosted with a bitter layer of envy.
I know my soul was tired to the last muscle (if it had any) and had become a mere existence and would continue to be this way until my heart gave up. Desperate for a break from this monotonous yet dangerous life, one night, I found refuge in the City Park.
It was no unusual night and was burdened with discontent, making it a restless one. I craved a long walk in the Park. I wanted to speak to the monster inside me in peace, make it see where it was leading me to.
Donning a cap on my bobbed hair, I got up, shut the two-room I called a house and set off. With a dull thud at every step, my feet sensed the excitement, and it was with difficulty that I prevented myself from rolling down to the landing when my right foot slipped on the stairs.
I gained the advantage of being on foot by treating my nostrils with sweet-scented air and feasting my eyes on the star-spangled sky, the leaf-strewn ground, the night-time pursuits of bats, the dewdrops on the grass and all the things that seemed other-worldly. It was not until I spotted a thin-framed man that I came out of my wistful fantasy. He walked with stiffness, hitching his shoulders every now and then and a lurid tartan scarf prevented any revelation of the little neck he had got.
“What’s he doing here when the entire world is snoozing in their beds!?” I thought to myself, clearly oblivious to the fact that he may be thinking the same about me. I heaved a sigh of relief when the two of us walked past.
The sight of the well-pruned hedges and shrubs of the park drove the man out of my mind for at least three hours. Sitting on a cold, hard bench, my body had been reunited with my brain. They somehow get separated when I am trapped in my strenuous life and overloaded with extreme emotions.
Listening to the song of the trees and seeing the flowers jig to its rhythm, compelled the philosopher inside me to awaken, sending off my monster into hibernation. I had never thought deeply about life but now that I had a few moments devoid of honking cars and shouting people, I resolutely pledged to be mindful and happy in every moment possible. “Fat chance with the next-door witch of a woman though.” I was being judgmental yet again. *sighs*
I automatically stood up and started moving towards my house after what seemed like ages. My body still striving to balance my mind on top of it, I was desperate to not let the Philosopher inside me sleep this time.
I felt wise. A rare string of thread was weaving an incredible cage around me, trapping me in the shell of my own emotions.
At first, I thought that my mind was holding a battle against my body because I could hear a lot of noise. On straining my ears, firstly I realized that men were shouting. The second realization I had on coming out of reverie was that I had already reached the street that led to my home, except that much of it was hidden behind grotesque doll-like figures who seemed to be very busy indeed.
As my eyes raked the sky, to my horror, I saw smoke billowing out of a building which was placed exactly at the position where my house was. When the reality finally dawned, I ran towards my house, caring the least about whether my mind had already fallen off or not. Brimming with ambivalence, I saw one of my neighbors (The Witch).
Gauging my harassed face, she gave one of her sympathetic looks and told me that the firefighters presumed that I had probably left the gas-stove burning for hours due to which the entire block caught fire when someone lit a cigarette.
“Blow that Someone!” I bitterly thought and twisted my lips into an uncharacteristically ugly face, and said out loud, “Anyway, thank you for all your trouble in calling the firefighters.”
“I never called anyone Miss. I know I should have but…” her voice trailed away in what I thought was an apology.
“Then who did?” I murmured to myself.
Showing human nature, I silently mourned for the destruction of a house that had never been my real home. Turning my face away from her, I glanced at the building and on the steps saw a familiar tartan scarf. My mind fell off and rolled down the street and as I scanned its progress, it went to a man standing at the other end. As if on cue, I grabbed the scarf and ran to him. And as I ran, shouting in glee, the cage that had trapped me was breaking, the monster inside me was purring. They knew, and I did too, that that night I would be leaving my past behind. I knew that I would be ready for a new beginning when morning dawned.