Also published on the Fountain Pen Guild website.
Her slippered feet subtly slapped on the stairs and her hand dangled
with the white mug she held with a finger. The roof was blanketed with a
more opaque milky white fog. She stepped on to the slightly dusty light
Her sockless feet and bare hands were gripped by the palpable
freezing air around her. The prickly icy wind kissed her cheek and
pinched her nose. And swiped across her lips, and she shielded her neck
to it. But her barely warm fingers felt numb against her neck.
And she stood at the edge for what seemed like a long, long time.
The fog was beginning to fade.. it settled on the periphery. But
it was still inside her little bubble of existence.
She walked to the edge of the balcony, setting the mug on the table next
to her. On her wrist, she noticed a streak of fiery orange. Must have
missed it. She tried to rub it away but it had dried. Giving up easily,
she breathed out into the chilly air and watched her breath freeze and
then become one with the dense fog that was beginning to form closer.
Her eyes stared ahead at the trees swaying against the winter
wind but her eyes were still swimming with the image of the canvas.
Propped up in front of her, her arm ached dully, but the pain was barely
there. She finally felt relieved, but not exactly happy. It was just an
absence of the ticking clock in her mind. It had gone quiet. Now
everything was too quiet. Peaceful.
Now her mind came around to it and realized that the exhibition
was tomorrow. Everything was ready. Except her. Feeling her heart beat
quicken, she told herself to relax. The mug was full of steaming coffee
now. And she hadn't even noticed. The curtains behind her rustled as she
turned around to look. He had left.
When she had come out to be in the open, rather than go to sleep,
it wasn't a decision. She just felt like it. She held on to the warm
mug in her hands. And pushing all the thoughts away from her.. she
turned around to go inside. The room smelled of paint. The reminder of a
sleepless night. Like other sleepless nights. Of solitude and silence.
The palette was covered in paint, a multitude of shades and
stories. The room, segmented shapes and patterns. Shadows fell on the
wall in a series of chains. The blinds needed to be pulled up, a weak
sun was starting to shine and she hoped it would get warmer. She sipped
on the coffee standing near the window, looking down at the sleepy
street below. Company. It always makes you feel.. not alone.
The chai wala on the corner shop was busy with the first
customers. And the first rickshaws were beginning to ring their bells
and hanker down the street. Her fingers still felt numb from the cold,
or was it from keeping that brush between her fingers just way too long.
Hadn't she been told she thinks too much, does too little?
Detaching herself from the world while she was engrossed in her work..
going deeper inside. The red light on the answering machine flickered
silently, beckoning her closer. Her mind buzzed with words when she
looked at the canvas. She hurriedly picked up a cloth and covered it,
pushing it back against the wall and picked up her color palette, and
moving her fingers across the dry paint, kept it on the countertop.
A variety of images crossed her mind. Her first bicycle, the
smooth pebbles on the beach she went to a decade back, the azure of the
skies, the monsoon green, the magenta on her mother's sequined bed
sheet, the blackness of the skies when she peered into his eyes, the
murky depths of the blue-green pond in the garden, the dark red of her
room's curtains filtering the golden sunshine that lay captured in the..
A knock on the door woke her up from her reverie. He smiled at her, time to go.
"Give me ten minutes."
"Time to get back to life, right."
"Yes. It's time. To stop this craziness, I guess."
"Ditch the white this time. It's a big day."