Monday, April 23, 2012

The rain always put her in a good mood.

The air was still clean from the rains at dawn, the earth still smelled like fresh mud, the wind cool and undecided, blowing her hair all around her as she stepped out of Mass, walking among people she didn’t know.

She was heading home to her still sleeping husband. Her gaze was turned down on the pavement when she had that inexplicable feeling yet again that there was someone watching her. As she walked past the gate of the church, her eyes, as if with a life of their own, searched for his.

It had been eight years, six months and fifty seven days, and when her heart and mind had given up hope, her eyes continued to search fruitlessly. Amidst the crowds at the market, the families at church, or strangers walking past every day. Searching, hoping, despite the fact that they bade goodbye a lifetime ago in the dim room on the second floor of a rickety make shift hotel. She could still remember the faint smell of sweat and sex in the room, the beard on his face prickling her hand as she stroked it, his vicious bites of affection, the unruly chaos of hair on his head, the smell of smoke in his mouth and the increasing darkness as he cut the cord of their still infantile love.

Eight years, six months, fifty seven days and three hundred letters that were left unsent, still piled up in a shoe box in some deep corner of her cupboard. It took that long for her eyes to set upon what they searched. There he was, in a worn out overcoat, with the same prickly beard she remembered. The lean contours of his body from their days of murky love making had given way to broader, mature features. The glint in his smile was replaced by a thin line on his lips. But his hair was still as unruly.

Her heart beat so loudly she could have sworn he’d heard it. From her mind to her heart to the core of her being, everything ached to hold him again, to feel him around her, on her, inside her, to complete herself in a way that only he knew how to.

Why wasn’t he moving towards her? Why wouldn’t he say anything? Her jubilation was slowly melting into anguish, turning to guilt as he appraised her from head to toe, pausing at the bump of her child yet to be born. Rooted to the spot, she battled between her desire to rush forward into the past or back to her present. Her eyes thirstily took in every ounce of him. His one undone lace, his trousers blowing against his legs in the wind, the rising smoke from his cigarette, his undone collar, the thin thread of his scapular peeking from behind his neck, that beard of his, and what she’d feared most, the stoic expression of his face as he looked straight at her with controlled eyes.

Suddenly eight years seemed like yesterday, and yesterday seemed like an illusion. Suddenly it seemed as if life had given both of them another chance to redeem an ill timed love.

She gasped as she felt pain inside her. Her baby’s first kick. The baby of her and her husband, to whom she had sworn a vow of love and companionship. Their love was not torrid. It was not volatile, or fiery or mad and insane. It did not throw her into the void of absolute ecstasy, or the volcanic pits of rage. It did not give her life through every act of love, nor did it drive her to heights of the tallest mountains, only to let her feel the rush of an entire world pulling her towards her as she fell. It did not bring out the urges she had to expel her passion before it burned her away. No, their love is not a ship riding the highest waves during a storm. Their love is a ship sailing on a lake of placidity. Their love is exemplary in its perfection. No scars mar their relationship. They have their routine of quiet breakfasts behind the newspaper, not of walks in the moonlight. Theirs is a love of sunshine, not torrents of rain. Their love is about giving and receiving. It is about taking a deep breath on top of a mountain and never looking down.

But here she was, led to the precipice once again and reminiscing about the rush of falling to your death.

But she wasn’t ready to look down now. Look again into the fire and face it, not with another life depending on her. Not with another love expecting her. The rains were romantic and dashed, but once the skies cleared she did not want to leave decrepitude in their wake. Immature and fanciful whims of a young girl had no place in the mind of a grown woman, or in the heart of a mother.

For every love that is fulfilled, there must be so many that are not. So many silent sighs, quiet wishes, hushed regrets.

This must be one of them. She gave a faint smile, placated her unborn child, walked past him and never saw the flower he dropped from his hand that could have shaken the very core of the earth to drop her from that mountain and return to his life.

Inspired by Marquez, and life.

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