I like winter nights – dark, foggy, windy and quiet – as if life is overwhelming in its shades, rubbing off its energy in memories that come flooding. Yes, you are right. I am lonely and vacant – with no work at 10 35 pm. The day’s spoils fulfilled, commitments met. This month’s shortages filled to the brim with essentials. That’s what you called my skin, no?
Vacant, erased of any marks, clear, shining, golden in that perfunctory greenish yellow light and the light of the heating rod.
How you melted in the darkness and shone with each sliver of heat and light corroding your skin just as I seeped into you, rusting your life into meaningless meanings. And perhaps calm. Homely is what you called the house – my house. The pronoun ‘my’. How cosy, and warm and home-like and quiet!
You know I like winter nights. Especially in the balcony. With just the outside white light of the CFL glowing with a switch. Click, snap. Cut and open. Clank, swish. At once illuminated and within a nano second pale. With just the streetlamps, lending grace to the shadows of trees dancing on the walls opposite the expanse of the city. Cold, graceful silhouettes. My visage on the wall too. Interrupting the straight and linear progression of the dance of lights on those walls. Mirrored and washed. In memories.
I like winter nights in the balcony. They are calm, quiet, serene peaceful. No one claims any share in the space of the night. While warm quilts embrace the day soaked skins and winter heaters and hot blowers wash away the ruins of tiredness from sleep deprived number punching fingers and data crunching minds, I stand outside smoking.
How else will I push you away than by defying you? Removing you, carefully, craftily erasing you bit by bit each day by doing what you said not to do. Black. Clove flavored. Leaving a sweet aftertaste on the lips. Smearing the tears with those minty memories of fresh assault.
Yes, assault. Violence. Terrible molestation. Forced conversion. Of slipping between one sheet to the other. And each time being raped of the last hit of memory.
I like winter nights when you are not around. Cold. Chill. Chilled. Chilling to the bones. At once adjective. At other noun. At the other tense. Past. Gone. And the very next moment present. Chilling. Present continuous. Still fresh. Still assaulting. Still tormenting. Still not gone. Still in the process of leaving, coming back, hugging, tightly fixing. Leaving again. This time slowly. Surreptitiously. Watching over me. Intently. Time. You. All observe. Watch. Letting destiny, karma play its role.
I love winter nights when I can smoke outside in the open air. Breeze wafting through loosened hair. Dropping that one hair clutch, or band or whatever it is called carelessly – somewhere. Never to be found elsewhere. Anywhere in fact. Hair, wind, muffler soaking in the skin around the neck, throat, ears, head. Fingers melting with desire. To hold you once more. One last time. Enwrapping you for that last moment of ‘being together.’
Shhhh. Let me listen. To the barking dogs. Barking with each rustle of dry, half wet with dew leaves. Detached from that tree in the park. Just as perhaps you detached, or clutched out free. From THIS – whatever it is called.
I like winter nights in the balcony, with you – now only in slivers of memory which come not as an epic narrative beginning in media res or perhaps a tragedy - with a beginning, middle and an end but as punctuated prose. Like Woolf’s. Unarranged. Random, Chaotic. Like my mind. Like whatever THIS is or is it THAT was yet?
The final ash flicked. The final drag inhaled. Seeped in. Exhaled. The butt, consumed and absorbed of its contents completely. Lost. Thrown carefully down. So that no trace remains. Not even a whiff.
The balcony doors shut. Noises of the road, of the rustling leaves, the barking dogs, the sometime crashing whoosh of aeroplanes, the accidental announcement of car horns – clanked shut. With that final bolt.
An evening without you. A night of your absence awaits.