The Sunset Sky

Streaks of purple and tangerine, as far as the eyes can see. Somewhere I see a hint of blue, peeking out from the gradient of colors. Birds are little pecks, wandering about in empty space. Trees are dark shadows, silhouettes against the sky. The air is still, retiring for the day. The atmosphere isn’t electric, but rather melancholic. The sun steals glances from gaps between buildings. And as the orange giant bids goodbye, it leaves behind soft rays that grace the sky.

 

This transitional moment is a magnificent sight. Every moment, is consistently random. Every sight, more beautiful than before. Every day it’s the same colors, the same sun, the same sky. But something makes it unique, every time. The slowly changing gradient accentuates the vastness of the sky. Never in the day is the sky more interesting. The sun keeps setting, leaving all his artwork behind. Eventually, the artist, tired for the day, spills ink over the canvas and rests for the day.

The Old Beggar

Heavy luggage in each hand causes both my shoulders to droop. They have this incessant urge of falling to the ground, as if they’re troubled by their own weight and feel like laying down for a while. The searing pain in my arms is trying to pull my nerves apart. I briskly walk through the crowd in hopes of getting this over with quick.

 

I feel disgusted by the mob and the heat, “Why is the railway station this crowded so late in the night?”. Then my eyes fall upon an old lady sitting on the railway platform. She’s sitting upright with her legs straight out. Like sitting in attention.

 

She looks old and destitute. Her hair’s all frizzy. I don’t know if her saree’s always been brown or if it’s due to the dust and pollution. It certainly doesn’t look new. It’s half torn to reveal her legs up to her thighs.

 

She seems to be searching for something but looks up at me when I pass her by. She can’t afford to miss out on anyone. The rarity of a helping soul who can alleviate her grievance compels her to do so. Her eyes are teeming with emotions. Hope, fear, longing and distress. I pass her by quickly, before she could even begin to beg for help. Before her pleading eyes could bore into me. I’m a hypocrite.

 

I couldn’t help but wonder. Who would care about them? Who would want to help? How long until they get better? Will they ever? Would I be helping her by giving her money that brings her respite? Or would I be helping her by giving her nothing, to teach her to live on her own? I can never answer any.

One Last Time – Part 3/3

“Stella” “Stella” “Stella”

 

She woke up in a trance. Breath heavy. Her chest heaved with fear. Her shirt, wet in perspiration, clung to her supple body. She looked around, panting for breath. It was her bedroom. Then she saw him. He was right there. His face inches away from hers. He could hear her gasps. A concerned look on his face slowly faded away into a cordial smile.

 

“Good morning sunshine”, he said, and took her into his arms. She felt a wave of relief and shyly let him take her. Finally catching hold of breath, she managed an utterance. Those three words were enough. They said it all. The nightmare reminded her of how much she loved him. Made her realize how much she wanted him. How much she missed him.

 

She never should’ve doubted him. He was pure. The beacon of hope in their relationship. She was the black sheep, a remorseful black sheep. But it’s all over now. No more “last times”. She found true love, yet again. And this time, she won’t spoil it.

 

She tries to fight her conscience. She decides not to tell him about the dream or the “me-time”. Honesty can only makes things worse she concludes. She’s off on a fresh start. A resurrection of love. She struggles to put all these thoughts away.

 

All the surge was too much for her. Too much to contemplate. Too much to give her time to notice the red lipstick on his white shirt’s collar.

One Last Time – Part 2/3

The room was just as empty as the bar, except for a teak wood table in the center. The small room was filled with cigarette smoke which made everything hazy. It took a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting and then she saw the silhouette of a woman. The woman was sitting with her back to the door. The woman turned around to see who came in and then Stella saw her features.

 

The woman had a vibrant red lipstick that seemed to glow like radium in the dark. With shiny black hair and a graceful figure, she could easily qualify for a supermodel. Her perfect silhouette was a sight enough to conclude that. But the woman wasn’t alone. There was someone else, a man. He was standing near the table with the woman sitting right in front of him. He looked like a pale white ghost in the fuzzy background. He had his arms wrapped around her and was holding her close. Too close. The woman had a terrified look on her face, suggesting that there was guilt attached to the intimacy.

 

The woman struggles to escape and while doing so, reveals a glimpse of the man. A glimpse of the intruder’s husband. Stella’s husband. She stands there dumbfounded. Never in her dreams had she imagined that it would come down to this. He was ever so loyal, never once he glared at other girls. His purity in their relationship was what intensified her guilt. But now she began to question everything. Momentarily, it made her feel better, a little less remorseful.

 

But she couldn’t believe the breach of trust. A perfect irony to top the icing. She felt tremendous anger followed by a dizzying pain. The small room got smaller. The smoke began to thicken. Her vision slowly began to blur and she started to lose ground. Her husband was moving towards her with arms outstretched.

 

“Let me explain, sit down”

 

“No” “no” she wanted to scream. But her voice wouldn’t come out. She felt a knot in her throat that seemed to tighten when she talked. She started to sweat profusely as the room started to spin around her. She felt her vitals crumbling from inside, churning the life out of them. She could see people talk but couldn’t hear them. All noise was muted to her. The last thing she heard was…..

 

“Stella” “Stella” “Stella”

One Last Time – Part 1/3

The bartender’s eyes widen. He shakes the shock off and retakes her order. “Please excuse me. I was stunned by what I saw”, he explains. She quietly blushes. He quickly prepares her drink. He offers it with a straw, and winks. A smirk that he makes no effort to hide.

 

Stella feels glad about being at the place and finds a quite table in the almost empty bar. Her husband is off to work and she’s here to relish a piece of solitude from her “me-time”. She’s been having a lot of “me-time” these days and that keeps her worried.

 

For what happened the last few times, still haunts her with guilt. Feelings of regret and remorse have etched into her heart. And she’s here to finish it off once and for all. One last time she’ll be indulging in the sin. She can’t do this to her marriage. She can’t do it to Harry. That’s why she has made up her mind to put an end to it, but her lust craves for one last time. “One last time” she repeats to herself. And takes a deep breath.

 

Feelings of guilt are quickly pushed aside when a loud group of hillbilly motorists, sitting at a table in a corner far away, can’t take their eyes off of her. They occasionally steal glances and laugh. One of them makes an obvious joke and they all burst into laughter. One of them whistles too. She hears the words: “fine”, “looks as sweet as sugar” and “what a shame!”. She feels quite flattered, quite glad she’s here. “I brought my ‘A game’ tonight”, she smugly smiles.

 

She visits a different bar each time and now she was worried if she gave her partner-in-crime the address right. What’s taking him so long? . Meanwhile she orders a hamburger and basket of fries. The waiter doesn’t make eye contact while he takes the order. He barely takes his eyes off the notepad. As if he’s afraid of revealing something. As if he’s quietly blushing. It adds to her complacence. “What a great start to a great end!”.

 

She starts to feel bored and frankly, a little dizzy. Something didn’t feel right and she didn’t know what. She was about to find out.

 

She gets up from her table and heads to the washroom, hoping that a face wash can set it right. She stops before a room while on her way, for she hears giggles and laughter coming from inside. Out of curiosity, she reaches for the door knob. The anxious bartender screams from behind, but it was too late.

My First Kill

 

Yes, I shot him. He was after all an enemy, wasn’t he?

I asked myself, am I inhuman for doing my job?

I looked into his eyes, they were moist.

Probably remembering his wife and kids back home, remembering those moments which led him to choose the path that resulted in his death.

So, I asked myself again, am I inhuman for depriving a child of her father, for depriving a wife of her husband?

I looked around and saw mutilated bodies; some were of friends’, some of strangers’.

So, I wondered, would this be my fate too?

All I know is, I’m a soldier and I have to kill and die for my country.