Halfway

Halfway eaten,her sandwich
nestles in its foil wrap.
The glow from her screen
gives light,
gives protection,
from the darkness outside.
The answering machine
beeps nonstop.
“14 unread message”
Her phone glares.
Her parents look on
from the family Christmas card,
on her desk
“Wish you were here honey”
A ritual of twenty seven years,
broken.
Six inches each,
as required,
her heels lie toppled over.
She lies next to them
makeup flawless,
motionless
unnoticed…
She stepped off the elevator
ten floors up
almost twelve hours ago.
Tired,her heart
will never step in again.

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Colours

Red,
the rose in my hand.
Blue,
the sky right now.
Yellow,
the leaves on the ground.
Black,
the vehicle he comes in.
White,
the shirt he happens to wear.
Colours,
that drained from his face,
that day.

He was crossing the road.
To the other side.

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The Dog Walker

There he goes again,
right on time,
like every other evening,
Sharp at six.
In his white sarong
and his grey shirt.
on the deserted street.
Pulling
but,mostly pulled
by the great grey hound,
the Master’s dog.
“He needs the exercise”
they say.
So the hound leads
and he follows quietly.
Sometimes,
as he tugs
he feels the leash,
tightening
around his neck.
Bit by bit.

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The Hug.

It was dark,as usual. It was darker than when you close your eyes. It was even darker than the inside of a train tunnel,the kind that seems to go on forever when your sitting in a train.
For a moment she saw. Just as on that day,on that train. She had chosen to look up from the book she was reading,at the precise moment he walked into the cabin. He smiled at her. And his eyes took hold of her soul. She almost went back to reading.But she couldn’t… she loved him too much. Something snapped. Trains,don’t think about trains. Back to the pitch black. She could feel it groping her twirling it’s long fingers around her neck,she could feel it seeping in thorough her nostrils. Suffocation was inevitable. Suddenly,somewhere a door opened. Light and fear rushed in, it had been so long,it made her blind. But it was only for a second. She was lying on her back staring up at the glaring sun.it was both warm and friendly. As her eyes adjusted to it,she could see him,lying next to her. His eyes were closed but she knew exactly what they looked like;they were electric blue and they always…always seemed to dance. The wind played with his soft sandy hair. It tempted her to join in,to tease him out of his moment of autumn bliss. But she loved him too much.
It began to shake and crumble into pieces…someone was trying to wake her up. She didn’t want to. She wanted to stay in the sun,feeling it’s warmth,for as long as possible. Maybe forever.
“Cathy please wake up! It’s me”
The voice made her resurface. It woke up her soul as it made its way through her ears into her heart.
As she opened her eyes she could barely see the outline of his face. He held a candle in his soft hands. He is the bringer of light,be it the candle or those electric eyes. She could see them;dancing with both fiery passion and deep sorrow.
He set down the candle and handed her a parcel. She barely looked at it. It was not the hope of food that had kept her alive for the past two days. It was the hope of seeing him. She set it aside and held her hand out.
Then she saw it. The room was light blue and it smelled of freshly brewed coffee. She was sitting on the sofa staring at her hand,she still couldn’t believe it. A sun ray bounced off the silver band on her finger tempting her to feel it’s pattern. She was afraid to disturb it moment of love. It was too early and she loved him too much.
Before she could say or do anything she felt his arms around her. His urgency snapped her back to the dark present. Hugging her tight. Weeks of starvation and lack of fresh air had made her shrink and shrivel into her bones. Yet he hugged her. Her clothes were torn and she was covered in her own filth. Yet he hugged her. She had a yellow star painted on her door and he had a swasthika. Yet he hugged her. His eyes were electric blue and her’s were Jewish brown. Yet he hugged her. And she hugged him back with all her might. For he was the bringer of light and…she loved him too much.
Somewhere a siren began its wailing. She looked up from the ground. She had been counting the number of steps. These might be the last she ever takes. A cool breeze tugged at her loose grey shapeless garment. It’s surprising how nature tends to toy with its creations. The breeze was freedom that was stolen from her…from them. That memory was the only thing that came into her mind as she walked into the large shed. That last hug. It gave her both the reason and the courage to walk out of that dark hole of a basement,while he was away. But it was so long ago,she has already accepted her fate then. So she chose to change his. She had to walk away, for she knew what would happen to him if they find out. If they find out they would take away his brightness. They would destroy his light. She had to leave…because she loved him too much.

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The Pink Lolly

As I look through the shop window,I could see him. Always on time. He walked down the block and crossed the road. Everyone on the street knew Mr.Jenkins. He was like a white drop of milk,in black coffee.Slowly mixing in. He had been in this country for long,you can see it in the way he walks,the way he talks and specially in the way he smiles. He walked up to the door. Although he is old Mr.Jenkins has this air of youth around him. Instead of opening it and walking in,he looked straight at me. And as I smiled at him,I knew I was in for a treat. You see,unlike many sour old foreigners who are either forced to live in third world countries due to poverty or sheer unluck,Mr Jenkins had this wonderful sense of acceptance paired with friendliness. And as usual he began to mime. Although being neither good nor accurate at it,he began a series of hand gestures and facial expressions. In a rather comical manner. After about three minutes I gave him a thumbs up. Which was the common signal to show that I had caught the jest of his miming. He walked in to the shop beaming. Although I knew what character he was playing,I always chose to amuse him. Because it would bring out that wonderful smile of his. Cyclist?Doctor?Magician?Clown? The list continued. And each time I got the answer correct he produced a pink lolly and handed it to me.For me it was better than receiving an Oscar. With each lick,my tongue would turn pink and my day would become brighter. This small routine of ours continued,very well into my teenage years.And every Saturday I would wait for him for he was always on time. Until I went off to university. When I came home I got to know that Mr.Jenkins had passed away. He had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis,for years. Then only did I realize how painful it would have been for him to perform his weekly miming acts. Yet he always managed to make me happy. A little boy sitting at a grocery shop counter,surrounded by mounds and mounds of spices. It was not the thought of the pink lolly that made me look forward to his visits as a child. It was always…always his smile. And now whenever I buy lollys for my kids,I remember him. Smiling at me through the glass shop door. Smiling his warm foreign smile. 20140311-064618.jpg