Tag Archives: child

After the War Part 2: She was a good mother

Madame Augustine Roulin With Baby by Van Gogh The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Madame Augustine Roulin With Baby
by Van Gogh
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On a sunny day, on my way to the shop, I passed by the garden I admired for the lavish green it enclosed. On that day, amidst the leaves and trees, there were sorrowful faces. After so many years, the three orphans were once again gathered under the same roof. Yet this time the woman who had gathered them was in a wooden box they were carrying towards a pit in between the shrubs.

Years ago, the woman in the box had taken them in one by one and offered them a home. Now, after a long time, they were together, thanks to her.

Of the three orphans, especially the girl had left an impact on my memory. I remember clearly the day she was brought to the old woman’s house. Her large dark eyes were shining with fear on her tiny face where tears had made pathways through dried up blotches on her cheeks… on the cheeks that had known nothing but caresses until that day. She looked tired and small in worn out dusty clothes.

I probably remember her so well because of her mother.

Years ago, her mother came to my shop with red puffy eyes. I had seen her around a few times but never had a chance to start a conversation. My shop had been a popular spot the townspeople liked to frequent. They were eager to spend their newly acquired wealth on goods they had never seen before.

Once the war broke out, my customers dwindled. So did the supplies delivered to my shop and I was left with considerable time to listen to stories.

On one such day, she entered my shop with swollen eyes. I asked her if she would like to sit down. She responded with tears and her story that had brought her there. She poured out the string of events one after another with the insatiability of those who are overwhelmed by an accumulation of experiences they cannot quite make out what to do with. She needed to hear them herself by speaking them out loud.

Thus, she began talking. She had moved from her family’s home where she had spent her whole life to our town a few months ago with her husband whom she had met only a month before their wedding. At her new dwelling, in between the alien surroundings, she had to learn to share everything, from her food to her bed, with a complete stranger. So to learn, she watched. She watched this man until all terrifying strangeness about him became a source of comfort. She observed him up to the point where a new life in a new town did not appear so daunting as long as he was present.

Then, a few days ago her husband had left to join the fight and she had lost the only person she knew in this town she had moved to for his sake.

From that day on, I became her confidante for the next three years. I was there when she received news from the front. I held her hand when she found out her home town had been hit by a deadly attack. I was by her side when she came to the realization that she would not be receiving any news from the front anymore. I reassured her as gunfire approached closer day by day.

I was also there when she found out she was going to be a mother. I witnessed her joy when despite everything, she told me about her dreams and hopes for the little bean growing in her.

At a moment when she had no one left, she was eager to embrace her child, to reformulate her existence and grow roots strong enough to hold them upright whatever may strike their little family. I knew, in spite of the war, the dirt, the destruction of everything good, she was ready for her child. Despite the ugliness of fast approaching blood thirst, she wanted to bring her baby up to be aware of others, thoughtful, sensitive and with belief in a safe future.

I knew she was ready to give everything for her little child. I knew it from the way she wrapped her little baby’s hands around her fingers. I knew it from the way she considered tomorrow, and from the way she thought about years to come. I knew it from the way she held her child when her house was destroyed in an air raid and from the way she was holding her little girl when the bullet hit her. I knew it from her dried blood on her daughter’s face when the little girl was rescued from under her lifeless body.

Now, looking at the young strong woman’s sad face in the garden, standing by the grave of another who brought her up to adulthood, I cannot help but think of that friend who felt strongest holding her little daughter.

Word Count: 824

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Some things are best forgotten

He kissed her lips and slowly made his way down to her neck and planted soft pecks below her ear. She felt her cheeks flushing with read heat under the familiar smell of his skin. She let his safe warmth carry her breath to a faster pace, and enjoyed her body tingling with eagerness as his touches lost their softness and became more lustful. The blood their bodies pumped filtered all sounds, and only left the fast beat of their hearts echoing in their ears. One by one they forgot their surroundings, their pasts, their regrets, their sorrows…

Then he sighed, letting out a slight sound, reminiscent of a possum threatening an enemy in the darkness of the night and she remembered…

She remembered the rainy day when her friends were away on vacation and she had gathered her toys to play alone in the abandoned little house where neighborhood kids used to get together and pretend to be royalty holding dinners for lords and duchesses. She was surprised to see a man working on the soil right outside in the garden, but she continued to the house, thinking he was the uncle of one of her friends planting flowers for the kids to pick in summer.

She set up the tiny broken plates with the sticks the kids pretended to be valuable silver cutlery. She went on to prepare the delicious invisible food for her guests, who for the lack of her real friends that day, had to be invisible, too. Every one of her select invitees seated around the gold plated table, sipping the soup under the crystal chandelier, were baffled with the perfection she had attained in her cooking. She accepted the quiet praises of her guests, while keeping up with the talks about the dark enemy that lingered around the premises of the castle. She ascertained her dear friends that everyone was safe within the tall strong walls.

Carried away in her imaginary talks with her refined guests, she did not notice the dark figure watching her by the gate of her castle. She was startled when she saw the man working on the soil outside dripping wet in the same room as her.

He smiled, she smiled back. He approached her, walking through the unseeable gold plated table, dispersing the lords and duchesses dressed in tulle and taffeta into fumes and grabbed her by the arm, but his hands being wet, she managed to slip away. She felt an urge to get away from him and stand by the few guests he had not yet walked over. He was in the mood to play tag. She did not want to be rude but she wanted to go back to her game under the shiny crystal chandeliers with her dreamy friends.

He was faster though, and he caught her. He towered behind her, and hugged her small body, but tighter than her parents had ever done. He smelled her hair, but fiercer than anyone who had ever smelled her and squeezed her yet completely flat chest, and let out a deep sigh with a sound that made her think of angry possums at night.

She did not like this strange game she had never played before.

The rainy day helped her win the tag game. She slipped one last time from his wet and cold possum snare and ran out of the deserted house never to return there again.

She never had the heart to invite her tulle and taffeta clothed friends because the castle with the strong walls and shiny chandeliers no longer seemed plausible, no matter how hard she tried.

In the silence of the bedroom, she heard her neighbor play his nostalgic music, “look for the girl with the sun in her eyes”, and she realized that the last time she had the sun shining in her eyes was on that rainy day, just before the dark enemy made its way through the castle walls.

Her lover held her tightly in the bed, and slowly dozed off. In his affectionate embrace, she felt small, like she had on that day in the man’s grip, and she thought, “Some things can’t be forgotten…”

Thank you my dear friend Priscilla for your extremely helpful review.

Verdict on my first piece of fiction: Disconcerting

Painting by Caravaggio Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caravaggio_-_San_Gerolamo.jpg
Painting by Caravaggio
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caravaggio_-_San_Gerolamo.jpg

I read somewhere about the first stories people had written and I thought of my first recorded piece of fiction. Plus, considering it is the first day of the new year, I thought it might be appropriate to blog about it.

I wrote it in my first year at school, right after I had figured out letters and what happens when they come together. You reckon it would be about rainbows or a little girl who wants to be a princess, right? No. In my terrible hand writing with loads of spelling mistakes, and lines all over the page, there lay the story of a boy who secretly takes drugs he is hiding in a cabinet. In the end, he dies.

Final verdict: It is disconcerting for a 7 year old kid, isn’t it? Well, why were my parents not disconcerted when they read this? Probably they were relieved to see that I had finally figured out how to read and write. I think I was the last one in my class. (You know those people who learned to read when they were 3? Hell, probably you are one of them. Well, I am among the few that learned to read at school, where I was supposed to.)

We should take lessons from our pasts. What this past experience has taught me is that I ought to have gone to bed when I was told to do so.