You Tell MeA Story by Rashmi
She likes eating out on rooftop cafes. She likes sitting out on terraces and lounging in balconies. She likes looking out of the airplane windows. She likes looking out of most windows. In fact, she loves everything to do with the sky, but especially the night sky. As a child, she would sleep on the terrace of her grandmother’s house in the summer and fall asleep dreaming about travelling through the stars. Not in a spaceship like an explorer, or on a broom like a witch, but rather like another star, as if she belonged there in her own lonely way. The thought would thrill her and scare her, as, lulled by the cool night breeze, in the half-state between conscious and sub-conscious, she would let the breeze carry her into the beyond. She would often lie down flat on her back, staring at the stars and think… I don’t see the houses and the trees, what if they are not there at all. In fact, all I see is a rectangular patch of concrete and never-ending bejeweled blackness. She liked to imagine that she was alone on a rectangular piece of grey concrete, hurtling through the universe. Later, of course, she learned she was quite accurate, except for one small discrepancy. The flat rectangle was actually a humungous sphere and she was far from alone on it.
Today is St. Valentine’s Day, which doesn’t really mean anything to her, but she likes seeing her sweetheart so this was an excuse as good as any. She wanted to have a quiet evening in as usual, but he, as usual wanted to dress nice and go out and eat good food and have fine wine, and today she didn’t feel like saying no. But sitting here on this rooftop café in the semi-dark, a strong breeze blowing, listening to his monologue on how life is too short to be slept away, smiling at him and the sky in turns, she was glad she had come. Even the slightly nauseating music they were playing there didn’t spoil her mood.
She again thinks of the café, hurtling on its own through the universe, and imagines, affectionately, a whole lot of mishaps happening to it, all of very spectacular nature. She imagines it getting hit by meteors and the like, and even an alien invasion. When she tries visualizing alien creatures though, her imagination throws up its hands.
Most days, she dislikes being lectured, even more so if it seems justified. But tonight, she quite enjoys it. She agrees with everything this earnest-faced, deep-voiced man says, even as she knows he’s sometimes like a baby to her, sometimes like an alien itself, and sometimes even like a piece of furniture and she feels he has no fathomable emotions at all. But she sees today, as she does so many times, why she is in love with him, and it surprises her that it always surprises her. He is wise, and sad; and he wants her to be alive, not just keep breathing. He wants it so much that it hurts him, and eventually her. And today she sees it, in the perfect setting of night sky, cold breeze, humor, love and a tinge of sadness and nostalgia for the life she will leave behind. For under the magnificence of such a cruel heaven, and the feeling of such joyous insignificance, it is laughable that she ever thought she could spend all of the small time she has, dreaming. Her dreams are beautiful, yes, but they need to see the light of day, even if as ink on paper. She feels the fear and inertia still gripping her bones but she knows they are troubled. At this moment, the idea of rent, electricity bill, even having to afford food and cigarettes amuses her.
He has told her what she had kept hearing, but needed to be here at this place and at this moment to listen. I love you, she says. I love you, he says, with a happy and unsure smile. For he has said these very words so many times before.
© 2012 Rashmi
Added on May 4, 2012
Last Updated on May 4, 2012