Saturday, 28 March 2009

Lost and Found

She had collected them over the years, those unwanted jewels, and hoarded them away carefully where no one would see. Fragments of memory buried deep in the sand that she found and took home. She had examined them in the dark, rolling each round and round in her hands, deciding, yes, this I will keep, and this, and this. Milky white pebbles shot with gold. Coral branches stained turquoise and ruby red. Tightly curled conch shells which told her rosy secrets about the sea.

Each precious. Each beautiful.

Now she stood at the shore, the pockets of her thin blue dress weighed down by their burden. A strong wind whipped against her legs and blew eddies on the sand. The tide was in and the dark waters surged close. She was quite alone. One by one she picked them out, her treasures, and, with a practiced flick of her wrist, sent them sailing far out to sea. She counted under her breath and the waves kept time.

Splash. This was a bedtime story she once told herself.

Splash. Here was a bruised knee from long ago.

Splash. There went a torn littlegirl slipper with a rubber butterfly on the strap.

Splash. These were many evenings spent in futile rage.

Splash. This was a poem, hopeful and fragile, written for nobody.

Splash. Here was a white lie that lived in the cobwebs, followed by more of undefinable colours.

A pocketful of fancies of all shapes and sizes, shining with the promise of bittersweet romance. Rubbed almost perfect by her small, trusting hands. Splash.

One by one they flew past the reef, skipped on the water, once, twice, and sank beneath the foam. Her aim was very good. Soon her hands were empty. The sea still thundered and beat against the rocks but she did not stop to listen. As she walked home, she did not look back once.

When she arrived the fire had been lit and a stew was bubbling on the flame. She kicked off her shoes. He passed her a dish and spoon. They helped themselves, scalding their tongues on the hot gravy. They talked, and she told him about her day. He did not ask questions, for which she was glad. The night wore on. The faraway rumble of the tide quietened down to be replaced by a silence that needed no explanation. The moon came out to watch them and lingered a moment on the used dishes, the rusty crates, the tangle of shoes and rope and fishing line. It followed their trail and settled finally on the little pile of pebbles, grey and unremarkable, heaped beside the open door. The moon noted that there was no poetry in them, no colour that she could see. Those two silly creatures had picked the lot up that very morning and carried them away like triumphant conquerors. And here they were now, so very plain, so ordinary. Already worn smooth and warm by the pressure of two pairs of hands.


SPIRITed! said...

There are some stories that you cant relate to, yet they are everything to you. Stories that make you think of something you cant put your finger on. Stories that make you want to do what the characters are doing, make you want to get out of your monotonous life and adopt theirs, however monotonous they might be, too.

This was one such story.

Priyanka said...

subjectively, the timing of your posts astonishes me.

objectively, i wish i could remember what this reminds me of.

either way, beautiful.


Death On Two Legs said...

It is exciting to discover genius at such close quarters.

You know, there was this time I went to Gujarat for a holiday. In Dwarka, my friend and I decided to explore the beach, and we entered a world of craggy black rocks with footholds and crevices, sand-mounds and little pools of water where sea-creatures darted about. It was like stepping into a fairytale.

And the sunset made it all the more magical.

Sahana said...

Remind me again how you can be someone who writes THIS, and also talks at length about doibyo haga and suchlike... *shakes head, mystified*

Prince of Mirkwood said...

Aantlami! I never get it. Well written though...oh well, there are a lot of things I don't get! :)

blinknmiss said...

@ Shreya:
Thank you. I get that feeling about a lot of things, but wasn't sure I could make somebody else feel it too.

@ Priyanka:
Why does it astonish you? This was prolly written sometime before my Bangla exam. It had to happen :)

@ Anushka:
It is bewildering to be called a genius when all you've done is tell the truth. Thank you nonetheless.

@ Sahana:
Whenever you think I'm being too much of a literary pain, just mention doibyo haga. I couldn't possibly be like this all the time. Not at all healthy.

@ Noor:
Aantlami na! Oof! Ok, maybe a little bit. It was just something I had to get off my chest! Glad you enjoyed it though :)

full tilt said...

this tastes lovely with cool, soft jazz. i don't know whether you meant it to. just thought i'd tell you.

Sahana said...

Could you get some sort of profile? Because you don't have facebook, and I sometimes have random things to say that I refuse to put up on comments like this.
Thank you.