In response to the daily prompt Phase
The land-lady knocked on the door, insistent.
I remember her bustling the both of us inside, showing off the tin tub, the ratty heater and handwoven quilts. You caught my frozen fingers in your hand as she drew the blinds, flooding the room with bright sunshine. The room was musty, dismal and the bolt didnt quite catch properly.
It looked like paradise to the both of us. You winked at me as the matronly woman bustled about, bits of snow melting in your silver white hair. I blushed under the thick layers of wool you had bundled me in, and our veins hummed with the joy of a brand new phase.
The pendant on my neck was a beautiful white moon, and it shone, brightly, proudly at our exubereance. It was meant to stay perfect for as long as we were in love. I laughed at the idea, but your eyes were sincere when you put it around my neck.
The noise echoing into the wood, mixing with the heaviness in the air, starting me awake. She wished me gone, she didnt quite like me after you left, she didnt fancy the men tromping into my room at odd times.
She never minded you, heaven knows we made enough racket with our eager christening. You could never have enough of me, and sound echoed through the entire house. Something about our fire made her come alive though, she never seemed to mind.
I heard her grumbling away, staring listlessly at our, my, sorry little stove.
I think of your lips on my fingers after I scalded them, burning our first meal of runny stew. I am mesmerised by the tongues of fire caressing the underside of my mid-day meal, “What is cooking in your head, oh what is cooking in your head.”
There is no use crying about it, queenlings, underlings, pretty princess parrotting, pirruetting, prancing, poledancing, phasing in and out of the life cycle.
Out of phase, the first chance. Try again, and again, till we are in tune. In phase, resonating through the corridors, cavorting, callous, climaxing, conjoined, coexisting in each other’s heart.
I remember the strain on your face, as you sat me on your lap. Your eyes seemed dark, apologetic as you told me how happy you were, how happy we must be, you got in- the job you loved more than me.
You’d return for me, you promised while I shook and shook in terror, the terror of being alone. My body was turning cold, my fingers freezing as you uncurled them from yours.
Tuning into your station at night, my bending my mind to your shapes, fitting into perfect waves, running, running till you receive me and I drown in your arms into the electric fizziness of your dreams.
I admire in my lazy fingers the slowly corroding circle of my pendant, one side darkening imperceptibly., like an eclipsing moon.
Dance, the lily drops dew that tastes like sunday, the kind of sunday that doesnt have strawberry topped crepes or family picnics. Our future two time zones, always ahead of each other, never matching. The sunrise to my sunset, I post mails in morse on the craters of the moon,
I hope the clouds deliver them right:
dotdot dotdashdotdotdashdashdashdotdotdotdashdot dashdotdashdash_dashdashdashdotdotdash
It is hard to say “I love you” when you are so far away.
Did I find you in the symphonies you sent me over the phone line, buzzing with strange static that counted out the ticking clock of money, our words making ka-chings for Graham Bell? Did I save the dried rose you sent along with your hurriedly written letter that was creased and yellow because of the number of times you had reconsidered posting it?
One morning I woke up to find half the moon from my neck gone, a letter was lying under the door. The white envelope glared at me, my fingers turning blue.
In the end the letter was simple, short:
We have grown out of tune.
The moon lost your letters, the sky was clear, so I only got the dots.
I couldn’t fight the distance,
Please don’t write to me anymore.
Your lover from across the universe.
I stare at our ghosts who live in the room, ignoring me, our past laughing and squealing in delight, painting the world in quicksilver feet and kisses of pure happiness.
I walk slowly now, feeling the grains of worn wood under my bare toes, the sensations born out of non-living things. I make love to myself, lying by the doormat, counting the tiny globes of mud, a collection of everywhere I had been, and of the men who had been inside me. The mud from their boots, their scars on my cheeks, dried tears and swollen eyes. I caress my limbs on the open verandah, coiling so close you would think I am a knot coming undone.
My hair forms an undulating halo around my face, laid back in archaic steel tub, the forgotten soap making bubbles as it frothed down my hair. My nose bobbing on the surface, opening my eyes in the flood, I smell the transparent water tickling my nose. I blow a hapless stream of air, drink drink soap suds till my lungs are on fire and my nose has begun a war.
The tug of my chain as it floats upwards, the moon fizzing out, phasing into its last days.
The disjointed words, that lie around me, miscarried children, their red mouths and bulbuos blue heads that leave the guests uncomfortable. I am a bad hostess. Sometimes my mouth spills dots and dashes instead of words, slowly the guest list begins to shrink. My RSVPS never arrive, and the champagnes lie uncorked, fizzing inside its prison; showing solidarity from its dark glass windows.
The thin cresent moon, barely a sliver of white that hangs between my breasts, a platinum reminder of full-moons and romantic holidays.
A reminder of non-static conversations, flights, midnights in broad daylight.
As I pack my suitcase, my only regret is that the inevitable eclipse came too soon.