Death Warmed Over

21 Oct

One wonders if all endings begin this way. When, as if by mere routine, words are spilled, severing frayed ropes, and the universe doesn’t come crashing down, and remains in startling suspension instead. Particles flash-freeze whilst orbiting the present and you join them willy-nilly, mouth agape, eyes puzzled, the back of your voice small and bewildered.

But I haven’t finished washing all the curtains yet, you want to say. And there’s that curry still out of the fridge. Aren’t you proud I put on the futon cover all by myself, cursing softly as my back strained against its cottony bulk? There are tea lights wrapped on the dressing table, you point out, certain he won’t notice, although the baked-apples-and-cinnamon scent would give away their hiding place to a more observant soul. And the cook has a new green dish to match his Thai curry. Stacks and stacks of diyas in traffic light colors. Mounds of pedas and jalebis with their burst of sweetness. Marigold garlands to match the centre chattai, its gilt edges complementing the patterns on the cushions. The missing urli I coveted with the single-mindedness of the barren.

Who will receive that call from Westside, asking to pick up the new jali bench? Will you tell the man I hounded all week before Diwali that I was an apparition and am now exorcised? Can you tell our friends in passionate detail how the pearly white of its new cushions was meant to offset that of the futon? Put away our pictures, take down the lights, the faux toys of the lamp hanging mock the silence, the plants remain unsung to, crumpled at the edges, the sea we gazed at spooningly an outsider in its home.

But you’ll see me in the fold of the coverlet, hear my song in your drawer of holey socks. My toothbrush lies there, brittle and waiting, and the shampoo you used to smell of me. You’ll discard slippers in defiance, but my voice won’t cease to drone. And my spirit will wander in that restless hour when the sun’s last rays grudgingly dim.

Maybe all endings begin this way. But those curtains, they’re only half washed. Put them in a spin cycle, won’t you? For I am frozen still.

13 Responses to “Death Warmed Over”

  1. Mom Gone Mad at 11:02 pm #

    I don’t know any blogger who can do this. Mangle words out of their customary shape and make them shine.

    Brilliant OJ:-) I love.

  2. iz at 1:49 pm #

    My god OJ! I’ve been thinking this too. Gina too left things this way. And I don’t know if she’s even around to know that we’re trying to tell people about the cushions, the deadlines and the fact that we still can’t let go.

  3. sukanya at 6:31 pm #

    i second…MGM..this post gave me goose bumps. Beautiful OJ!

  4. Orange Jammies at 10:55 pm #

    Mom Gone Mad: It’s a chain reaction, hon. Life–>me–>words 😉 All mangled.

    iz: I’m sure she’d appreciate the efforts being made. Big hug.

    sukanya: Thank you, Sukanya.

  5. Once again, you took my breath away!

  6. dipali at 10:18 am #

    My superlatives all seem overused and inadequate. This also chilled me to the bone.

  7. Orange Jammies at 2:04 pm #

    M4: Now if only more people of the opposite gender said that.

    dipali: I’m hoping the next post will thaw them bones a little.

  8. Vidya at 2:50 pm #

    You’re no writer.You’re a painter.One who evokes images of such breathtaking emotion and beauty that people simply drink it in,all the while speechless.
    Wow,OJ,wow! 🙂
    great work.

  9. Orange Jammies at 11:27 am #

    Vidya: Honey, with a paintbrush, I am scary. The only reason I passed art in school was because Dad stayed up until midnight, touching up all my blobby disasters. But thank you anyway! 😉

  10. Eveslungs at 8:09 pm #

    OJ wandered in from Ana’s . Frightening and so final

  11. Orange Jammies at 12:18 am #

    Eveslungs: You’re telling me. I almost died typing this one. 🙂

  12. Anindita at 11:47 am #

    Beautifully written and very sad, OJ. It’s not even noon and you’ve got me all teary.

  13. Orange Jammies at 9:46 am #

    Anindita: But I made you smile with the other one! That counts, doesn’t it? 🙂

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