seemed so simple…ridiculously simple. Yes, now I see
what has happened. I am a fool, my mind says, I am fool to
thrashing against the windows compel me to allow it free passage
to engulf the small bedroom with its warm moist-deprived whole.
I looked beyond the darkness that stretched indefinitely over
the blackened fields interrupted by small patches of light
from petty make-shift bamboo huts, and a silvering lake that
gleamed from the oft-hidden moon. If I remained motionless,
I can almost hear the cries of dissatisfaction and miseries
emanating from the countless souls inhabiting along the perimeters
of the sunken field, segregating themselves in stench-filled
slums. Even the city, in the midst of its loneliness, exemplified
the state of my soul. We, alike, appeared disconnected and
disabled to rectify the deteriorating state of our milieus.
The presence of the wind in the bedroom soon jogged me out
of my pensive trance. I hastened to close the windows before
the wind wrecked havoc upon the meager furnitures. I noticed
the skies fast darkening into a purplish hue as if bruised
by an unforeseeable enemy. The smell of fresh monsoon rain
permeates the air. Ah, he always enjoyed the monsoon season.
He said once that the presence of the rain inspired him to
write better. He said that during nights when the skies are
howling and crying, he is at his best. A writer, is only as
good as his inspiration.
as more unwarranted reminiscences of him pervaded my mind.
No, I cannot allow memories to interfere now. Memories are
but fragments of lost happier times that are better left locked
and thrown in some inaccessible corners of the human abyss.
Tonight I shall not allow memories cloud my resolve, I must
away from the windows as the sky release itself. Torrents
of rain hurl against the windows, obstructing my view of the
outside world. As I walk out of the room, I catch a glimpse
of myself in the mirror. I stop and return to the mirror.
All I can discern is a shadowy figure cloaked in a sari that
is quickly coming undone. I angrily pull the sari around my
hips, tucking at the anchal. My face is partially shrouded
in darkness. I lean closer to the mirror hoping to trace my
face. But I only see a pair of glassy eyes staring back intensely.
I delicately trace the contours of my face, the sunken eyes,
the puffy cheeks, the once-ripe full lips. Suddenly angered,
I walk away from the mirror this time. I enter the room that
we labelled as a library. It is sparsely furnished with wooden
shelves lined against the walls, filled with books. I gingerly
brush my fingers against the books, recalling happier times
spent in purchasing them from New Market. The sound of a car
halting to a stop outside brings me back to the present world.
I rush to the windows just in time to see him sprinting across
the yard towards the building. It will be only mere minutes
till I hear the familiar keys jingling as he unlocks the door.
in front of the door just as he appears. I see he is thoroughly
wet as his linen shirt clings to his exposed body. The sight
is almost obscene and I turn my head.
weather," he mutters, as he angrily shuts the door and
throws his bag on the floor, "what a horrible time for
it to rain. God, Dhaka weather is so unpredictable".
past me into the bedroom, and I can still hear him muttering
incoherently to the empty walls. I shrug and walk to the kitchen
to heat his food. Lately, he has been in a foul mood just
about all the time. I wonder fascinated how the light of the
microwave screen manages to sting my eyes. Am I already accustomed
to the dark? I look for his shadows in the bedroom and wonder
why he has not mentioned anything about the darkness shrouding
bother heating the food, I've already eaten," he says
from behind me.
for letting me know," I reply softly.
at me but said nothing. Instead he switched off the microwave
and walked away. I realises that lately I have been seeing
a lot of his back. He always seems to be walking away from
me now. I want to make him stop and come back to me. I want
him to tell me everything is fine.
know she called today," I said.
The words did their trick; he stopped suddenly and turned
"She, who else. Who do you think I'm referring to? Are
there other shes that I should be privy to? "I childishly
"What did she say?" Though I could not discern his
face because of the darkness, his angry tone of voice allowed
me to visualise his annoyed expression. But it is I who should
be livid, I tell myself. I should be the one with the irate
in particular. Nothing really." I pause meaningfully,
"just to talk, I suppose".
that he turned around and continued walking away.
stifle me and refused to allow me any relief. The unbearable
humidity returns duly after the rain has stopped. I toss and
turn on the bed, hoping to catch some relief from the ceiling
fan. Yet even the fan seems disinclined to offer me any solace.
I stretches out my hand in order to urge him to re-open the
windows, but all I could feel is empty space on the bed. Without
checking to confirm, I realise that I am alone. In spite of
the sudden hollowness inside, I smile…When will I ever
dictates that arranged marriages lead to longevity and happiness.
But than you also have equal number of naysayers claiming
the opposite. Some even say it is not love that matters, but
that the longevity of a marriage depends on the faith of the
partners in them, in each other, and in the sanctity of marriage
as a holy institution. I can just imagine what they are saying
about us now. Oh look at Mr. and Mrs. Rahman. Fell in love
while in college in America. Returned to Dhaka and got engaged.
Mr. Rahman took over his family's garment business and Mrs.
Rahman got a top-notch job as a teacher in the country's premier
school. Married in less than a year in lavish wedding festivities
that continues to be the talk of the town. An example of blissful
matrimony. Match made in heaven. But a year into the wedding,
and the same tongues began prognosticating trouble between
the exemplary couple. Domestic troubles plaguing the young
Rahman household already. Such a young couple, shame they
rushed headlong into the marriage. Both are such headstrong
stubborn characters. Too westernised for their own good--attending
weekly parties, staying out till the wee hours of the morning,
drinking and frolicking in public. How shameful! No wonder
than that trouble is brewing in the home front. Now wife is
concerned that husband spends too much time living the "fast
life" without her. Husband ignores wife's worries and
continues his bachelor-like weekly excursions with close pals.
Wife does not accompany husband to parties any more. Rumor
is that husband is doing more than just harmless cavorting
with young girls at those parties. Some dare allege that husband
is sleeping with Sadie, causing strain between wife and her
childhood friend. When she last visited from New York, they
did not organise their annual charity function at Sonargoan.
Mrs. Rahman has lost so much weight recently, what a shame
to see such a beauty deteriorate. Husband and wife rarely
make public appearances now.
force myself out of the bed before succumbing to the drowning
heat. I re-open the windows and take respite in the dry demure
breeze that whizzes past into the room. I check the clock
to affirm the lateness of time. In a mere few hours, the skies
will lighten. I can already hear faint stirrings of the early
birds. I go to the library, where I find him in front of the
computer. He turns around to face me as my sari rustles against
I wake you?"
"No, I couldn't sleep. It's the heat..."
"You never could bear the heat here. You know at times
it can be a blessing."
He chortles and stretches out his hand to hold mine. He nuzzles
his face against my hand and gingerly kisses the palms. Excitement
and desire prickle throughout my body at his touch. I yearn
have to finish this story," he abruptly says, putting
my hands aside.
Startled, I remain standing wondering how erratic his moods
"Aren't you going to get any sleep tonight?"
"As soon as I finish this."
are you here then? You could have easily just spent the night
at your office, you know. You didn't need to trudge home to
do work!" I fling the angry words at him.
typing momentarily, leans back in his chair, and looks directly
"Not now. Don't start all over again," he softly
what? Start what all over again! You always push me away when
I want to say something. You never listen to me anymore. I
feel like I'm stuck in a limbo when it comes to us. I'm feeling
trapped. I feel that you don't care to see or hear me anymore,"
I angrily shout, feeling relief sweep my body as I finally
voice my thoughts, "and…and…you don't even
want to discuss what has…no…what is happening
between us now. You're in denial…and you expect me to
remain in denial as well!"
is the matter with you?" he asked harshly, panting heavily
as he tries to control his anger, "You feel trapped?
I'm the one who feels trapped here…not you! And what
do you mean by saying that I'm in denial…in denial of
what? Of who? What do you expect me to do? Can't you see that
I'm lost…I'm confused…I don't know how to rectify
this mess. But I don't need you to remind me about it every
bloody day. You're not the only one suffering here, you know,
we all are. But look at you, acting like a child, a spoilt
child! God knows what I ever saw in you anyway!"
his last words escape his lips, my hand swiftly slaps his
cheek. He grabs hold of me by my shoulders and roughly pushes
me towards the door. I wanted to continued, I wanted to kill
him right there and then! But knowing the violence I am capable
of wrecking, he hurriedly pushe me out of the room, and locked
know what awakened me again, but I found myself on my bed,
my pillows drenched with the many tears I shed after our altercation.
I did not dare venture out of the bed, lest I find that I
am alone. I cannot cry any longer, my body feels dry and my
head throbs with the heavy load. I cannot cry anymore, I feel
void and washed out. I wished that he can leave her and then
maybe we can begin afresh somewhere else, as far away as possible
from this god forsaken city. But he cannot bear to leave her,
now I understand. He loves her as much as he does me, if not
more. But he cannot bear to be without us both. And I cannot
bear to be without him. And she, I wonder what she thinks?
She must know now about us, yet she never confronted me about
him. No, instead she is going out of her way to ensure that
our paths never cross. When she does rarely calls, it is always
about some mundane issues. We both carefully and cautiously
skirt the real issues. But I suppose she suffers too.
I've been thinking, Sadie," his voice echoes from the
door, "I know something must be done about us…about
all of us. I just need time…I cannot stand if either
of you are hurt…but I do want to be with you…but…but
I also have to think about her too, you see….especially
now with the news of the baby…"
my eyes as fresh tears well up, but I only manage to softly
mutter, "Yes I see; but I still don't understand."
you cannot possibly understand now, can you? But that's okay.
Everything will be sorted out. Everything will be okay."
the bed, and slide under the sheets. He cradles me in his
arms, and whispers softly that he love me and will never leave.
We cry in each other's arms, each fearful of the uncertainty
of the future. We cry together because we cannot fathom the
conclusion of this pain. We cry together because we love each
other unbearably yet we know we cannot last any longer. We
cry together and fall asleep in each other's arms. I hug him
closer to my body, vainly hoping to stall the inevitable,
because I know he made his choice. In the morning he will
return to his family for the final time and then there is
no more us.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005