The Come Back – Chapter 28
by Anita Menon
‘Perhaps the most pernicious irony about life is that we can attain some ideal by the practice of its opposite. Well, sometimes it becomes imperative that we ought to destroy something in order to save it. ….
Just as she paused to think of what next to write, she looked around her. It was the same room, her study where she wrote all the time, that is before she had her children.
“My children” , she spoke aloud to make it really sink into her skin and let the feeling drip, drop by drop into her whole being. She was back and strangely enough she did not feel like she had ever left. Her daughters were grown up now and Anna took after her in physical resemblance but Ash was still the same. Distant and aloof. She knew why because they were twin souls. She and her.
‘…. but not often it is possible to explain why one does what one does.’
“Molu, what about us? When will you write about us?”, her apparition -like father, bloodless and colorless sat next to her and inquired.
“Appa, you ought to leave me alone sometimes. You cannot sneak on me like that. I know I have to and I will. Someday. Before you actually disappear. I see amma has disappeared. I hope she wasn’t too angry.” , said Maya with all the empathy she could gather. The father walked out of the study.
“Hello. Ummm… I hope you are comfortable here. ”
Maya looked up to see a kindly old lady in a printed dress standing in front of her. She tried to retrace if it was a new character that had suddenly made appearance begging her to write a story. She shuffled her feet and tried to get back to her writing, wishing and hoping that the character would disappear if she gave it no attention at all. She had no time to spare because there were too many that were asking her time. It was a technique that she developed a few years ago, using which she was able to turn away many such characters because she wanted to focus on something important that time.
” If you need anything do let me know. I will be around just until after supper”, the voice now getting a little shriller and beckoning Maya to answer.
Maya looked up at the soft brown, smiling eyes and the neatly arranged woman and realized she was for real and not her a character from her head. She stood up and stood awkwardly and nodded. This had to be the housekeeper, Mrs. P. Why had she missed her completely before, Maya wondered. Mrs. P took Maya’s hands in hers and held them firmly in hers. The warmth from the pillow-y, creased hands felt like a balm to Maya. Mrs. P let go off her hands before Maya had the chance to do so. For once, Maya did not feel uncomfortable. She knew her children, under Mrs. P’s care would have only flourished. While Maya was in her home in India, she never gave herself many opportunities to evaluate her actions. She never made any personal connections because she did not want to discuss her past life with anyone which in turn would have forced her to re evaluate. That her decision was what it was and going back there wasn’t a thing she would have changed, remained firmly planted like a large oak tree. That oak tree grew large and strong taking over her thoughts, leaving no room for recollection or reminiscence. In those times when she did feel a pang of what felt like loneliness, her characters poured in from all directions to make her feel she had company no matter where ever she went. Her children crossed her mind every single moment that she had to herself but pushed them away at the corner of some tiny space in her heart and locked it away. She knew she was doing the right thing.
Mrs. P smiled warmly and turned to leave but hesitated for a second and turned around to ask, ” Did you miss them?”
Maya realized it was not a taunt or any attempt to be derisive towards her but a genuine question that begged to be answered. She could tell from the lovely golden hue around Mrs. P; the kind of hue only a person completely devoid of malice would have.
“Yes, I did.”, Maya answered earnestly and turned to sit back at her seat and pretended to be absorbed in her work.
Mrs. P turned around and walked out of the study with her printed dress swishing behind her, keeping with her pace.
Maya wanted to get back to her colourful words but it seemed they had blanked out. She was shocked at what had happened. Her letters that were colourful and sparkly just a few minutes ago weren’t ready to move. She stubbed her pen on the paper couple of times but still, nothing. She leaned back on her chair and thought about the day she had just landed. She came to an empty house and felt like someone had played a prank on her. She looked around but nobody seemed in sight. Dr. Abelhammer met her just when she was feeling lost and got her on board regarding all the unfortunate events of the day. Somewhere she felt a deep tug on hearing about James’s condition and she rushed to the hospital to see him, along with Dr. Abelhammer. Why did she worry about him now when she didn’t quite do so back in India? Probably, now that she was so close to meeting him, all the emotions that she thought were gone had resurfaced. When she saw him bundled in wires and tubes and shrouded all over by a colour that resembled ash, she felt broken. But then she saw the ash colour dissipate to a blank white and she knew it was over. But slowly that white dissolved and a faint golden glow covered him. She knew that he had spotted her and she knew it was going to be alright. For the time being.
‘Why did he ask me to come back? He would have nothing but cold-blooded hatred for me. He would have turned our daughters against me as well.’
What, after so long, did he want out of her? She came because she was intrigued but after having seen him, she realized she still felt so strongly for him. She was convinced, she would feel uncomfortable in the house that she called her home, once but nothing of that sort was happening. It was warm and welcoming just as it was when she left it. Her daughters were aloof at the hospital. Anna refused to look at her and wouldn’t bear to be in the same room as her. But what confused her was, Anna’ s hue told a totally different story. It reeked of confusion, self-doubt and a strange restlessness; a dark to pale green. On the other hand, her older daughter ignored her while being in the same room. It was like Ash did not mind her presence but wouldn’t make any attempt to talk to her. Maya preferred it like that too. She was relieved to see a pearly white glow and sometimes a strong silver around Ash. She realized what those emotions were immediately. Maya had no idea how to react to that emotion and so she kept her distance from Ash. It felt like they weren’t the children she had left behind. They were all grown up and behaved like persons whom she wouldn’t wish to know more about. They weren’t that part of her that she wrote letters to say good byes but some strange individuals who supposedly were her daughters. But the realization that she was back with her children, tugged her from her inside and waves of overwhelming emotions were washing her out. Maya did not know how to feel about them but she was glad to see them and make comparisons with her own young self, some twenty years ago. She never thought she would ever see them again but now that she had, she did not feel like losing a waking moment away from them. But they seemed to drifting away for obvious reasons.
“All colours settle and it was just a matter of time”, she said aloud to herself. She was patient, for she knew, sooner than later, they would come to her to ask her questions. She had plenty to say to them but the only thing that worried her was would she be able to find the right colours.