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The delusion of love   3 comments

“Why do I have to be guilty for my feelings?”, she thought as she rode furiously through the brittle wind on the pavement. It was almost morning. The darkness and the frequent cobblestones made it even harder to focus on the road. “I want a break…from this man…from all men…from this line of thought that they are perpetually deaf”. She was even more angry now. Her jaw was tight and her eyes shone with tears, more from emotion than the frigid wind. Mercifully she had reached the lake in the city center that was flanked by hills on the other side. She slung her backpack off her sore shoulder and brought out the bread for the birds. The swans and seagulls fought as she threw crumbs at them. She threw them even more violently aiming at the spaces between them. One would think she was mad. “Oh but I am! Mad at the stupid men who cannot listen”, she thought in reaction. She wondered what delusion she was suffering from. She unzipped her jacket and leaned on a ledge, as the cold air gushed to fill in the warm spaces created in her body from the activity. She contemplated about how belligerent she was when she confessed her feelings to someone. Like cards caught in a gust they fell…one by one…every man she had confessed her true feelings to. “What do I really want with them?”, she gazed out at the ducks searching for the leftover crumblings since the swans and the gulls had moved out. “Why do I keep attracting men not wanting to be with me for good – men who were commited elsewhere – to their career, to their other life, to their spiritual path, to everything but companionship? Where am I like this? Am I wanting something other than what I am?”. She stowed her cycle in one of the stands, locked it, and headed towards the gardens. Above her suddenly a seagull swooped low, and took a sharp dive right in front of her. She stopped, startled, and saw it pick up one of the crumbs that she had accidentally dropped. “What am I missing here? I wish I could sit on this seagull’s back and watch my life from above”, she sighed.

The gardens were just turning green and tender yellow daffodils were shyly waking up from their shoots. They seem to have “returned” rather than be new ones. Here was reincarnation happening at a rapid pace. No wonder they had no sorrow at being lost. They knew it would be year after year they would be born from the same shoot. “Why am I so delusional?”, she thought angrily. All her life she had waited to “grow up” not knowing what that had meant exactly. Now that she was “old” enough, she was still clinging on to what was right and what was wrong. She still wanted to battle her loneliness inspite of having lived and survived it for so long. She wanted not time, but affection. But she also wanted a regularity to her feelings. She missed that constancy, a promise that someone will be there for her when she needed him. And yet, in so many ways, she had not found anyone holding this truth. She also wanted space that this someone could stay out of her hair and stop putting demands on her choices and straddle her for an opinion on everything and everyone. Is there someone who can listen and hold the space for her?

She walked through the beautiful labyrinth made of pearly white stones and poppies. The sun had come up and was washing the land like a gentle father waking up his little snuggling children. Her hands and feet had turned cold. She reached the center – a spiral of water, like a conch, that emptied itself into a cavity. She closed her eyes. The mist emptied itself onto the leaves. A light fragrance filled her olfactory. It almost reached her ears. Thoughts – like ether can only be felt. Not seen or touched. It was an unusually quiet morning. Slowly the tears started to flow. She let the fragrance do the comforting. It weaved its wand over her entangled heart. A pigeon perched nearby cooed and started turning around. The head is only at rest when it finds the shoulders it grew up on. Why so much mystery then? She ached. She had to decide and walk away from these mythical men. She had to be her man for now. And she had to forgive herself for choosing this story. She breathed deeply and opened her eyes. In front of her the mountains stood still and alone, inspite of each other. They were perfect and more beautiful because of their asymmetry. Each had its own character though the snow was melting evenly from each of them. She brushed another tear out of her eyes and headed back. She found herself carefully stepping onto the slippery cobblestones. Spring had just begun.

Posted April 15, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in short stories (fiction)

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