Sunday, April 13, 2008

Esmerelda

I arrive at the door and pause briefly to catch my breath before heading through to face whatever is going to happen next. I've spent the journey running through the procedures, the drills, the options I think I've got, but I know that whatever happens next may surprise me, could be the situation that lurks at the bottom of every cup of tea I drink for the rest of the day.

I'm ready.

I knock quietly, but enter decisively when there's no response and look around, expecting to find you somewhere obvious.

You aren't.

I pause at the door, searching for you, and find you where I least expect. You're on the floor, partially obscured by the duvet which has fallen off the double bed in the centre of the room - it looks recently slept in, the covers wrinkled and askew but cold to the touch. I'm temporarily halted by a sensory memory of the feeling of sliding in between cool, clean sheets at the end of a long, hot day, and when I bring myself back, grudgingly, to this dim and abandoned-feeling room, I worry briefly about how long I may have been standing and what you may be thinking about my strange behaviour.

With a sinking heart I realise I need not have worried.

You're blue.

Your eyes are open. They stare up - wide and huge, archetypally beautiful, with lashes which stretch up and out like feathers or wings. Your eyes stare up. Beautiful, black and lifeless.

I want to stop, be shocked and let my emotions stretch their legs. I want to wonder why you're on the floor and almost hidden, but I know I don't have time. Yet. So I move quickly, bending down and hitching my trousers up slightly at the knee to kneel beside you. I feel for a pulse, but there is none. Your skin feels... wrong. It is rubbery, thin and stretched tight like a balloon and it is neither warm nor cold, but simply wrong.

I notice with a lurch that your fingers are floppy, as blue as your face and utterly lacking in resistance or structure. I pinch you hard, and the slight squeak I hear initially makes my heart lurch back in the right direction, until I realise it was just the sound of the air within you shifting slightly.

I sit back on my heels, rubbing my eyes and pushing my glasses out and up and over my forehead.

I know there's nothing I can do, maybe could ever have done - you are who you are, and I can only question in dreams what might be if I had taken you with me.

But I didn't and that's for me, not you, to live with.

Standing up, my joints creaking, I turn and walk away, leaving you where you lie. As I close the door gently I feel your eyes on my back.

Wide, beautiful and black.


4 comments:

Canadian Girl said...

That was fabulous! Thanks for bringing a smile to my day.

Reading your profile made me smile, too: I have a daughter named Cara and a dog named Loki.

Aarayan said...

Canadian Girl: Thank you so much! I love it when people leave me comments :)

What a bizarre co-incidence about your daughter and your dog: no sari's in your family?

Sewmouse said...

What an awesome job of "channeling" our mutual friend!

Esmerelda is adorable. Reminds me of a friend my Daughter used to play with in restaurants while we waited for our food - we called it "The Spidididder"

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