Temperaments of the mind

by ashwinia


The bus trotted along the curvy roads at a pace that made her wonder if she could jog faster. The constant droning sound that the bus had been making was no more noticeable; it had blended well with the resonance of the evening wind. It was an orange-yellow-brown day, quite typical of autumn. Everything moved slowly, she could feel the dreariness and grimness of the evening. She couldn’t see the sunset; it could be seen from the window across the aisle. Even the peculiar passengers that had earlier put in a hankie through the window of the arriving bus to proclaim dibs on the window seats had gotten off the seats, leaving an object behind as a substitute, to watch the vermilion sun disappear below the horizon. It was known to be a sight to behold, but she couldn’t care less. She could still taste the obnoxious flavor of the combined aftertaste of the previous night’s whisky and smokes. Her head throbbed, somewhere around here eye brows. She wondered if she reeked of an odor as unpleasant and if her dad sitting ahead could smell it, but she dismissed the thought. It didn’t matter who found out what, anymore. She reminded herself that she had nothing to lose.

She checked the time. Two more hours. She looked out the window, looking past everything a tourist would want to see. She looked at something, somewhere beyond. It was a mass of earth, flat on top; a miniscule plateau, she thought to herself. She scrutinized whatever she could see of it. She gazed relentlessly. Half-hour passed. Something from outside flew into her eye; she flinched. As she rubbed her eye and extricated the tiny stone out, she shuddered at the realization of the trance she was in. Her vivacious and eternally merry self was but a long ago memory. Something had deceitfully impelled her to believe that she was still that person. The thought brought along a now familiar feeling of anguish and desolation, one she had all this while, seen as an alien and short-termed phase in her to-be eventful and grand life. This time, that belief was no more comforting. It felt like another devious lie had duped her. She wondered if her life would stay this gloomy. She closed her eyes and sighed a huge one. She moved her bottom to the edge of the seat and leaned; the posture mama always reprimanded her for. It felt dark, like it was all closing in on her. Her hands felt numb; she could feel an intense inward pull. For a moment she wished the bus would topple down and it would all be over. The thought left a sickening aftertaste. She had become like all those people she usually loathed for their suicidal predispositions. She had become weak and despicable.

She sat there the unhealthy, slothful way and mused. She let herself ruminate over all that she had forbidden herself to ever remind herself of. She had never wanted any of this. She had a list; a list of all that she had wanted in life. Printed neatly in blue ink on yellow paper, pinned to her wall. This was never there. She never put it there. Yet, the man walked in with that irresistible smile indicative of his humorous, chivalrous and witty self. He brought along affection, tenderness and an inexplicable feeling of safety. She felt emotions she didn’t know existed. And one day, she let him slip through what she realized afterward as her possibly suffocatingly tight clutches. Again, she experienced emotions she never comprehended; this time, of affliction. As she mulled over the recent happenings, tears welled up; she didn’t push them back this time. She let them roll down; she tasted the saltiness as her cheeks felt the warmth. She wondered how it would feel to stand on top of the plateau and scream until it all went away. She wondered if the relief would last. Her deliberation was interrupted by a poke on her arm. A plump little boy with unbelievably chubby cheeks and curls falling over his face spoke to her ‘Are you okay? We can share my candy if you want’. She gaped at him awkwardly for an instant, dazed. She smiled at the boy, admiring his innocence. Something about it gave her hope; she didn’t comprehend it, she felt hopeful nevertheless. She was overwhelmed; she did something she would never be able to reason out. She hugged the boy and wept like she hadn’t for a long time. When she let go, the boy ran away, afraid.

She leaned back.

She fell into a deep slumber, in almost no time. Her dad turned behind, he could see a sense of peace on her face. She was finally sleeping after weeks. He looked at the auburn sky outside and chanted a small prayer of thanks.

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