by ashwinia

Sana sat on the cold mosaic floor resting her back on the edge of her bed. You could have mistaken her for another of the bundles of clothes strewn on the bedroom floor. Her head was held tight in between her knees which were held close together and to her torso by arms tightly wrapped around. In front of her amidst the mess, lay a single ear ring that shimmered conspicuously despite the dim of the room. It had minute diamond stones placed between intricate designs cut out of platinum, surrounding a giant emerald stone of peerless depth. Its twin wasn’t there in vicinity, or anywhere. Sana unbundled herself and again, checked the red silk jewel box that had stored the pair safe since she moved into the house eight months ago, knowing well though that it was futile. It had become customary in the mornings; she would open the red silk box, look at the emeralds and smile, for the emeralds spoke to her what no one could. This morning, when she opened the box, there was one emerald gawping at her, in a silence so obvious, exposing the gaping absence of the other. She knew deep inside where it had gone: across the Atlantic with Lucius, her sly half-brother who had visited the previous day and taken off wordlessly late in the night. Yet she desperately hunted for the lost emerald,emerald which perhaps was the only way to escape the guilt. Was it the guilt of letting in or letting go? Letting in a half-brother despite her premonitory intuitions or letting go of an emerald that spoke to her of what she long ago had let go of? She didn’t know.  Why would Lucius take it despite knowing its significance? Did he just want to cover his debts? Or did he perhaps want to take away from her, the amulet that spoke to her of the heavens and laughed for her, knowing well that it amounts to taking away a bit of her life? She would never know, for Lucius would deny it all if his life depended on it. Sana, lost among contradictory contemplations, guilt, superstitions and bundles of clothes, searched for the lost earring. Meanwhile, the earring that remained, lay in front of the bed. The bereaved earring lying unceremoniously on a floor that would never deserve this regal privilege, shone bright.

———- ******* ———– ******* ———– ******* ———— *******———–*******———–

For ninety three years and four months, old Waheeba, had inhaled and exhaled healthily. On the last day of the fourth month of the ninety fourth year, when Waheeba mopped the three steps leading to the door of the house, breathlessness which had never dared to make even a momentary appearance in her ninety three years, chose the 3rd of May to make a debut, storm into her erstwhile unassailable lungs and cause her to collapse (without even a hint or foreboding nightmare) While her grand-daughter Sana beti was at a college, on the other end of the state, presenting a paper on her newly adopted philosophy around the needlessness of religion for the progress of a community, with her phone prudently silenced before the presentation and thrust into the rummages of her bag, her old nani was gasping, gasping, gasping for breath. When Sana picked her phone eager to tell nani about her presentation and the jury’s applause, she found 32 missed calls from next-door Kader uncle’s wife and she worriedly called back. She asked about nani and heard just silence. She sensed not the silence that one cannot hear, this was silence that screamed a deafening scream. It was the silence that she’d only heard about, never heard herself. It was unambiguous silence. It could mean only one thing. She would never hear her nani laugh that motor like laugh, she’d only hear this silence. When she silenced her phone earlier, she had inadvertently chosen to silence dear nani eternally.

Sana heard the silence every morning after that day. Sleep did not come easy. But it was only sleep that could smother the silence. She hence rolled and rolled under the blankets till sleep closed her eyes. The days however, got longer and the silence, louder. Sana moved uptown, taking with her only a jewel, a pair of ear-rings, in memory of nani. Each had a colossal emerald stone of enthralling depth, flanked by minute diamond stones in intricate designs of cut platinum.

———- ******* ———– ******* ———– ******* ———— *******———–*******———–

Sana would learn again, to let go. She’d wear the emerald on her wedding day just like nani always suggested (despite how she had constantly frivolously pooh-poohed the ‘stupid’ idea) Sana would perhaps wear just one. As she would walk the aisle, with her would walk a voice.

And the emerald would for Sana, always be home, for home is the place of familiar voices.