I woke to a symphony of screams and shouts. It had become a horrendous part of my adolescent life to see my creators fight over the silliest of things. Last night’s rice, this morning’s stew – the matters of the past – were the causes for the fights that shattered each and every familial bond made.
My mother’s prized possessions, her exquisite crockery, lay shattered on the floor in bits and pieces; it formed a mosaic of my sorrow. Dada’s spilled cologne filled the room with a fragrance quite inappropriate for the situation. They both felt as if they had won. Neither felt the overwhelming sense of loss that lurked like a sly ghost in the room.
I felt that loss and maybe that was my curse, to see and feel things that others simply refused to feel and see. There was still gentleness in each of their faces. Mama asked me whether I wanted tea or coffee, Dada asked me whether I had read the Bible and when the answer was in the negative, he suggested Ezekiel 18:20.
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
It was no consolation. Eternity failed to interest me when the present was so dissonant. God was a mercenary and I the collateral. The two-headed beast regulated my thoughts and my deeds.
Once I had finished my cup of tea (that tasted like tar) and had finished my reading (that sounded like the threat of a lunatic), I stayed in my room, my ears keen on picking up cryptic messages that could shed light on what the duel was all about.
“I knew it. I like hell knew it. You whore!”
“That’s your son you’re talking about. Your only son who might find out how twisted his father’s mind is, you disgusting…”
“Shut the hell up, before you force me to lay my hands on you. I asked you to get rid of it twelve years ago, twelve fucking years ago.”
“He might… hear… stop it. Stop it, you worthless…”
She was sobbing now.
“I have nothing to do with you, you hear me? Nothing to do with you or it. Give him to his real…”
I could hear glass shattering and my father grunting in pain. I badly wanted to go out but it was blood that I was afraid of and so I stayed within the walls of my room. And as those walls closed in on me they whispered something in my ears. You, they sounded in unison. The pale green walls of my room echoed, you… you… you… and as my mind reeled and my thoughts travelled far and wide, hate sank in. I loathed ‘my real…’ whoever that was and I hated Mama for that morning’s tea and Dada for the revelation. It did not matter whether it was true or not. Nothing mattered.
And to this bitter world, I uttered my parting words, words that are disloyal to me, words that keep changing, words that speak their own thoughts. Infidels!
For billions and billions of years I lived oblivious to the stars and planets all around the formless me, in perfect harmony with all that is and ever will be – till the bitter curse of existence enveloped this lost soul. The bitter yet liberating truth of reality, if there is anything close to what can be defined as ‘truth’ in this or in the very many plausible realities, is that the best form of existence is non-existence.
And he still remains in that room in an eternal envelope of stone, which shelters him from the cruelties of this world, from the cruelties and insensitivity of his Dada and from the alleged infidelity of his Mama, constantly reminding them that the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
About the Author
Jude Gerald Lopez is a student of literature at Sacred Heart College Kerala, who has a deep love for creativity and all forms of artistic expression. He has completed working on his debut novel When Lines Blur and has published short stories in the college blog. His flash fiction works, The City of Lights and A Drop of Liquid Hope were both selected as the winning entries in Heart-bytes’ monthly international flash fiction competitions. Both stories were republished along with In a Land of Broken Promises in Lakeview, International Journal of Literature and Arts this year. He also has a blog, http://clocksandcrystalballs.blogspot.in, which he regularly updates with his own short stories and poems. The works of Oscar Wide, Albert Camus, Umberto Eco, Franz Kafka among other authors, are of immense interest and has had quite an influence on him as a writer.