Sunday, 18 December 2011

An Angel Drove By

I love to stare at the fog. I can make things emerge out of it, if I really need to. My eyes are not great - the real ones and the inner eye as well. It's all foggy at its best, on a good day like this. But it helps a lot to stare at things, since that's all I can do. My limbs don't move as fast as my mind, and I can't read or write - with the bad eyes and fragile hands that keep shaking all the time. I am waiting for my angel.

No, it's not the unreal angel. The real one. My daughter, who drives 20 miles every evening just to come here. She brings me food, and comfort, and the best conversation possible. That keeps me alive till the next evening. She's an angel. She drives back home after the two hours here, to her unreal world. He family. Her career. She's a supermom.

She's an angel for a daughter, but she quarrels with me at times.  She says it's stupid for a man my age to pretend that he can live on his own. She threatens that she will take me by force to her home in the big town. For what? To keep me like a museum piece in the spare bedroom? To let me breathe that ugly air in the fourteenth floor? To make me ask for help every time I want to move around in the ever changing interiors of her apartment?

My questions silence her, but she jolts back to interesting conversation all the time. About her office. About the nasty work conditions there. About her children who are funny and strange at the same time. About how her husband treats her like a princess and a doormat at the same time. About the fast moving life in her town which she loves and I disapprove of. She calls me a village idiot. And I'm one.

But I am better than what Tolstoy would make fun of. I'm better than Ivan Ilyich. Because I'm in charge of my life. Never let others order me around. When I'm on my deathbed, I won't care for what others do. First of all, there won't be anyone around. This is my world. The one I created. The way I like it. This is a foggy paradise where I can create and destroy  sceneries and characters. Even ideas. I give birth to ideas that are no more transferred to paper. I nurse them for a while. Sometimes I wring their necks too soon. Sometimes I keep them beside me, like pets. I feed them a bit. Sometimes I abandon them after a while. They starve to death. It's beautiful. Perfect.

It's a pity I can't read anymore. Or may be it's not. There's a lot of reading of the self left to me. It's a pleasure doing that while I wait. My gate is always open. I can't tend the garden. And so it has become even more beautiful. The plants which were once garden plants have become real plants. They used to mock me earlier, challenging me to prune their freedom and joy with my useless hands. But they are kind to me these days. They treat me like a curious museum piece in the world I created.

I don't know whether the house will collapse before me. My daughter says she will bring someone in the weekend to do some maintenance. But no more painting, I say. The smell of paint makes me feel as if I am already in hell. It's like someone pouring gasoline over you, before setting you alight. No, they don't do that anymore in hell, my daughter says. They grill you on coal - that's a slow process. That's tougher than getting deep fried. Count yourself lucky if you are deep fried, she says. It's almost certain that I will lose my paradise once I die, and I won't care whether I get grilled or deep fried.

There are cities that I haven't visited. Beautiful cities. Ugly cities. There's only so much a man can do. In a lifetime. What a lifetime! I've had fun. Of all sorts. But I felt empty too. Many times. But I don't feel empty anymore. I know there is beauty beneath the fog. The real fog, and the fog in my perspective.

I hear the car approach slowly, from beyond the fog. That's the one that carries my angel here. She's coming here, just to see me. I am so selfish, to make her do that. And to say that I will be alright even if she doesn't come. I pretend not to see the tears in her eyes when I say that. I know that it hurts her. But that's proof that she loves me. Even angels have to give proof of their love. I know I'm nasty. But I won't be in control if I'm not like this. I can afford this. Because I have my angel. She's almost here, and it's the end of my days' wait. Let her tear the fog off to pieces for a while.


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  1. Nice, of course, it is impossible to write such a long story till Friday as requested. My congratulations. Wanda

  2. This... is... one... beautiful... piece!!!

    I just love the way that old man sounds like an old man: full of contradictions, stubborn as a mule, and so reasonably unreasonable (or unreasonably reasonable). He is so alive (well, almost dead... haha!) and 3-dimensional. But more than that (and I said this before), I admire the depth in your stories, this one included.

    Congratulations on another great creation!

  3. Thanks a lot friend! That's an all too familiar world, right?

  4. It is nicely written,the way the reflections of the man are put into words!

  5. This is a really beautiful piece. Shows real empathy with what must be a really wise stage of life. Loved the paragraph about the reading and the garden. Reading of the self is an often-neglected pursuit, and seemed to nicely connect with the way we feel we must tend a garden in order to make it beautiful instead of just accepting what is. Well done!