Sunday, August 29, 2010


by Arnab

When you have nothing but your mind to entertain you, you start seeing things. Like the wall in front of me, with the myriad cracks spreading from the ceiling to the floor. The left one looks like a lightning bolt, as anyone can tell. The one on the right however, with the little corner edging inwards?...that looks like a gun. I think of telling Vincent but then remember its been a week since he's stopped speaking or even eating much. Vincent has started resembling a mantis, with his arms bent and stick like. Come to think of it, I’m very insect like myself. The little slab of glass nailed to the wall tells me exactly what kind: a cross between a fly, thanks to my bulging eyeballs and an earwig. That’s how my goatee’s shaped…like an earwig’s pincers.

The cell is damp but the food is excellent. It’s a pity Vincent doesn’t agree. He misses his wife’s cooking. Heck, I miss his wife’s cooking. I miss his wife more, but I won’t quite go there. Fifteen minutes earlier, a familiar gruff voice shouted "Food!" and shoved the bowl in, and today we have soup with nothing floating in it and bread only two days old by the looks of it. Oh joy! And still Vincent sleeps. You’d almost think he’s dead! As I sit down on the damp floor and say Grace and start my meal, I wonder why they never, in all this time, gave Vincent his share of food. He’s always been a skimpy eater but even then. Why should I have to share? Not that I had to for the last couple of days but its unfair. Much like its unfair of Vincent to have stopped entertaining me with his jokes and fond reminiscing. Such an enormous wimp, that man, but he was funny alright. And he helped make things less dreary. Vincent had a way with descriptions. The world as we knew it came alive right in front of my eyes. So yes, I miss Vincent and I wish he’d stop sulking and wake up. “Here’s to you, ol’ chap”, I say and make an invisible toast to him. He makes no noise, and lies there, deathly still.

I finish my meal and utter a sigh of contentment and look again. It’s no longer a gun now. It’s a house. It’s a house and wait there’s more…the little slab of wall that’s missing there, that right there is a backyard and the specks of dirt…they look like lilies, swaying in the breeze. And just then a breeze really does blow in through the grills from the sea just beyond . Reminds me of a few lines Vincent used to say aloud from time to time. Something that had lilies and the sea in it.

Someone’s coming. But I don’t feel like getting up. It feels pleasant suddenly. I think its Geoffrey again. What’s he want now?

“Oy Vincent, mate”, he said again, laughing that disgusting phlegmatic laugh of his. “Not too many days left now, is there?”

Something with the lilies and the sea. I forget the exact lines.


Monidipa said...
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Monidipa said...

Hm. I like. And the last two lines break my heart absolutely but I shall keep such uncouth sentimentality away from an academic blog. Ahem. Very good.