December 02, 2008

One Horrible Minute

(I wrote this on the same day I discovered the World Clock application on my mobile, had terrible PMS and my country was in shock over a bad terrorist attack. We still are but the PMS has moved on.)

Those who come a hundred or two hundred years after us will despise us for having lived our lives so stupidly and tastelessly. Perhaps they’ll find a means to be happy.
- Uncle Vanya, Chekov

00:48, Washington D.C
A drunk college sophomore is puking on the bathroom floor. Her lipstick is gone, and her eyes are red. Her stomach contracts in response to one tequila too many. She cannot feel the alcohol on her tongue anymore. Another night of hard drinking is almost over. It will probably be followed by some random sex. This is how college should be, she tells herself. She downs the glass of vodka she is still managing to hold.

06:48, Madrid
He sees the wizened tiny lady before she catches sight of him. This college professor has traveled across the ocean to meet his birth mother. He knows the stories, having been told them many times by his foster parents. Poverty led her to give him up and his life was better this way and all that. Tears gush down her wrinkly face as she puts her arms around him and whispers broken words of love and welcome. It should have been a poignant moment, a coming-together of the ends of a circle. He feels nothing.

09:48, Tehran
The woman checks her cell phone over and over. No text to inform her about the ride to work. She will have to get a taxi; she was running late for a business meeting at the news channel she worked at. She pulls at her burka impatiently and calls up the cab company. Being a divorced mother in this place was not easy. She had no friends, but her job kept her busy. Arbeit Macht Frei.

12:48, Bangkok
The man slowly nibbles on his sandwich, and asks the waitress for a napkin. The little girl at the table nearby turns to stare at him. Surgery for tongue cancer had left him with half a jaw and a badly disfigured face. The doctors said he had three months left. Pain radiates sharply over his head as he tries to smile at her. She screams, pushes her chair away and runs. She will always remember this moment with shame. He will forget, it has happened before.

18:48, Samoa
He watches her face as he rapes her. He looked deep into her eyes and she looks right back. They have been co-workers for six years but she was married and so happy. But today, high on meth and rum, today he cannot and will not control himself. Today he asked her out for coffee. Today he drove to a lonely spot and pushed her down. Today he is inside her, forcing his lust on her unresponsive, lovely body. She is silent, her brain instinctively shutting down, her emotions screeching to an abrupt halt. She can never tell anyone. Maybe he'll do it again, he thinks.

02:48, Buenos Aires
She looks at the baby in cold rage. The nurse placed it in her arm thirty seconds ago and the whole family is around her, cheering, some still not quite awake from the wait through the long labor. She hates the child. So much. She hates everyone. Take it away, she wants to scream. I can't bear this small slimy body on me. It wants love and care I cannot give. It wants affection and energy but I have none. She catches her husband's eyes. He alone is not smiling. He knows. He takes the baby and cuddles their first child. We will survive this, he whispers as he gently kisses her forehead. You will get better. She nods, exhausted.

21:48, Vancouver
He pushes back his graying hair as he leaves the woman's apartment. One more time and it's over he tells himself. Just one more time. His wife is at home, baking him chocolate chip cookies in the weird little arty shapes he loved.

05:48, Reykjavik
She was eighteen but scared of the dark. No one knew of course. It was just another night she is spending wide awake with the blanket over her head, trembling so much the bed wobbles. The trees outside the windows are violent ghosts and the pictures of celebrities on her wall move in strange motion. She suppresses her screams into tiny yelps and curls into a neurotic ball of fear. She needs therapy but the idea seems silly.

08:48, Baghdad
She stands in the kitchen, staring at the blank wall two inches from her face. He died last night, her handsome little boy. He blew himself up in the crowded market-place five streets from home. She had seen the images of his body on the TV early morning before her husband got up. They were calling him a terrorist. She cannot believe this. Her little Abu, who used to be so kind to stray dogs. The most sensitive and shy one of all her sons. He was a smart boy too, with an astounding capacity for numbers. He had wanted to be a physicist. Now his severed head was on every channel, his dead eyes open and expressing something alien to her. She collapses over the stove. How will she ever pray again?

23:48, Mexico City
He waits for the train to move. His fingers are sweating, leaving muddy patches on the newspaper he holds. How will he tell her that this woman he met is so much better than her? They have been together for so long, she almost an extension of him, and now he will be shattering her world. Her carefully-planned world of marriage and babies and special songs with awesome lyrics and earnest debates and long road trips on holidays. He did love her of course. But this new woman, she was magical. She was bewitching, and he couldn't stop thinking of her. She held him spell-bound in her intricate weave. He knew he could not live without her, could not breathe deeply till he experienced her. He had to tell his girlfriend today, but… he would never be able to meet her eyes. And he did not want tears when he only felt joy. He dials the number from memory as the train started to leave the station. Her life was going to fall apart.

11:18, Mangalore
Terrorists attacked Mumbai and some are holed up in a couple of hotels even now, the gunfights still raging on. The bloodshed is terrible. I'm watching TV and am haunted by the face of one of the attackers they keep showing. He was seen around the neighborhood for a few days before the shootings began and they captured his picture on a security camera on one of those days. He is so young, with a smart hair cut and a very attractive face. He is wearing Versace and holding an umbrella. He looks normal, friendly, even happy and relaxed. But he wasn't. He was insane. He's probably dead now, or going to die when the NSF gets him but I weep for his life. It could have been different.


Maria said...

Are you like psycho or something? LOL... this one is excellent, made me think of all the things that are wrong in this world you know :P but there are other things that are beautiful...

davka said...

i like your blog a lot. glad we found each other. thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha.. i wish i really WAS psycho and that would just explain everythin :) but the world is really cold and ugly sometimes.

Andipatti Jatti said...

rum did the talking?

Anonymous said...

LOL.. wat rum? no rum for me... im a cocktail girl ;)

Anonymous said...

well written...

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