I jumped on to the Decade Bloghop primarily because the topic intrigued me. In 2010, I’m not sure what I was up to, but I do not have even a fleeting memory of ruminating about the decade past. This year too, I’m not dwelling on what’s gone, a decade of my writing behind me.
I have thought of the process however, one of remembering and forgetting. Since the hosts allow fiction, here’s my attempt at capturing a decade in a few words (a first draft, and all feedback welcomed)
I cannot tell you what happened ten years ago, and no one can tell us about the next ten.
Sit here with me. Look up. The canopies do not intermingle, much like you and I, but from the gaps you see the sky, it is good—a bright sky after many days of gloom. The breeze is still cold but it carries the cackling of the geese from the lake, the geese you and I have fed all these years. They must be different geese now, but some must still be the same. This bench carries our names that we scratched ten years ago. More? Less? I do not remember, you say, but listen, what does it matter? It is enough that these scratched names, here, feel this, how rough and present they are. The bench is here, and this park. You and I.
Remember the time we promised to meet here and you did not show, not until much later, hours later, at night? I was so afraid you would do just that, you never carried a phone, and it was just like you, to enter a half-lit park in the dark uncaring of what might lurk. But you were coming to find me, to say sorry for being late, and I was here. Sometimes it feels like I was here always, embedded in this bench, a part of it like our names scratched into its paint, waiting for you.
Like the children we raised together are a dream, all three just a fog of the years, from which only you shine through. You kept us going, with your disastrous recipes that failed more than they triumphed in our tiny kitchen, the crazy parties where you invited homeless women and men with Ferraris, all of whom cramped together in our living room as you held court, hanging upon each word. You kept us going through all the years of having just enough, when my salary and your royalties kept us in room and board, just about, but always this park each weekend, you and I, the geese. The kids, sometimes, but mostly you, and your cackling, ungainly laughter I haven’t seen in years now. Of course it was cackling. Ungainly. That’s why I miss it.
That’s why I miss you most days even when you’re with me, as I haul your once-beautiful body from wheelchair to bench, to wheelchair to sofa, to bed. You’re still beautiful, and now you’ve fallen asleep. You did this earlier too, you were one of those rare women who could fall asleep right after—it was I who longed to talk—ask you if it was good for you, whether you’d like to do it again.
I can only talk because you’re asleep. Who am I kidding, I can talk these days, because you never shut me up like you used to, and half the time you do not know what I’m saying and don’t care as long as my lips are moving. When I stop you look at me with those crinkled eyes, as if urging me to continue. I long for the times you used to interrupt me when I could never get an entire sentence out, when you constantly misunderstood because you never let me finish, but now I regret those times I wished you’d let me talk. I don’t want to talk now, you hear me?
You’ll remember some days. Others, you wouldn’t. Good days, bad days, they come and go, but know this. All of it will be past and forgotten.
Forgotten sooner or much later, after you and I are gone. Until then, here you are, and I’m right here beside you on this park bench. The geese sound impatient now, but I’ll wait for you to wake up. Then we shall go and feed them.
Where were you this past decade? What do you think of this piece of flash fiction? Would you help me with naming it?
This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organised by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee.
(I’ve decided to hang loose a little, so this is an absolute first stream-of-consciousness draft. Help me make it better.)
My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world.
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.
Sign up for curated writing/reading resources: click here For a monthly edition in your inbox.
If you found this post interesting: click here to have weekly posts delivered to your inbox.
If you want to be heard by this community: click here to join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page .