Broken Petals

 

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There were shreds of petals all over the floor. Of roses with fragrance. The bunch scattered after it fell from the table. The vase might have rolled under the bed, it was no where in sight. Red spots dotted the ground and white feet stood surrounded by them. Black eyes surveyed; confusion did not satisfy curiosity and they searched for answers in the mess. The mind was focused, or stagnant with stale perception.

Raahil heard the fall from his bedroom and ran towards her, Maya, where she stood on bloody roses. He stood at the door, hands on its frame, confirming his thoughts and then hurried towards her trying to avoid the shards of glass. “Don’t move,” he shouted but he didn’t need to, she was standing very still. He got to her and picked her up. They both held each other tight. Raahil was annoyed – “I told her not to. That damn vase. Should’ve filled it and weighed it down.”. Maya felt safe touching something she understood – her brother. An observation – they’d discover so much of themselves if they’d exchange and embrace each others’ names. It would be an uncovering, a turning to light of a part of self that they had no mind about, and all because they gave it a chance to be. It – themselves. 

“Why did you walk into this mess?” unbothered about who created it in the first place because it was an inevitable accident – that rose studded vase wouldn’t last. Obviously, it was her. Or the wind, it could’ve whipped the curtain or shaken the table. Or it was her. “How did the petals break?” her voice was inaudible, but he was close enough to hear her. “I told you they were delicate,” he spoke mindlessly, naturally, as he carried her to the bathroom. They were both present to their own thoughts, only hers were questions. “But how can petals break?” she asked after a while. “The whole vase is made of glass, Maya,” he said gently washing her feet. “Shit,” again mindlessly. 

She had stood before, in the corner of the room where the vase was safe and ignored and the petals fresh and soft, looking for answers with her touch. The painted details felt velvety.

“The closer I get, the more I’ll know.”
“These flowers, they’re so different, so beautiful.”
“Why does Raahil not notice these flowers? Why doesn’t he realise how pure they look and how beautiful they are? I can’t stay away from them anymore, who cares what he says.”

She treated them like they were too real; like they could welcome her to the force of nature that they brought with them. He treated them like they were too fragile to handle its purpose. Her feet hurt, the petal ruins lay in a bin and two minds perceived the same thing differently.

 

 

*Raahil, an Islamic name meaning ‘path guider’
Maya means illusion.

 

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I love her for her oblivion. The last thing I want is to carry work home. My bad days crave her company because she overlooks their power to persist through the night; gloom is disarmed and forced to fade. So when I do get home, I go to a different world where I get to actually forget about little annoyances that I can effortlessly magnify.
It’s easy with her. She makes it easy without trivialising things.

“Exams begin next week, right? Yeah, work was good. Still refining the Happy Creeks project,” I reply.

Her name is Sharadini, it means autumn and she feels like it. If you had the honour of holding her in your arms, you’d agree with me. She’s a teacher and her kids adore her. We all do.
Our backs are to each other, I’m folding clean laundry, she’s checking our bills. As I finish speaking I turn around to love her from five feet away, her silk blouse is in my hands.

I can see her concentrating. She snaps out in a second, looks at me and smiles. I die again. It’s like a wave throwing me down, drowning my heart. She’s mundane now, how can she kill me over and over with a flood like that.

“Speaking of projects, check this out,” she walks to me and grabs my hand knowing that I won’t follow her without her coaxing. She knows me and she doesn’t have time for that. I drop the blouse on the bed and we walk to the living room.

“Woah! What’s all this?”

“Our project.”

“Our project?”

She had opened the balcony door to almost fifteen different potted plants, a pebbled path to the center of them, and a ridiculous electrical fountain about a foot high in a corner near the switch board – a garden, our project.

We carve out a life together. It’s exciting.