Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mercey, Caprice, the Middle

‘Why is it that it’s not truths but lies that make you happy? In everything, with me or without me, you strive at being perfect and each time I speak truthfully your bead of perfection comes undone. No wonder, then, you scowl as I speak. No wonder, then, you wish I rather lied.’ She thinks as she pours the Scotch. He won’t let go of her. In her place, others would be, and practically are, leaving and living. ‘It’s my fault, honey.’ She’s leaving and isn’t exactly living. ‘It’s your fault, moron.’ Twenty pills swallowed in thirty seconds, she drops the twenty-first into a void called mouth. ‘My woman here equals two so it’s no wonder I feel twice wedded. I tell her this and she’s underwhelmed so corrects me saying she cannot be anything less than a trinity. I’m truly twice pained and thrice pleasured.’ She gulps another drink. She’d lost Mercey so as to find her true singular self. Little did she know to believe to entertain the thought that with Mercey she was to find that unnamed faceless something companion-to-be for an inexplicable vital reason! As is the case now, she couldn’t believe it then.

‘From what I can glean from one linear reading of her mind-body electric, she’s a postradical-midterror-metamodernist text – in the flesh.’ Her lover tells his friend one of those days. ‘She holds nine chapters within her that signify the period of gestation. Chapter seven, written sentences within sentences, is one long paragraph. The last emotion of the text is not a cry of the newborn rather a capricious laughter. The last word is Iye. In the end is the beginning. I daren’t seek to know how she chronologically ends. It is true, then, you cannot present the unpresentable. What is unpresentable is only attempted and never is it presented. That’s Lyotard paraphrased for you.’

Caprice stands outside Mercey, plucks the glass splinter off her sole. She walks and doesn’t look back. She stands there all alone. She could sit in a room of mere ten and, for a countenance like hers, remain utterly unnoticed. She had a halo so invisible you thought she never possessed a thing called ego. Some said she wasn’t human and others said she was very. ‘The space where my face was is porcelain. Come back and paint me. Blue or red or violet, I don’t care. Just come to me. Come back and cling to me.’ Mercey stands aloof and wishes for things that couldn’t be. Caprice goes out and into the world to find love and finds love.

‘What if what we want to find is a he? Have you the nerve enough to consider that?’ Caprice answers Mercey in questions. ‘Maybe…just maybe it’s a he. Could be a home…or a garden. May as well be a street…or a city!’ Caprice stopped listening a long time ago. Mercey wipes her face and stands her up. ‘Alright!’ Face to face, she asks her. ‘What do you see?’ Caprice speaks. ‘Oh, no.’ Nonplussed, she twists her face to a gauche U. ‘I see myself. I don’t doubt it, okay. Never did and never will. If that wouldn’t assuage your doubt…!’ Mercey speaks in a monotone. ‘You’re wrong. Silly, phony, weakling, you’re mightily wrong!’ She picks a rock and takes aim with it. “No no noooo!’ First breaks her face, then shatters the glass. You couldn’t pick and tell who exactly it was that screamed. You said there were two broken voices.

Mercey has a grudge on Ayesha. In fact, she has a grudge on every single one of them who crosses her except perhaps on Dravid. That’s because it’s she who crosses him, not the other way around, everyday on her way to her workplace. He stands around the corner as a cardboard mannequin. In fact, she’d seen him in the flesh once. It was raining that night and she was stood up inside Ansal Plaza. There was a crowd and hubbub. She leapt to her toes and there he was at the center of what could only pass for an organized mosh pit. Stamping on fifteen feet she got her violet skirt autographed in blood red. Never did she wash it again. It’s there safe and untouched in her wardrobe. That was sometime ago. Now he’s a distant memory and rather vividly a real mannequin. Ayesha sports all too natural velvety hairs hung to her hips. She has a literal pencil neck to go with it. ‘What a stupid-necked backbiter.’ Mercey grips the scissor, thinking, as she walks to her desk. She grabs her by her hairs in a fraction of a second and the next second she has the meter-long locks in her bag. She went back there for work never again. She comes home to Caprice.

Caprice is in a garden. She’s startled at first when she sees Mercey. ‘You’re wearing the gown I want to wear tomorrow, but your face…! You’re not me, are you?’ Mercey peels off the wraparound from her face. Her face is a coated glass. “Now?” Face to face then shoulder to shoulder, Caprice and Mercey stand. ‘We are me.’ Mercey tells her. ‘Stand there and paint my face. I will be whole and will constantly change. We will exchange roles.’ After minutes of meticulous brushwork, they’re one in two. ‘We want to play mother-father.’ ‘We want a child and we know how to get pregnant.’ ‘It happens with the exchange of saliva.’ ‘Give us a kiss.’ Caprice pulls out a swollen balloon from under her top. ‘Time to get back home.’ She lets go of it and as it hangs midair pricks it. It bursts and glitters. ‘We see stars?’

There’s a balloon, inside the balloon is a house, inside the house is a garden, inside the garden is a street, inside the street is a city, inside the city is a void, inside the void you see men and women she met and didn’t meet, children, engines, machines, desires, gestation, greed, kindness, love, hate, pain, pleasure, lust, life, decay, death, sickness, fragrance, stench, cats, dogs, birds, fish, cattle, chicken, rooster, swine, deer, beasts, books, trees, flowers, bees, butterflies, woods, steel, sand, rocks, artifices, monuments, ideas, institutions, pubs, holy places, prostitution, policies, ideologies, terror, rapes, murders, vindication, punishment, injustice, blood, bombs, gunpowder, knives, swords, betrayal, reconciliation, armies of ants, traffic, wind, electricity, smoke, fire, gadgets, discs, wires, lights, colors, theaters, architecture, slums, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, trade, currency, beggars, tourists, neighbors, strangers, friends, enemies, rich, poor, gluttons, hungry, noise, music, clouds, rain, sunshine, water, poison, pills, alcohol, celebration, mourning, masters, slaves, rebels, change, fake, real, blessing, cursing, lies, half-truths, artists, alienation, agitation, sadness, happiness, winners, losers, ego, ignorance, decadence, running, walking, crawling, stagnation, insane ones that say inaction is an action, sane.

‘She will bear triplets and live ananta.’ Soothsayer presages in a charming tone. Mother thinks. ‘Hundred?’ Father says. ‘Why you consult such people?’ Caprice crawls, walks, runs, goes to school.

Pediatrician father holds his girl child in his palms. The child breathes after a volatile burst of laughter. She sings. ‘Veee… (!)’


The Middle


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