Chapter Five

Words of wonder, words of might,

I’ll be always in your sight,

Stars are grey and sky is white,

Wake up to the morning light!

 

She was humming the rest of her mother’s song because she couldn’t remember the words. He on the other hand sat still on the rock and listened with his eyes closed. The repetition of words could not touch the heights of memories onto which he had descended. For both of them, the song held a special place. They could hear their mother sing it when she cooked the meals, strolled in the garden, laid down on her sick bed and even when she sewed dresses for their bears. So many fights had that song resolved in minutes, for none of them could afford to make a sound as their mother sang.

“What a failure of memory! How could we forget the song!?”. She felt distraught after giving her hardest thought to the next stanza. No matter how much She tried, the words couldn’t crawl from her memory and reach her tongue. It felt as if there was a surge of words for which She couldn’t remember the sound; and when the sound came to be the words were lost in the air. Her frustration was unreachable – at least for the boy.

Unlike her, He sat with his eyes still closed and his body swaying to a mute music like the flames cheering the heart of fire. “What could He be thinking?” She asked herself. And when She couldn’t find the answer by herself, She sought it from him instead.

“Which song are you swaying to? Do you recall the mother’s song?”

The boy did not open his eyes, nor did He stop his swaying. From the complacent smile which He held on his face, He merely said, “I don’t remember it, of course! But I don’t need to either”.

She moved closer to the “swaying-pendulum-of-a-boy” and tapped his shoulder three times. But it wasn’t to stop the boy and return him from his musings. So, She stood by his side and started to enumerate all the ways that could interrupt his sway. After a successive line of petty ideas, She settled on the one which held the most promise and least activity – a splash of water! So, She collected the biggest coconut shell the island could hold and filled it with a taste of the salty waves.

With the notorious bowl of her plan between her fingers She told herself, “If I don’t count the 5 times that I fell over my back in the water, I think this has been by far the best plan!”.

She tip-toed her way near the oscillating boy and smirked to think about his face drenched in the cold, salty water. She stood behind him and raised the coconut bowl right above his head. As She waited for him to come under its target, the boy suddenly stopped and opened his eyes to look around.

Finding her behind him, He turned his head and asked “What are you doing?”

“Nothing! I was just standing and looking at the ocean” She said as She tactfully put the coconut shell by her foot. Her conscious smile made him suspicious, yet He chose to let it be for another time and pulled her by the hand to sit on the rock. She hesitatingly sat down beside him, looking at him eagerly.

“Do you want to hear mother’s song?” He didn’t wait for her nod and said, “I’ll show you how you can hear it in your memory. Just follow my steps”.

This time He waited for her nod and She smiled to show her approval.

“Great! Do you remember listening to mother’s song at her birthday? Do you recall how we sat together on the sofa as she sang to the party? I need you to close your eyes and imagine us sitting right there. It wouldn’t be difficult since both of us hold that memory the dearest! Just try! Close you eyes and hold your knees like I do and then just recall!”

She scoffed his idea in her head yet played along thinking lest her laughing might hurt him. So, She sat eyes closed on the rock and looked into the darkness ahead of her eyes. To her surprise, soon the memory of the mind trickled its way onto the darkness ahead of her. A bright light first, then a hazy figure of a woman – her mother as she recalled, standing in her white party dress. She could not see the other figures but her mother stood in the front – strong and beautifully! As She looked on, She heard the whispers in her memory turn into silence. And from the silence arose a feeble resonance. Coming from far deeper in the darkness and echoing in her mind. HER MOTHER’S SONG! She pushed her way through the binds of eyes and shushed her confused mind’s noise.

The more She left her self, the more she caught the resonance! As her mind lost its shackles, her mother’s voice started to ring like music in her ears. What a splendid song it was! A music that came from her heart to her soul and a song that rang with the chords of memory!

Splash!

With a sudden flush, the darkness was washed away from its portrait. As She opened her wet eyes and put away her hair, She saw the boy laughing wildly over the sand. It seemed that He had found the water filled coconut shell.

“You can’t out smart me! I don’t see why you even try M.” He said as He wiped his tears of joy.

But She remained still on the rock. Her agitated face opened her thoughts – “Was it a dream? Had I fallen asleep?….I cant feel my hands and legs. Did I hear mother’s song?”.

She could barely comprehend him as He collected the shells around her feet and said, “What are you thinking? You look so pale as if you saw mother. Oh well! Good for you I’ve run out of water. So, don’t mess with me again!”

Words of wonder, words of might,

I’ll be always in your sight,

Stars are grey and sky is white,

Wake up to the morning light!

 

He trotted off in happiness singing their mother’s song. Though, She sat firm and wet on the rock, only to close her eyes and anxiously look for her mother in the emptiness of the mind.

The Deserted Banquet Hall

You have been here a long time now, Gertrude. What do you recall looking at the patch of the dark sky which reaches your eyes through the concrete forest?

He sighed. It was indeed dark and the thought of the arrival of an evening mosquito swarm (for that is what the people graded it to be) broke his meditation. So he said to me, “I can’t believe I am talking to you again. But then who else do I have to fill my company, it’s not as if people have friends anymore. The last conversation I ever had was with a Chat Bot that talked like a woman. So to answer your question, yes I try to recall a moment, years from now when I did make memories.”

From days of your father to this moment, Connecticut has become alien to you and unrecognizable to me. In the farthest East upon the barren surface of the Great River the sun did shine yet it didn’t glow in your company but burned you with itself. And as I looked ahead, the far dimming lights of New York City which shimmered at a distance your spirit could never achieve instigated disgust for the odour of its coxcomb life. In this ever ambitious world here you sit everyday within your part of the sky looking on to the darkness as the constant reminder of the life today.

He motionlessly looked on the sky bereft of stars (as he would say) but which was hidden behind the dark clouds of dust as I could see.

It had become a matter of everyday now. Gertrude’s lonesome seating on the roof provoked my intrusion for in the silence around him I heard afflicting thoughts from the time past. In the month of October when leaves did rustle under his feet, I lingered today to hear the presence of nature’s daughter around him. It was between this chasm of then &now, where I got lost every time he looked at the far and familiar night sky. And to my agony, I could not reconcile him to find acceptance in a world he thoroughly unaccepted.

You should probably go to Martha. You are again sinking in yourself ————-Before I could say more, the above said Martha, the sole living companion of the only un-automated house in Connecticut, poked into view bearing her usual face with which she hinted that she didn’t quite understand his behaviour and got irritated with her ignorance.

“So you peeping into the sky again, lark?” she ejaculated.

“Not the sky, doll”.

I tried to evade her.

“Dad, you know you don’t have to lie to me”, was her protestation.

“But my dear, with your face covering my view, how do you expect I can be looking onto the sky now?”

I generously smiled at her stamping feet with which she often indicated her helplessness in rescuing his humour from her innocent anger. And as she would have it, soon I and Gertrude were back in the “petite” apartment he called his house. It had been carefully maintained to be as antique as possible. It was thus that it had the old ceramic paint coatings which now withered from time, were majorly covered with portraits of Connecticut that he drew from my memory. He enjoyed lying at the stitched bag of sponge he called a “couch” while Martha began her persiflage.

But today was different. For a reason I couldn’t identify, Gertrude lied down on his sponge to look over at his oldest painting which he saved as a bearing by his father. The painting never took my attention for it couldn’t instigate my love for art which was lost in my transaction with the Present; but with Gertrude it became somewhat like a gadget to which he drew back every hour of the 24. It was contained in a wooden frame which was cracked at corners and the picture presented the image of a young boy in mid twenties standing in the middle of an empty banquet hall. The glance of the boy seemed to interest Gertrude. Even with the tears that rolled down his eyes the young boy curved his lips to smile looking at the maple leaf crafted on the hall’s floor.  Within minutes of meditation, the painting of the mysterious boy flushed Gertrude’s face until a tear held with cold embrace his heated cheeks.

But it seemed I wasn’t the only one who noticed the deluded weight, for Martha exclaimed as haughtily as a child used to do in 21st Century pointing at the picture, “Is he experiencing another of those modes you call “emotion” papa? I wish Mr. Brudge taught us that in the class of Humanology.”

Gertrude just smiled.

“But is he sad or happy, papa?”

At this question of the little Martha I felt a deep hollow in my heart that numbed my thoughts. While I had no weight (for such is my constitution) I felt burdened with a load I seemed to be familiar with. To all I experienced Gertrude sat frozen at the face of her who didn’t notice his fixed gaze.

But Martha frivolously observed, “He looks happy to be sad, papa. I think he’s smart like Treck”.

He didn’t bother to hear the gross details that Martha went on to provide of Treck’s intelligence, and got up on his feet to face the painting he mused over. For in a moment of Martha’s persiflage, he stumbled over his only inheritance.

And he spoke in my ears –

I remember how my father sang to me, though the words I can’t recall

Yet its music reaches me now, of the song sewed with “pleasures in all”

It spoke of shallow reach of joy and the faithless showers

Afar did the freshness reach of the splendid flowers?

Ah! Its morning opens its gates and now its climes I do I see,

Affection drawn from sorrow is the truest there can be. *

 

 

*Gertrude is referring from Thomas Moore’s “In the Morning of Life”