12.28.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Robert Frank
Photo by Robert Frank

December 28, 2013: They were beautiful.

3 Replies to “12.28.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. They were beautiful. More beautiful in memory, perhaps, but beautiful. Like they didn’t belong here with us. Like they were from some place other. And I loved them both and I miss them each and every day, though the years are many between now and back then.

    Some of us still talk of those days and we say his name and hers in the one breathless breath, as though they are the one name and that name holy: Nita-Deepak. And from the look in Gopal’s eyes, he feels the same as I do, and Farhat, too. And we say, ‘They were beautiful,’ shaking our heads as though there was no beauty after them.

    Nita, and she was always different. Even in school and the teachers there saw it first and they were ever saying that we should look to Nita and how she held her pen or a book, and the sing song of her voice was what our voices should do when we were reading. And we might have felt resentment at this too-perfect student, except she was beautiful and full of spit and fire, and a word from Nita was like a word from the sadhu and we felt the soft kiss of blessing.

    And Deepak, dark as storm clouds and tall as a door, and he could have had any girl in the city, and it was obvious even before we could see it. And I remember a night when we were drunk together and Deepak kissed me as though I was a girl, his hands holding my face and his eyes closed and his tongue in my mouth, and I think I loved him then, as much as I loved Nita.

    Then a starlit night came tripping to new music and Deepak danced with Nita and with no one else, and we knew then. From that point on the whole story might have been seen and written down in a book. Some of the girls were filled up with envy and they said Nita-Deepak were too beautiful and they knitted their brows and spat curses from their mouths as though there was a bad taste on their tongues. And the boys, myself included, we made do with those pinch-faced girls and their kisses tasting of blood or metal, and we closed our eyes and made believe it was Nita we kissed, or Deepak.

    And whispers like snakes slithered through the streets and under the doors of houses, and all the way to the ears of fathers. And they were not happy for they had plans, plans for Nita and plans for Deepak. And the fathers stamped their feet and shook the air like thunder with their voices and they said, each to their own child, no. No to dancing and no to kissing and no to Nita-Deepak.

    It is an old story and though the names and the details are different, the end is always the same. Deepak came to her house on his bike, a machine that roared and hissed and spat, and Nita stole from her room against her father’s bidding, and they rode into tomorrow and into memory. No one knows exactly what happened, but a week later their bodies were found in a hotel bed, Nita-Deepak, as close as if they were one. They were a hundred miles from the city and us, which is further than imagination travels, and the leaves of oleander were in their mouths.

    Kisses can be deadly: I remember that deep-in-drink night with Deepak and the taste of his tongue in my mouth; and I recall a word from Nita’s lips and the music in that word and the blessing so that I sometimes think I kissed Nita, too. And they were beautiful apart and beautiful together, and there is no beauty after them except in rora ganja dreaming.

  2. As always, Patty, I am grateful to you… for the choice of picture, but more for the pairing of your words with the picture… it is often these words that spark my imaginationand begin my small tales. Thank you for continuing to read these outpourings of mine.

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