Day 65

She always gave up just before hammering the final nail. Whatever the debate, he never got very far. She started at the edge, hands reconstructing the world in the space between them, spice jars and spoons framing coordinates for her arguments. Suddenly, she would stop, mid-argument, and concede, submission stained red on her warm cheeks. He hated her for losing. Even like that. Even to him. What kind of love demanded this? What kind of marriage created this? He was never sure how to accept victory when he wanted the aching comfort of loss. He thought of his lover instead, her desire so lush, her wit so dry, as if the universe and every quark in it was created only as a hapless target for her humour. How often had he stayed up all night wanting to hear her shred reality into the kind of laughter that came from a faraway place of longing. A longing for everything to be wrong. A longing for everything to be right. He wondered if he could love her in silence. In tears. With a face without secrets. Or on the other side of a wall that could not be broken down with a clever word. He wondered if she loved him in that warped way – where theirs was a world within a world, the penultimate babushka doll that they dared not open, fearing the end. Would she still be real if he woke in a sea of abject darkness? What was she thinking about now? Maybe love is just the universe’s way of paying for its mistakes. Maybe life is the irony that love must endure just to be. Maybe it is all an orgy of expectations and improbables that time conjured up when it was doing nothing.

Outside, the lockdown raged as a noiseless storm. Birdsong floated above the trepidation of the occasional car. The dry summer was slipping away into the arms of another approaching cloud. It felt like mornings rose, hungover from too much quiet. 65 days of being inside. 65 days of a rectangle of window-framed sky. 65 days. Of being all alone. He couldn’t remember when his phone had stopped working.

 

Flash Fiction #6
Flash Fiction #5: Lockdown

25 thoughts on “Day 65

  1. “How often had he stayed up all night wanting to hear her shred reality into the kind of laughter that came from a faraway place of longing.”

    ” Maybe life is the irony that love must endure just to be. ”

    Need I say more? Love!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The tone and atmosphere of this piece makes me thankful that I have not been alone all the time during the lockdown, with internalised thoughts and only a ‘rectangle of window-framed sky’. I wondered why your character was all alone, why his phone wasn’t working, and what happened to his wife and his lover? From the way he described his lover, ‘her desire so lush, her wit so dry, as if the universe and every quark in it was created only as a hapless target for her humour’, I got the feeling they hadn’t been together for long. I like the idea that ‘love is just the universe’s way of paying for its mistakes’.

    Like

  3. “Maybe life is the irony that love must endure just to be,” this is so poignant! A wonderfully contemplative write, Rajani 💝💝

    Like

  4. So much real feeling in this piece. The longing and fear and thick desperation is palpable, a living thing that refuses not to be felt. And that ending… I practically saw that phone, and might’ve even glared at it in accusation.

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