Wednesday, October 04, 2006

love and abandonment

It was 5a.m and the first of the squirrels had started squeaking cautiously.
GL always loved this part of the day. She would push her quilt aside, reach for the door, open it and sneak back into the warmth of her bed. She would then pull her quilt till her chin and lie down facing the door. Drafts of chill air would slowly fill her room, and caress GL’s face and hair as they passed. GL would close her eyes and glide back into another bout of sleep, letting the cool air touch her the way only it could. There would be a tingle in her ears, a brush against her cheek, a kiss on her eyelids, a movement in her hair. And then the alarm clock would shatter the peace at 7a.m. GL would feel her cold cheeks with her hands and feel loved - by the oak.
GL lived in the first floor, and her bedroom had a door opening out to a small terrace. Beyond the terrace was a big oak tree that housed hundreds of squirrels… of this GL was sure. The branches of the oak trespassed into GL’s terrace and she loved it. And spent hours talking to the branches on cool Sunday afternoons. She loved the ranting of the oak on windy days. She loved watching the variety of ants that constantly disappeared into and emerged from the unbelievable number of crevices the sturdy trunk of the oak had. Each of these ants and each of these squirrels belonged to this mighty oak just as she herself belonged to it. The oak gave freely of itself.
GL was back into her bed and waiting for the cool air to come calling. She had been sleeping fitfully. The branches of the oak had been trimmed last noon while GL was away, and now they didn’t overflow into her terrace the way they had done earlier. And GL felt distanced. She envied the ants and the squirrels. GL sighed as she noticed a tingle on her forehead. The air was turning cool. And the squirrels were squeaking in a highly animated tone. Housewives arguing on what made puddings softer and what made them crunchier. “mmmmm… shuttt… up” mumbled GL. It had no effect on the housewives. The drafts of cool air were stronger today, but it saddened GL to know that they hadn’t passed through the branches of the oak. The touch seemed alien. The housewives were now arguing intensely and GL could take it no more. She stepped into the terrace. And yelled into the general direction of the oak “shut up, you nincompoops!” and choked at the same time. Everything went still. For a fleeting moment, the squirrels had been stunned into silence. And then, the whole of hell broke loose. The squeals were now louder than ever…and more animated. Having recovered, the housewives were now protesting against having been yelled at… or were mocking her, GL could not tell. GL turned her back to them and slammed the door hard. Bitter tears coursed their way down GL's cheeks. She had been abandoned - by the oak.

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