Continued from Dawn: The Charioteer (II)
The girl clambered in through the window carrying a bunch of pristine white daisies and scarlet poppies. With her brightly colored kurta over the I-Live-In-‘Em pair of jeans and an untroubled face, she looked like a little kid. Her waist length hair was still dripping from her shower and there was a smile which eddied permanently in her deeply etched dimples. The expression in her large smoke grey eyes was somber though. The seriousness in her eyes only heightened the underlying humor in her face. It was very obvious that she was a woman who was so accustomed to laughter that even a crisis couldn’t estrange her from it. It covered her in a cloak of radiance, like her personal sunshine.
The morning after the disturbing night, when she had vaulted over my window, had dawned fresh and quiet. She woke early to see the sun breaking over the horizon in a glorious burst of color and light. She explored every nook and cranny in me. Timidly, she peaked into the garden and found it deserted. She exclaimed in delight at the food she found in the refrigerator. She must have been starving because she broke loose on the food instantly. Only when her hunger was sated, did she finish the rest of her tour.
By afternoon she had not only examined me thoroughly, but also settled down and made herself home. I was surprised to see her ignore the two spacious bedrooms on the ground floor. She selected the much smaller bedroom upstairs for herself; the one which had witnessed Chetan’s outburst. It really shouldn’t have surprised me I suppose.
After she had settled herself in, she went foraging downstairs again. She examined the two bedrooms. Most of Chetan’s personal stuff had been delivered two days ago. I saw her riffling through his books, examining some of his picture frames and reading a file containing his certificates and degrees. By late evening when she finished, she had a pretty accurate mental sketch of Chetan. Then, she found the diary.
I have no idea what kind of monsters were imprisoned within the pages of the diary. But I knew they were there, for her face proclaimed their presence. Did I tell you, she had a very open face? Her lips, eyes and chin were intensely eloquent. It was like watching a silent movie. There weren’t too many pages in the diary; she finished reading them in half an hour. She fixed herself something to eat and gobbled it down distractedly. Back in ‘her’ room, she re-read the diary, more slowly this time. When she finished, she sat on a chair by the window. I was truly taken aback when she suddenly stood up close to the window. She gripped the frame as Chetan had, rested her head on the glass pane as he had. The jerky movement of her shoulders was almost expected… and inevitable.
The next few days promised be interesting. You cannot criticize my style of expression. Sometimes, an understatement serves better to convey drama than powerful words.
She went to sleep with the diary under her pillow, crying herself to sleep. Once the initial storm had blown over, her tears acquired the character of a release. They lost their colors of sorrow as if their flowing had healed wounds within her. I felt her later tears were to nourish a hope that had sprouted within her in the past few hours. What an amazing being man is! What an intense will to life, what a fiercely resilient spirit! To see a human being heal himself and stand straight again; his eyes regain their lost luster, to see a resolute cast to his face is to see a miracle unfolding right before your eyes. When you see him look ahead, hope lighting his eyes, ready to walk his path again, you being to understand why God loves him the best of all His creatures. The capacity to heal and begin again is truly the best gift God could have given him.
I watched her now, bemused, as she stood in the kitchen arranging flowers in a few crystal vases she had found. The manner in which she had moved through me in the past two days spoke volumes about her background. She was not intimidated by the luxury she saw. She took it as matter of course, proclaiming her familiarity with it. Her short, slender frame did not look dwarfed in the imposing rooms. The rooms merely became a setting to show her off best; like a diamond set faultlessly in precious metal.
Chetan was due to return today. I was not very sure when he would come. I seemed to remember him mention mid-morning. I wished there was some way I could have warned her of his impending arrival. In the two days, I really had become rather fond of her. She was such a happy presence to have around. I remembered the last time I had seen Chetan and his outburst. Fervently I wished he would keep his cool and let this golden blob of sunshine explain her presence in his house before chewing her to bits and spitting her out. Mind you, I am not unreasonable. Looking at the situation objectively, I am sure her presence would seem like breaking and entering. I pushed the phrase away from me in fastidious distaste.
I wasn’t really worried; just had a touch of anxiety.
To be continued…