The first part of this story is An Ordinary TV Remote
He would come home stressed out and tired. All he would want was to slump in front of the TV and pretend to be engrossed in some obscure program or game with his attention and thoughts tuned out. She, having at last put the child to sleep, would want to watch her daily sitcom that would not expect her to pay attention or to think.
Both of them felt the other ought to be considerate of their unexpressed exhaustion. Yes, they expect clairvoyance of each other. When they didn’t get what they expected, they turned vengeful. Both of them began playing terrible games with each other; games they carried to the bedroom.
It was awful to watch.
They closeted themselves with their own unacknowledged and undefined pain. They closed the doors of their hearts to contain their loneliness. That’s another way of saying they locked each other out.
By the time the child was two years old, they had become strangers sharing a roof. I can’t honestly say they shared a bed. The bed had turned into a weapon of war. It was used by both with a ruthless cruelty that would make you weep. I don’t mind confessing that I wept; we both did, TV and I.
We didn’t want a boisterous family around us anymore. We didn’t give two bits for shared meals, laughter and mundane melodrama. We just wanted this man and his woman to look at each other again. We would have been overjoyed if they had begun to neglect us again because they were too lost in each other and their beautiful daughter. I never thought a day would come when I would pine for the fluffy brown dust of abandonment. We wanted to be abandoned, TV and I. You’ve no idea how we prayed for the cruelest disregard.
The situation was desperate. Then one day, TV and I could keep silent no longer. We decided we’d have to take things into our own hands. We couldn’t stand by and watch like inanimate matter. Though I say we, it really was my show.
I would work like a dream all day. Come evening, some inexplicable malady would strike my insides. My buttons would simply not work. No matter how often they changed the cells, I simply refused to respond to their commands in the evening. Watching TV became a tedious task since they couldn’t very well keep getting up to change channels or to adjust volume.
Since I worked perfectly all day, they didn’t think there was anything wrong with me- or they might have got another remote. We had prepared for that eventuality as well, TV and I. If I was replaced, TV would appraise the new remote of our plan and things would go on as planned.
For the first few days, they both sat, bored and tired, in front of the TV showing a program at least one of them hated.
With time, the games they played with each other lost it arena. They lost their edge without the whetstone that was me. The flood of arguments ran into the burning sands of silence and petered out. The TV was put on less frequently. They began to talk a bit while eating their dinner instead of he keeping his eyes glued to the TV while she simmered and planned vengeance.
There was no remote to fight over. They were both disgusted enough with me to let the other have exclusive possession. They began to laugh sometimes, initially at me, later with each other. She would recount to him the child’s antics during the day. He realized he was missing his daughter’s childhood entirely.
She started making sure the child’s nap time during the day increased. By the time he came home in the evening, the child would be awake to play with him having rested enough during the day. She prepared dinner while he romped with the child. They ate together and talked- and laughed at the child’s frolics like pleased parents the world over. They took pictures of their princess and recorded videos of her childish capers. Then they would play the videos on the TV and sit close together, the child in their lap.
The TV was almost never put on again except to watch the videos they had made. They began to notice each other. Tentatively at first, they began to see each other again. Mindless sitcoms and endless news mongering were no longer the focal point of their existence; their daughter was. Inevitably, their hearts began to open to each other again. I am sure you can imagine the joy TV and I felt. At last we had become redundant once again.
Yesterday, they decided to sell the TV. A friend of theirs wanted a TV to put in his rather seedy restaurant. He liked the TV well enough but not me. With a disgusted look at me, he threw me aside and said, “I’ll get a new remote for this.” I suppose the fights between the couple had endowed me with too many battle scars. My body was broken and chapped with adhesive tape barely holding my body and soul together.
I have been thrown away in the garbage. I bid TV adieu yesterday. We aren’t much into talking, so we didn’t say anything. Though he was sad, I know he was also happy. We both are.
I told you I wasn’t an ordinary TV remote, didn’t I?