choked on my own thoughts, felt
prisoner in my own body.
I forced my inhibitions to hold me captive. Till it was hard, too
hard for me to even breathe. I let my demons gravitate deep within places where
my temptations lie; I plummeted to a dimension beneath the clear skies. I know
I must have seeped some of my sorrow and woe into your little happy heart. Well
then, now that I have insinuated my guilt into your conscience- I formally
welcome you to this world of white lies.
saw the vivacious you, spreading
that beautiful aura into that dingy room. Your beautiful hair, colour like that
of falling autumn leaves. I found comfort in your round glistening eyes, and
the moment your soft mouth broke into the most captivating smile, I knew that
my autumn was here, in you. I had yearned for you on those chilly afternoons,
when the nights didn’t seem to end. When desolation wasn’t just a feeling, but
a perpetual state of my heart. I wanted to save you from everything that could
hurt you, but then I was struck with another thought, how hard it will be to
let you go. I wanted to remember your fragrance, it smelled of me. A little like
bittersweet lies, but there was something that smelled like a sunny day in a
field of flowers, when a thunderstorm is waiting to surprise you, you know? Oh,
but there was something lovely in it, but…not too much. After all, I had
infiltrated your unaware soul. And I had never hated myself more. You had to be
rescued, from your own mother.
It all started in the year 1789. I still get chills down my spine by
the mere mention of it. The revolutionary fervour among the countrymen of
France hadn’t subsided, and it didn’t seem like it would anytime soon. Your
grandfather, a landlord, was on the run because of the widespread hysteria.
There was madness surging all over with the agrarian insurrection hastening it.
Every moment passed in fear and terror. What would seem appalling to many, was
my truth. I hoarded all odds and was fastidious about all sorts of bits and
bobs I possessed. I was born in wealth, coddled and loved. I grew anxious over
losing something that I had held so close to my heart all my life. The value of
it didn’t matter, if I owned it, I would store it meticulously. The looting of
landlords houses, and the vandalism was escalating, and somewhere deep in my
heart I knew, I was about to lose it all. Even my family. We hadn’t heard from
my father in two months and I was mourning the loss of something even before it
I am not going to go into
the excruciating details because recalling those old traumatic memories cause
me nothing but insuperable amount of pain. Let’s just say that soon the news of
my father’s killing reached us, and my mother who always had a way with her
words, who had just lost the love of her life, gave it no thoughts. This is
what was in the last letter she wrote for my father,
‘I will wear it all like a
noose around my neck;
The veins which travel all the
way from the hand you held, to the left side of my chest…’
I told you, she had a way with her words.
I shed no tears, I could say nothing. I let out a loud cry and
fell straight on the cold earth. There was no sense of dejection or misery in
the air. The family had just lost their eldest son and daughter-in-law. But all
my mercenary gold-digging uncles were concerned with was the division of whatever
was left of the property my father had bequeathed me with, lacking any other
child. In my phase of bereavement and nervous disposition, they banished me
from all family ties, and took over all that was mine. I was left with nothing
but the hope and memories of your father, my Marcus. He was away from the
country, eloping his fate, occasionally writing a letter. I did not even have
the means to respond. I was locked inside a shady dusty room, and served
leftovers twice a day. They might as well have killed me. It went on for over
four months, when finally somehow my aunt, forgot locking the door after she
had come to give me my meal. I didn’t think twice before stealthily making my
way out of the back door.
With the sunrise, it dawned upon me, that it had been a long time.
It was winter now. The slow onslaught of the evil had proved to be effective
and ultimately a harbinger to a slew of unnatural events. The wretched
treatment I had received proved to be detrimental. What was once a challenge of
staying warm and well, crawled its way morphing itself into an impossible game
of survival. Life slowly crawled into an abyss, its morals and values quickly withdrawn
into its primitive states. I somehow dragged my body onto your father’s
doorsteps, afraid that he may not even be home, or even alive for that matter.
I remember colliding again, only to be woken up to the reassuring eyes of your
father. I do not recall healing. I never did. I woke up every night- screaming,
shouting vociferously for help. The self created evocative images of my parents
falling down some deep unending ditch started taking a toll on my health in
ways I can’t even explain.
Oh, did I mention, we moved two months after I came back to
Marcus. He thought that if I was away from the roots of where it all started, I
would be better off. Poor Marcus, Little did he know that I had impregnated
every inch of my heart with pain that I couldn’t wipe off. I had inflicted
myself with a malignant disease.
Your father suggested I write. Write to heal. But then I thought,
to write would be to revisit everything that caused me agony. Not that I
already didn’t cause myself enough distress, but then my wounds would find a
permanent abode. My own convoluted behaviour surprised me, but then, it was
almost as if I let a parasite grow inside of me, making me terminally ill.
Emotionally and perhaps bodily.
What sutures of a healing wound look like? Penned
down on a brown wrinkled paper and tucked in between linen sheets.
But then, the perilous smoke that I let insinuate within the
chambers of me overwhelmed my very anchor. The empathy my alter self had was
almost funny. It knew nothing. I burnt nights for a lost cause. Saved the days, reposing the maddening melancholy. It set my soul on
fire. It wasn’t the kind with which ambitions are ignited, but the one self
destruction owes its genesis to. It was the bane of my own existence. I am
sure, my inception was resolute. But what broke me were the unfavourable winds
I lured into my direction for the love of the forlorn, ominous grey. I heard
the thin air testify to my sins. The sin of not reciprocating the love your
father showered me with. I didn’t have any to give.
I suppose the relations I left behind aren’t very different from
the ashes I bleed out from the cigarettes I smoke every day. Shredded.
With 1790, it was that time of the year again. Dreadful. For sleeping in that engulfing silence was
tormenting. You know, people like me, immured in their own bodies find noise as
an easy way to escape thinking about things you should have said, things you
should have done. I loved being under a veil to shield myself from
those seemingly vindictive eyes. But then, I absolutely despised it when there
was no means to ward off the silence, because obviously, I didn’t want to alarm
people and invite them to arbitrate at my own court. So I cried. Cried the most
silent cry, to heave myself out of the pain. Clutching my pillow, I pressed it
hard against my chest, as if it could comfort me out of the unfathomable pain.
But what I didn’t realize? That the wounds are fatal, and it would take more
than cotton to soak it in. It would need a cause to heal itself. Marcus wasn’t
enough. My heart awaited you.
As the cold started dying, I realized something about me was
different. I felt warm. I felt at home, for the first time in a long time.
There was a life breathing inside of me. Your sunshine was radiating on my
face. Marcus had never been happier. All I knew was with you, I could give
Marcus something to hold onto after I left the both of you. I couldn’t have
drowned my own daughter in the depths of my despair. The time you spent within
me, I tried smiling as much as I could. I didn’t want another me.
With the advent of autumn, I had you. The first time I held you,
the sweat drops that trickled down my forehead soon changed into tears. Tears
of joy and pain; joy that I had created something of my own, and pain that I
would soon have to leave you. This is when I needed my mother the most. All
this while, I had been really angry at her, at how impetuously she had acted.
She should have held onto life. For me. She had chosen the easy way out of all
the turmoil, almost as if she were unaware of my existence. I wanted to hold
her once more. Caress her beautiful skin. Feel her perfume, and sleep
peacefully. It had been quite a while now.
But then, I had an epiphany. I told you, you smelled exactly like
me. Exactly like my mother. I couldn’t let you go through what I had suffered.
More than that, I needed my ‘Autumn’ to cure me of my soul’s winter. Maybe it
was time, You saved me from myself. Here you are, sleeping so contently as I
write this. I knew from the very start, Autumn was the right name for you.
I have never wanted to live
so much than I do today. For you. Till then, for all I know, I would be reading
the same page again, tomorrow.
-Sage Stella Vincent Archambault.
3Oth September, 1790.