Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prelude

[My entry for this week's 3WW prompt]

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What could arise out of a simple question asked of a stranger, a question fielded about an address on a rumpled piece of paper, a question put forward by a woman while walking along a footpath covered with leaves led dither by the busy wind? A revelation? Or a bait?

The man walked around the bin capsized just to his right, its content strewn out of its mouth and out across the sand, the stench unbearable but forgettable by habit. He jumped over the plastic bag that had flown the farthest, the few paper packets of stale food contained within interesting the limp and rabid dog presently hopping over milk crates - upturned and blue in colour, the blue of vivacity- the crates equidistant, consecutives just far enough for a human leg to stretch and reach, an arrangement necessitated by the pool of water left behind by the previous night's half an hour rain.

They met.

He was asked the address. Turn left and the fourth shop from the... There lay the dilemma. She mustn't be told.

Friday dressing for him consisted of a pair of jean torn at the right ankle, only there and an yellow t-shirt hurriedly washed the previous night and left to face the heat of an early morning sun. He didn't bother to press them. He was to wear the work overalls at the factory and for the journey on the footboard of the bus, with one leg of his hovering over the road and the fingers of his right hand barely grasping the cold rails of the window nearest to the door, this worked.

She knew the days but their occurrence had lost their significance long ago. Only one thing mattered: the recurrence of the date on which the most singular event of her life had taken place. 72 hours separated her from that day.

There goes an educated man. One who would bother to pause and answer. Surely!

He did.

He read the address on the sheet of paper, its letters black and all in capital, shy, spaced out far enough to indicate a writer unsure of her own literacy, blurred by the sweat that had leaked from the afore held hand. The address was familiar to him. He held the paper with his left hand as his right hand unconvincingly drew a map of the route from their station to the place quested after as he explained the same to her. She wasn't to understand.

The statue at the centre of the square...whose statue was it? He had forgotten. Shiny. Silver? Bald. A true leader. No spectacles worn. Was there a beard? The pose and poise of a masterly orator perfectly captured. A hand fused to the hip and the other grasping the sides of an invisible lectern. His pose in his final photo? Just before the bullet had silenced him. But who was he and why, despite passing by it twice every day, did his name escape him at this moment? Why did it seem so important?

As the route was being explained, time stood by her for a moment, allowing her thoughts to take over and tangle themselves up as she appraised the person standing before her. An apparition of her seemed to queue up beside time and appraise him too, as if the distance and relative solitude mattered and could offer a different perspective. The past of a stranger-how much could be deduced from the first meeting? It mattered, the accuracy of this deduction, for she knew that the future with him could either be spent happily affirming positives or whining about the negatives.

The statue and its name were temporarily forgotten. Instead, he asked her to take a left, a right and then the third right and then...

She shook her head and made to grasp the paper.

The fourth store from the...

the?

...the liquor store.

A sense of propriety had prevented him from land-marking the liquor store. Poor man!

She smiled and thanked him.

He would be there. The man to whom she was tethered. The dog was busy with the stale food.

He hesitated before returning the smile.

Next moment, one of them moved away. The victim was left behind with the dog.
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7 comments:

ThomG said...

This was a very interesting read, a snapshot in time, with some great detail.

"K" said...

My favorite line: "There goes an educated man. One who would bother to pause and answer. Surely!"

What presumption.
This was a lyrical piece.

lissa said...

you have a distinct, unique style of writing, quite different in from what I have been reading from other 3WW writers

there is a mystery and a certain sense of what's to come, though I'm a bit confuse as to what's going on here but I like your choice of words

thanks for your visit to my 3WW

Thomma Lyn said...

I like the detail you've included, and you have a fresh, unique writing style.

Teal™ said...

Kalakkra ... po...

Vivek said...

Such kind words. Thank you all :)

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

this was superb .... full of suspense
even ur last 3WW was really good

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