Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cinder and Smoke VI

Leo! Damn, Leo. Damn, damn, damn! I glance at the clock and see that it’s past 8. Another frozen dinner tonight. Leo must have eaten. I ignore her or rather tolerate her presence these days; our interaction is at best, limited but somehow, she’s always in my head- I have to go out, where’s Leo? I have to eat- Leo- has she eaten? I’m sleepy, is she asleep on the couch again? Leo. Always Leo. I feel obsessed. Behind the facade of this life we are living- no this stagnant Existence. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t. Nobody blames me. I have the cushy job, I pay the bills, and I had the once gorgeous, brilliant girlfriend. I’m still young; I’m on Sheridan’s team, for the love of God. I have- I have “prospects”! Nobody would say I’ve shirked responsibility. Nobody would say anything. Mama would be rather relieved if she knew. Vinnie- she always liked Leo. Vinnie might refuse to be reasonable for a while, but she would come around. That is, if she even called one of these days. It wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t have possibly stopped it or seen it coming. She was so strong, so sure. I Couldn’t have prevented it! I stuck on for this long, trying to make it work. Did I? Did I persevere, did I ignore? At least I tried; didn’t I? I’m not being hypocritical, I stuck on this long. It’s not my fault! There is nothing left from who we used to be, no reminder of the life we led before. Nothing but the cracked remains. The chipped cherub in the hall that bears the ghost of Leo’s mocking smile. It wouldn’t be difficult. She could still have the house. I am a gentleman. And I did love her. Did? Do? I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know.
Leo with her mocking smile. Leo lost in my white shirt with wet tousled hair, humming Van Morrison. Leo on cold winter nights with hot coffee in her hand. Just Leo on cold winter nights. Leo buying Vinnie a big bouquet of gladiolas when she came to visit that one time. The way Leo smelled and the way she felt curled up tightly beside me. The way she loved to be kissed, softly on her eyelids before she fell off to sleep. Leo screaming and arguing-arguing furiously and suddenly laughing by mistake halfway. Leo‘s rich, husky voice. Leo’s love for anything that involved James Dean. Leo and her Bob Dylan-Robert Plant obsession. Leo. Leo’s face when she was excited. Leo on the rare occasions that she blushed. Leo running her fingers gently up and down my spine. Leo lying next to me on the balcony. Leo and her fiery brown-black eyes. Leo trying not to cry with her nose turning red. Leo making me laugh. Leo’s laugh. Leo. My Leo.  
I have to talk to Leo.

"But my hands remember hers, rolling 'round the shaded ferns
Naked arms, her secrets still like songs I'd never learned”

I walk into the living room. “Leo”, I walk towards her. She’s asleep. Her hand flung over the edge of the sofa. Her eyes shut, barely breathing. Her tangled hair hides half of her face, her lips a little parted. She looks so frail. I take her hand and for now she is my Leo again. Things will be different. Things Can be different. Unsaid things don’t have to smother what’s left. Maybe we could- we could talk about it.
I kneel down beside her and knock into the bottle. It rolls away beneath the sofa, clinking into the chintz darkness and I catch a whiff of Leo's permanent scent these days.

“Cinder and smoke
You’ll ask me to pray for rain
With ash in your mouth
You’ll ask it to burn again”

13 comments:

Anushka said...

Riddhi, ridhhi, I had NO FREAKING IDEA you were writing this series. It seems really mature, and atmospheric. I will read them altogether at leisure when I have more time. Can't wait.

*rubs hands together in glee*

Ravindra Merthi said...

m a dork n it wll extremely hard 4 me to consume all 6 chaptrs in one go.

just finishd II chap n i wan 2 kno tht quotd lines r also writtn by u(Srry if this is a wrong Q's)

Riddhi G.D said...

@anushka- heh, i Love the anticipation you put into reading one of My stories. Highly flattering. *claps hands in exultation*
@ravindra- Dork, huh? I thought i was too. Not now. And take your time, readership is appreciated.
The quoted lines are Not written by me unfortunately. I would have put int a citation but wasn't really sure where to put it. The quoted lines are figments of songs.

Ravindra Merthi said...

just surprisd....i guess till last chaptr tht u r Leo's friend:)....thn i came to kno tht u r nt a Boy:)

ur imagination iz too good.

Riddhi G.D said...

Thanks! That's the greatest compliment you could have given me actually. I've never written from the point of view of a man before. Was kind of difficult for me.
Thankyou very much

Trisha said...

you are brilliant, fullstop. there is a depth of feeling and an emotional nakedness that few people are brave enough to think on to paper/screen whatever. i think we should have a conversation about writing a longer version of this though. something potentially publishable. you certainly deserve to be!

Riddhi G.D said...

Thankyou Trisha. We've spoken about this =)

blinknmiss said...

Oh look. Iron and Wine. Though the two songs are sort of incongruous together.

Pleased to run into you.

Riddhi G.D said...

Shalmi right? Yeah, Cinder and smoke sort of set off a train of thought. And Sam Bean is one of my favorites. And yeah, I thought so too actually, needs tweaking which I don't have time for atm. But Passing afternoon is just those four lines there, otherwise the whole thing is basically Cinder and Smoke.

Shahana said...

I finished reading this now, finally.
and yes, you are a genius.
period.

Riddhi G.D said...

Aw. Thankyou Shy. Means much. Much much <3

TurbulentMind said...

Just read the six parts of Cinder and Smoke..wow..no other words..the free-spiritedness, madness and self sufficiency of Leo and the uncertainty yet deep love of 'him', you have crafted the two characters wonderfully..LOVE the way you write :)

Riddhi G.D said...

Turbulent Mind- Thankyou, thankyou. So much praise is a leetle hard to take in, but not complaining. Thankyou Very much :)