Wednesday, August 15, 2007

little girl ; little story

A small round shadow was always glued to the cream wood. The silver door knob could be a dead clock, if someone stood all day watching the shadow circle around the knob. They made such things -- stairs, wells, towers, rocks to tell time when the clock was not around. But, did they keep time? Or wait for the shadow to change into an egg to put their children in bed. But, maybe they did not have beds also.

When daddy had first taken me for a walk among the pineapples on the grassy slope, I knew this was the most beautiful home anyone ever lived in. Maybe I am too young to really know if other homes are more beautiful, but yes I remember his hands holding me firmly as I floated over trickling streams of water reaching the roots of giant Dahlias. I am again much too young to be sure if I like the Dahlias but daddy really loves the Dahlias, and I am only one, and Dahlias are so many, and I am also only in one colour.

So I never go to the flower show and stay with
Luxmi who steals butter and gives me a few pieces and I keep my mouth shut. Maybe Luxmi needs all the butter or her big blouse won't fit and she will have to make smaller blouses which she won't and James will drop his food on the floor again and again, and watch her clean it.

The first time I saw the door was with Luxmi. It was not the flower show but fever. My bed was as hot as me so it made me sweat too much and Luxmi refused to give me a bath. So I made her take me to the kitchen garden where corn grew. Funny, now they make me eat baby corn when I got scolded so much for plucking one last year and wasting corn. I wanted to play a game with the rose bushes. Pluck one petal from each shrub without scratching my finger or mom will scold Luxmi and put Dettol and I will scream and daddy will scream because my screaming will be louder than the news. Luxmi would then put the petals in a bowl of water where I could watch a few petals sink in slowly.

Maybe petals also have luck because some of them would not sink. Maybe the sunken petals were sad and the floating petals laughed at their own good luck, but then the next morning the sunken petals will stay pink and fresh while the floating petals will have brown ends. Still the brown petals tasted better than pink petals because they were crispy now. Maybe the brown petals died and the drowned petals were alive and laughing. But I really don't know. Just like I don't know what was behind the door with the silver knob below the stairs. There were no rooms and all the stilts were painted blue. But the door was not blue and the room was just alone. Maybe there were other rooms but maybe just like I loved running around the stilts, daddy did too and so he plucked away the rooms.

I would have asked him about the other rooms if only he did not get so angry about the one room that is still there.

When Luxmi is busy cleaning and James is sleeping under the water tank and daddy is in office where he was just made the head, I go and stare at the door, wishing I could touch it. But, I know I am smart enough to know that the door won't open if I did touch the knob. Mom had come from behind, very quietly even though her shoes always made a loud tip-top noise like my tip-top shoes I got for birthday, and grabbed my shoulders and took me to my room. She also wanted to kill Luxmi, which made me very sad because Luxmi could not put my rose petals in the bowl that evening.

I was crying when mom told me never to go near the door and I swore on my tip-top shoes, and mommy also, to never go to the door. But, maybe like rose petals, promises also die when mommies die. I don't know so I don't touch the door or the knob but when daddy is not there and Luxmi is cleaning and James is sleeping under the water tank, I go see the door.