The iron shackles bind me. To protect me or maybe as they term it 'to protect themselves from me'. I believe, these clutches will once unentangle to release my soul, but alas I won't be there to see it. I think much, do less. The less I do is better, 'better for the world ' as they term. I have got everything I need except the sunlight, the nature, the fresh air and a beach barbecue party. I don't know what it feels to be in a family, with friends visiting very often, my sister knows (whom I never met)
I can see a portrait of the earth outside my wall. A portrait of 60 by 48 inch that showcase my piece of earth. The sunlight melts itself to pass through the portrait and fall right on my neck as the new day says "hello earth" . The moon pours and scatters on my floor causing an illusion. When I was a child I used sit by my closet and try to gather the moon light to hold it in a glass jar. As I managed to capture the light, I realized they need to be released as I need. In winter, the trees go bald and the crunchy munchy leaves blown by the chilled wind sometimes take the route through my portray. I soak the leaves in a bowl of water in a hope to see it lively and fresh again. But I guess the leaves are alike me.
There is one more thing I see through the portrait which is another portrait, a portrait of a room that mostly remains vacant. From my boyhood I used to sit by my portrait with binocular and observe. The room has a very decorated ceiling and walls with those NASA space stuffs and all that. The bed's always clean. The lamp shaded by bamboo sticks that makes a puzzled view. The couch seems softer than it looks. The table has some detective books and science fictions. She comes, she goes - like a wind, never rests. I have been observing and observing. Thought of a million times to communicate but all went in vein.
One day I got up from bed and looked through my portrait. I could see some actions going on in her portrait. I put on the specs and took the binocular, sat on the chair after switching off the lights. She is arguing with her dad. And obviously her dad fails in this war of words with his teenaged girl and walks away. She locks the door by him with a bang and jumps on the bed, hides her pain in the softness of pillow. I couldn't decide the reason for me to become sad. Is it because I don't have anyone to argue with? Or her pain hurts me? I thought for a while to discover the reason. I took a paper and wrote, "You look like a blushing tomato! Come on, don't be sad, Cheer up!" on a paper and clipped it on a board. Binded the board by string and hung two torches side by side so that she could read what I've written. I laid the board down my portrait from where I see the world, the window, and wait. She looked this side one or two times but hardly noticed. I had those rays of light that are used by the cops and pointed it right on her lap. She got shocked and started looking here and there. At first she thought it to be the cops but as she took her binocular on her eyes, a smile brightened her face more than my torchlight. She ran to her table, took a paper and wrote something, held it right in front of her window for me to read. It was- "How can you see the tomato blush? You idiot!". That was super insulting to me. And in reply I wrote - "You burry your face in the pillow to cry and you say I'm an idiot!"
"Are you spying on me?"
"No, never! Why would I?"
"Then how do you know?"
"I saw it."
"You observed it. Through a binocular. That's how you see this far!"
"Yeah! You are right."
"Then you did it purposely! How long have you been spying?"
I was caught. And I had nothing else to write. I've never been in such a long conversation before. And now I feel hesitated.
"What's your name?"- another paper appeared.
"How do you know?"
"Stephens are my neighbour! I know them!"
"Harry, by blood "Stephen" - that's my name"
"I'm sorry, I didn't get you."
"Nothing. It's late. Good Night."
I saw her lying on the bed. She took a blanket up to her waist and looked at me. I know she can't see me, the lights are off. She is switched her lights off and again turned it on. She took a paper and wrote " stop staring at me" . This made me laugh after a pretty long time.
These days I'm having the red marks very often and indeed it hurts.
The next morning as I was bandaging up my injured hand, Filipino came with the food wrapped in a foil. She looked at me and said, " it's her birthday food... here..." and keep the packet on the desk. As I handed her the card I made, she said with pitiful voice, " you know she is gonna through it in the bin?"
"I know I certainly do"
" then why do you put these efforts?"
I don't know what pinched me but I cried out, " I am her elder brother!!"
" I wish shouting could make you the part of family...."
" please go!!"
I was hungry but her words left me a lot more injured than previous. I sat on my chair and thought what could I have done the last night. The words 'part of family' kept buzzing in my ear. I took the binocular to look at the nest. The egg finally hatched. The little baby bird guarded by its mother, trying to fly, flapped its wings.
All on a sudden I realised I had to take that "bitter truth" before anything and everything goes out of control. I went for a bath, turned on the shower. The best way possible to hide tears. I felt a lot of dark matter and dark energy went through me.
" you are here again? To Insult me?"
" Didn't take food yet? Medicine?"
" I'm not hungry!"
" But medicine?"
"Why are you here?"
" Christien came."
" what's that?"
" The Girl Next Door. She knows you, Harry"
" you really think anyone can know me?"
" your father decided to shift you next month in his warehouse."
" but what have I done?"
" she knows your name....and the rest you know it..."
" what's the date, Fil?"
" you know month hardly matters"
She went out with smile and locked the door as always. I took the Binocular and saw her in her room, watching TV. I don't know how she feels my stare! Today I didn't turn the lights off or hide behind the curtain. Instead I Stood Still and waited for her to take the binocular and have a look.
" hey! I can see you!"
" you can't see me unless I want. Don't you ever come to this house searching for me. Ok Christy?"
" you are a Stephen and then how come they don't know you?"
" promise me you won't come further."
I stood still keeping the Binocular on the shelf. Meanwhile I saw her with another piece of paper.
" you look quite handsome, must say."
" hardly matters."
" may I know your story?"
" it's hard to explain."
" you can try me out, if you want!"
" what is this?"
" find out if you want."
The next few hours I saw her searching some books, pressing some keys, put her ear next to the phone and her hand it on the writing pad.
My head was terribly aching. I could feel 'him' coming. I took a book and tried to concentrate to keep 'him' away. I could hear that hissing sound echoing by my ear, a whistling voice. As if a whooshing wind blew my soul and 'he' entered. Now 'he' is already here and I failed again.
I was lying on the floor with scratches all over my legs. The red marks got the redder and now it's getting black and blue. I gathered all my energies to get up on my legs but it didn't work. I dragged myself to the the blanket and kept lying on it until sunrise, hoping for someone to come.
" so it happened again?"
" nothing new!"
Filipino took my hand to lift me up and said, " you know you are getting heavy day by day?"
" you think it matters? I face death everyday."
" there is the food, take it. And please remember the medicine"
" I won't forget."
Who can forget a "bitter truth"! Neither can I. It's my life and I agreed I have to live with it, have to die with it, no one can help me and no one will help me.
" Filipino, tell them to enlarge my shackle"
" I can't reach the window"
" I think it's better you don't even try to reach there."
" I know"
She started cleaning the wound and apply antiseptics.
She said," Or you may..." unlocking the shackles with the keys hanging at the end of her scarf, "But make sure you don't return!"
" I don't want to go anywhere, believe me!"
" soon you will" - and she left the room locking the door.
For the first time in my life I felt free. I felt how it feels to be free. I could stand by the window, could reach the top of the shelf and most importantly the red marks are going to be invisible very soon.
As I was having my food I saw her jumping with a paper in her hand. I took the binocular and pointed at her.
" can we meet?"
" but why?"
" I know you!"
" so you found out?"
"I did. When to meet?"
" you have any idea of 'meeting' me?"
" where are the locks?"
" the door"
" and your legs?"
" free now."
She smiled at me and I could see the blush even without the binoculars.
" who's the spy then?"
"Me, for 7 years."
"Me too. 7."
"Meet me at 1"
She pointed right at me at my room, in the backyard of the Stephen mansion!
" girl, you are gonna die!"
I don't know why, I was literally waiting for her to come and free me. At times I felt- what if...if I am not me at that time she comes? what if 'he' comes again? or anyone else, among them? Does she actually know me? Could she identify? All these thoughts made me feel clumsy and weak. I didn't forget to take the medicine today.
There was a Knock at the door at midnight and I was waiting for that. I got up from the bed and unnecessarily I was nervous because nothing sort of this ever happened in my life. I looked at the mirror and took a sigh of relief, my marks are'nt that much visible with this hoodie and jeans.
She entered the room and signed me to turn the lights off. She whispered, "Oh! Idiot!" and sat on the floor.
"Why are you......"
She didn't let me finish. She pressed my mouth against her lips, her arms around my neck. Her breathe I could feel on my shoulder as she hugged me right after, and her whole body weight was on me. I was about to fall but she tackled me. This is maybe the affection I have longed for.
" may I stay here?" She whispered in my ear.
" no, you have a life. Go, live it"
" what about you then?"
" I'm destined"
" there are therapists and doctors who deal with patients like you everyday. I have already made an appointment."
" you are kidding, aren't you?"
Her soft face hardened and she looked directly in my eyes, " you don't deserve this". She handed over a walkie-talkie and taught me how to contact with her anytime. She spent the rest of the night gossiping with me leaning on my shoulder. As the first ray of light melted through my portrait, she disappeared.
"Is there someone? Hello? Anyone there?Mom? Ma! Mommy! Mamma! Mamma I'm here!! Mom?" I lost my breath, tears filled my eyes as I listened her yelling to Filipino," Can't you give that lunatic all he wants at a time? Just go and see what he needs! Go!"
As Filipino entered my room, I pushed her back through the door and shut the door on her.
"At least tell me what you need!"
" My childhood! My mamma! Can you give me?"
" Stop rubbishing!....Let me in... Let's talk...please, Harry?"
I opened the door and sat on my chair. She came to me and put the hands on my head and said, " you deserve better."
"I know! I do!"
"Your mother, she's afraid of your health and she cares for you... You know she sends........."
" Please, these lies don't work now!"
She left the medicine on the desk ,"You were asking for this. Here."
I looked at her and took the binocular before she left and sat by the window.
"Tell her to take you somewhere far."
" I will"
"Her perfume smells nice."
" Excuse me?"
" Your shirt"
And she left. I took the binocular to see whether she's in the room and suddenly the green light started blinking on the walkie-talkie screen. I received her call and she said, "Guess where am I?"
"Not in your room."
"Ok! Then.. you are behind the curtain?"
"In your heart!"
She giggled and said, "I'm gonna take you out today for the checkup"
" And I'm not coming!"
" I'm gonna kill you, idiot! I've done what not for his appointment!"
"Ok, I'm gonna come, happy?"
I couldn't continue my conversation any further, a loud shrill pierced my ear. My hands got numb and trembled. I reached to the walkie and called her again, "I can't come today, please I insist! some other day, please." and the walkie dropped on the floor with me and 'she' came.......
I know everyone coming but I can do nothing. I just think. I feel.
" who are you now?"
" A girl of 47, tired and exhausted..."
" Maria, good to see you after days!"
"For how long you're here?"
"You never know!"
"Your food, here"
"Who was here?"
"A teenager, a boy, Harry. He'd look out the window with binoculars and talk over walkies to a girl next door... Mostly it's him with some others' fluctuations"
" take those tissue rolls and geometry Box with you- let's see how he communicates! And window? You said window?"
"Which brick looks like a girl then?"
I indulged in thoughts... I know I change... But the changes are so uncertain and weird mostly. I desire for the sun, the glow. One day it's gonna wash away all of ME and turn me to 'me'.... One day....
"What's the season, Fil?"
"It's raining out"
"In this Summer if I am 'me', take me to the garden, as the first ray of light melts from the clouds on the earth and the golden glow touches my soul to remove them coming......"