I see them walk every day, slow at first then pace up, Vicki with her dog, and Little Raj, holding his mother’s hand. There is a distance of five feet between but they always walk in parallel. My daughter talked about parallel lines, ‘they never meet’ she said with a sad face. The thought two lines not meeting dismayed her. I saw her draw two parallel from the living room to the kitchen trying her best to make them meet. She sat down next to me and placed her on my lap. Her soft smooth hair curls around my hand, her face so innocent that my heart ached. I tucked her in bed and told a story, a made-up one, of a Queen and her little princess. She listened carefully relishing in every word, eyes relaxed and slowly she fell asleep. 

I think of Vicki and Raj, two oddities who never meet, even with a similar path and probably a similar destination, the chance of them meeting at a single point is improbable. I oscillate between the sugar jar and bottle of honey, one made of glass and the other of plastic, honey should be healthier, or that’s what my husband’s family dietician said. I poured a cup of tea onto a blue orchid coloured bone china teacup. It was a gift from a distant relative who couldn’t attend our wedding. The cups were pretty, so pretty I could stare at them as long as I can and not worry. I made us ginger lemon tea and dropped a spoonful of honey. Vicki, the girl with a tattoo on her cheek, a crescent moon, symbolic of her growth and strength. I took a piece of paper and wrote that it was a vague idea but the possibility of seeing Vicki grow thrilled me. I thought of Raj,the ten-year-old boy who lives opposite Vicki. His mother a young widow with nothing much struggles every day. Raj’s mother should have a name. I took another piece of paper and started to scribble random names,  that I have heard, names from internet, the comments left by people on YouTube videos always gives weird ideas. I browse through them as tea gets cold. 

I heard footsteps somewhere in the distant, it must be my husband, I pour the tea into the teapot and reheat it. He prefers his tea boiling hot. I slip my notepad into a pouch hidden behind a set of ceramic plates. The mustard yellow colour of the plates camouflages the maize coloured satin pouch. I pour the tea back to the china cups and wash my face. The cold tap water rinses the uneasiness from my face. I smile as I think of Vicki and Raj, the story I never said and walk towards my husband with boiling hot ginger lemon tea. His sips his slowly savouring every bit, I have often seen him finish his drink taking hours, hours of silence and peace until I reheat dinner. I thought of Vicki and Raj, I could go back to the kitchen and sketch a bit more of their story. The tea was placed right in front of him, he took a sip and grimaced. They have been walking in parallel since last few days, where do they go from there, I thought of Raj’s nameless mother. Her name is important, it should be more of her story through Raj. I take mental note before entering the kitchen. The parallel lines reminded me of my daughter, I went to her room, she lay on the bed, eyes closed, so much warmth and peace on her face. I thought of the last time I was this peaceful. I can’t remember, probably my face would look something similar when I write or think of what happens next to Vicki and Raj.

Vicki and Raj are like two distant lines unable to intersect. I pull the notepad from the pouch when I hear a noise, a loud creaking noise. It was from outside but it loud enough for me to drop everything to take a look. My husband stood in front of me, confused and alarmed, it was our neighbours, one of them met with an accident. I can’t figure out what, for people are murmuring about a lot of things. My husband’s face is flushed, almost guilt-ridden as if he caused this unfortunate event. The tea in his hand was still steaming, he clutched the cup closer towards him, fingers entwined around. 

The elderly woman who lived opposite motioned us for help, my husband moved away letting me go. I walked towards her and helped her get up. Later I refilled her pitcher with cooled boiled water and rearranged her house. There were photo frames, scattered and broken, some old worn-out pictures of a couple. A smiling photo of the old lady in her younger days. She would resemble Raj’s nameless mother. I thought of my pouch hidden behind the ceramic plates, half drafted character sketches on the notepad. If only I had them with me all the time, I would draft the character sketches of Raj’s mother. I slowly led the old woman to her room and nursed her, applied the balm, made her herbal tea and bought her painkillers from the local pharmacist. 

Vicki with her dog and Little Raj with his mother continued to walk, they crossed the street, waved at a local tea vendor, wished a priest good morning and continued to walk. My husband was still at home sipping his tea and my daughter still tucked in her bed. I thought of the parallel that never meets. Two worlds that take the same route, meet the same people, breathe the same air but never meet. I sang a song, an old lullaby which grandma used to sing, the old lady smiled, a half concern and half gratitude. I held her hand and lulled her to sleep. 

My husband finished his cup of tea and it felt like time was frozen. I walked to the kitchen, threw the cups onto the sink and heated the dinner. There was a crackling noise simmering in air and I thought of breaking the lines that never meet. I smudged the lines that my daughter drew blurring the distance that separates them. It was infinity, the one I created for the lines to meet. And tomorrow I will know how to tell the story of a girl with a crescent moon tattoo and nameless mother of a ten-year-old boy. 

October 11, 2019 17:51

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