That monsoon

That monsoon which the old spinister around the corner considered as the only one that mattered, was the eighth monsoon I saw, each till then out did the other in its emphasis and fiercness, after that they were all the same, endless boring rain. That monsoon was also the one the neighbourhood gossips and scandalised aunties called,’ the monsoon of the affair of Missus Lonely’, an affair so brazen that even now, they spoke of it flabbergasted at the complete, utter shamelessness of it. I remember Missus Lonely as tall, willowy with this fragility about her, a sharp contrast to her height which was imposing to say the least. She seemed to be all things graceful and elegant, a sharp contrast to what they said. Missus Lonely had an affair with a boy, younger than her, an orphan boy deemed a no gooder troublemaker by all who met him and didn’t. She met him at church, in a bar, at a reformed addicts meeting, the stories vary on this, but she did meet him that monsoon on that there is no dispute. She returned him with him on his motorcycle, the retired doctor opposite to the Lonelys swears by it, “as I did my customary, nightly survey of the lights in the houses and the cars returned to sleep on ths streets, I saw her return with him. Her face flushed and excited, she kissed him right there on the street in front of the whole neighbourhood, “she seemed so alive there on the street” the retired doctor used to say wistfully almost while she reiterated, “right on the street” to convince the listeners of how disapproving and appropriately scandalised she was at Missus Lonely’s affair.
I might have been eight but I knew with all that unshakeable belief only children possess that no matter what people said about Missus Lonely, I knew she was good. The affair continued that monsoon. They were honest and unapologetic, blatant and brazen. The word ‘affair’ in itself conveyed all that repressed, guilty frustated regrets people felt and never acted upon for that would be deemed inappropriate and improper, it is a sneaky word, a bad word meant to convey shame and guilt but that affair that monsoon of Missus Lonely’s and the no gooder,troublemaker, orphan boy was unlike any affair. Mister Lonely was as cold as haughty as he always was, any other man they would have pitied and sympathised but Mister Lonely, who they were convinced looked down upon them with that magnificent, carved patrician nose deserved this fate, they concluded.
The affair of Missus Lonely was a love story that enfolded on the street in that neighbourhood that monsoon. The monsoon was relentless, virile it pounded at the neighbourhood. The windows at the Lonelys were never drawn aside, I saw them once and even now I can see them, every detail etched out in my mind. It had been one of those nights, where the arguing voices competed with the pounding rain, my sister cried herself to sleep every night while I listened sleepless. I roamed the streets those nights staring into the windows of the neighbourhood. I grew up on those nights on those lives of the people that opened up once the sun fell and the darkness set in, as if the effort to hide was needed no more in the dark and they could be unseen unjudged. I saw them together, one of those nights, the missus and the boy, wrapped together against the window, they seemed frozen, blind to the people, the world, the window, me. Her eyes opened then, tempestuous eyes twirling with dreams lived and promises kept, she saw me and smiled. The power went off united with the darkness. I saw him frame her face against the candlelight, they stared at each other sillouhetted in the dark, they stared at each other, their hands tracing each other’s faces, lingering,teasing they stared. I might have been eight but that moment,that very moment I was witness to love. The kind of love that had no reason no sense no understanding but to the people in it, it was the purest love with no base with no purpose and to no end, it was just love and it needed nothing else. I still remember how I stood there watching them, transfixed I stood. The boy, the no gooder, troublemaker orphan boy was never seen after that night as did the monsoon finally end after that night.
Nobody living in that neighbourhood understood what happened after, all they knew was that the Lonelys had been misunderstood and they were in fact their picture of ‘ideal’, except to the old spinister around the corner who was always wary and suspicious of everything she didn’t understand, what she understood was condemned but what she didn’t understand, she feared.
That night I had seen Mister Lonely too. He had been the one framing her face. Theirs had been the love, I witnessed at eight. I never thought I would ever see such a love again but then I saw Quentin and Anna. I lived and died in wonder of that and that was enough for me being witness to such a love.

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