The Perfect Birthday

Tomorrow is her birthday. In her head it feels like a typhoon the weather department had been warning her of for a year. She spent the last two days boarding up her windows and stocking supplies. She spent quality time with the people who cared for her, politely ushering them to leave her alone at the end of it. It is almost time now. She can do nothing more but wait.

In her head the crossroad looked like any other crossroad. Four identical roads meeting at a deserted stretch, lit by a single, quavering street lamp. The silence was so thick she felt it breathing down her neck. The lamp starts convulsing. Flicker. Flicker. Dead.

As far as she can remember, her birthdays were always bittersweet. She adored them but they terrified her too. Every year she tried her birthday on the scale. Never has there been a perfect birthday.  She was always disappointed with the amount of love. It was never enough for her. They were too forced. Cloyingly so.

The boarded-up memories begin to shake. The storm is not too far away. She tries to distract herself with her chores. Folding clothes is always a good option. Thunder loudly jeers at her. His vicious scorn makes her house cower. The hour was soon approaching.

She has to choose. The skies begin to lighten, lines of bruised purple ink. One lone songbird breaks through the stifling silence, with a lonely song of victory. She brushes away her tears. She falls to her knees.

So much has been lost and not enough found. Her guttural sobs wrack through her.

The clock strikes twelve. Sunshine floods her heart. The storm never comes. The crossroads fade to a sliver of a path through the woods. The oldest trees tower over her ushering her forward with a happy rustle. The shorter ones daintily shake their flowers.

She stares awestruck. It is a perfect birthday.

 

 

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Looking inside

What would me five years ago say to me now?

I imagine she would be disappointed.

 

She was brave and fierce. She was honest.

Now me is cautious and veiled.

The world is rarely let in. They see her only at her nicest.

The rest she keeps under lock and key.

 

Five years ago, she was loud and wild. She ran at her fears screaming her lungs out.

She moved excited and curious. Now me moves slow and wary.

She does all she can to delay time.

Fingers white and cramped with everything she holds on to.

Terrified she burrows deeper into her shell.

 

Me five years ago wouldn’t have expected this timid future.

She had been a dragon and now she is all but a meek, little mouse.

Family Curses

My grandmother’s curse fell on the child,

the day she was baptised.

‘You won’t give her my name,

but her nature you shall see

will be no less than another me.’

 

Early on, she took after her grandmother.

Same likes. Same quirks.

As she grew into her own,

her temper did the same.

 

Clear as day, it became to us.

We could only watch helpless,

as she turned into a mirror

of the woman who had cursed her

on the day she was baptised.

 

 

 

 

The Start of the Seven

His mother would tell the same tale, sixty years later each word the same as the first time.

 

‘He didn’t make a sound when he came. I was so young. I was so numb.’

‘I saw them dip him in two bowls, one of hot water and the other cold.’

‘I was so young and small. He didn’t get enough air to breathe when he came.’

 

He is her first born.

Blue born He,

he lead the brood that followed.

 

Their father was a man, more seen than heard.

Their mother took care of the house for twelve long years-

two families she bore on her teenaged shoulders,

the one she started and the one she married into.

 

Their father died six days after I was born.

He liked mutton soup and he sold tobacco.

That’s all I ever knew about him.

 

The stories of the seven they had,

could fill lifetimes seven fold seven.

 

I will tell you all I know,

whispered to me when crinkled hands held mine so tight,

those I overheard behind the doors

and as I pretended to sleep,

those I grew up with the oldest of them all.

I will tell you all,

to the best I know.

C for Chicken on A Tree

Plurality,

whisper the first part,

drawl the rest.

Let it wash over you,

like a wave.

 

It tossed and turned in her,

she cried she laughed

awestruck and then crushed.

 

She hadn’t lived long enough

to recognise the plurality

She cried and cried

at the strangeness of it all,

of her all.

 

People told her one version.

She saw another version in the mirror.

Family grew up with an another of her.

And then on the bluest of days,

when time just gushed with reminders

she would remember each and every version.

 

She will break with the guilt

of all their regrets.

She will shy away

and cower against the bed.

Tomorrow is the darkest,

stained with her fear of what it would bring.

the same, staid colours

or those she had never felt before.

Feeling too much had

never scared her before.

Now she was terrified,

too hurt to forget all the times

she had been crushed.

 

Chicken on  a tree,

couldn’t go anywhere

except whimper from side to side.

 

 

 

 

Love Story

Before him,

I could never stand people

like him.

They were never my friends

or they never stuck around.

And then I met him,

And then my friend he became

And then my lover.

After him,

my world shifted a bit,

it spun to the grooviest jig,

a constant smile tickling at my lips,

All of me

even the most secret of me,

He saw, like a mirror

As clear as he saw himself.

With him,

I beamed the brightest,

ear to ear.

I can never dim it,

all this happy I feel.

As constant as the waves,

as timeless as the oldest tales

is what I feel for him.

Him,

my best friend,

my lover,

my balance.