Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Here's a short-short story I once wrote, imagining how it would have been, in a perfectly fantastical world, to woo Her like in the good ol' days, when men were men and did their own wooing with a rose.
Of course, like the mystic yarn spinners and campfire story-tellers of yore, let me assure you of one thing: this is exactly how it happened, give or take a few details.
The story starts, like many others of its ilk, in a House.

I walked out of the House, hoping against hope that this would be the day. Looked up at the sky, and stared in disbelief. Clouds. Ponderous, heavy, gray.
I chuckled. Broke into a grin.
For every cloud has a silver lining.

I walked along the Street, staring at people going by. Cycles, buses, motorcars - the finished magic wonders of our post-modern Age.
Finished is right. Our lives, devoid of meaning. The little joy that we feel, like dew before a roaring sun. And still the merciless Road goes on and on.
Save me Bilbo, my heart cried that day.
Oh yes it wept.
The Road led me on and on, through shanties and skyscrapers, through sparkling boulevards and stinking garbage dumps, through playgrounds and graveyards. Busy people with busy lives.
My City had it all.
It set me wondering then, as I traipsed along a path set in stone. Set me thinking of the choices taken by the Road as it worked its winding way through my City, of its blatant eagerness to see the latest movie. Of the inherent taste of necrophilia exhibited by its burrowing through, nay bisecting, every cemetery.
Do roads remember people? After we have trod across them, worker ants without a moment to spare?
I'm sure this Road did.

And so I walked that day, driven by a desperate desire, peering at every face that zipped past. Searching, searching.
Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and you shall find.
I saw Her finally. Standing under a pink umbrella (of course).
Thank you Road, I cried out. Gave a whoop of joy.
Went up to Her, out of breath, panting.
"Excuse me ma'am," I said, gasping for air.
She turned around, looked at me, calm, considering.
I went down on my knees.
Eyebrows arched up. Almost instantly.
My face was out of control, emotions breaking through and bubbling out into the open.
"Will you marry me?"
A crack of lightning.
A raindrop fell on my cheek.

Road. Pointed out my goal, took me so-close and yet-so-far. I started walking back to the House.
Dejection does not come naturally. You have to work at it, pick away at your heart.
Slush. Downpour. More slush.
Somehow reminded me, so weirdly, of rich dark brown filledwithcreamygoodness...
It was a regular thunderstorm, thumping the Beaufort scale into a wriggly earthworm of figures. The pitter-patter of tiny raindrops turning into a roar, a fusillade of tiny droplets hitting the ground with vengeance. A million Cains hitting out blindly.
It was a regular war. And Earth was getting ready to surrender.
I reached the House. Shut myself up. Opened the refrigerator. And grabbed -
It was the first day, you see.

A pattern was forming. I could feel it.
An Oracle I became, mysticism and hope mingled with a Cassandra-sense-of-foreboding.
The priestesses of Apollo would have approved.
Life became obvious. Against the laws of nature, against the laws of Earth and Man, against entropy itself, the jigsaw puzzle of my life was aligning itself rapidly, forming a statement which I refused to read.
And so it went.
Walk. Road.
Road. Walk. Slush. House.
And the gentle draughts of Morpheus.
On and on and on and on. Just like the Road.
Was Bilbo trying to help me out there?

I walked out of the House, hoping against hope that this would be the day. Looked up at the sky. And stared in disbelief.
White, flying in the rain. (How how how?)
It was a dove.
Dropped something into my hands and flew away. (Where where?)
I looked at my hands.
Chuckled. Broke into a grin.
And shook a fist at the sky.

There She was. The same pink umbrealla. The same intrigued look on Her face.
And yet, there was something different.
"Excuse me, ma'am," I said, confidently.
She turned around, looked at me, a slight smile on Her lips.
I went down on my knees.
A sigh escaped from Her lips, almost involuntarily.
I looked up at Her.
Pulled out my hand from behind by back.
"Will you marry me?"
And I gave her the Rose; the petals so perfect, raindrops glistening shyly.
She smiled.
"What's your name?" she asked. (Oh, couldn't you guess it?)
"Noah," I said.
"How long has it been, since you started?" (Oh, she knew it, she knew it all along.)
"Forty days and forty nights."

Measure for measure. I looked up at Her.
"You haven't answered my question."
She looked at me, held my hand.
And the rain stopped.

I walked onto the Road with Her.
"Where's everybody gone?" she asked, surprised. Staring at the empty City.
I glanced up at the sky, smiled at -
It was a pact. A covenant.
Between me, Her, God and Bilbo.
And the Road of course.

Of course, caveat emptor and all that... a vast chasm of space and time separates us from each other; we still haven't had a chance to re-populate Earth.
As for me, I'll try beating Methushelah's record.

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