One Bright Blur

Krupali Patel

Summertime is cubicle living. The cat gets the fleas and this terrace room that has lived beyond its years sheds some skin. It's there every morning. I know because that is when I broom it clean, corner to corner. It surprises me that so much of the walls is on the floor yet I can never tell when it happened. And for the rest of the day I can pretend it never did. I had a dream here that my cat closed the window for me early in the morning. It felt nice to be taken care of. One bright blur and I could rush back to sleep under the covers. When I woke up that day, I found the window open and the cat missing. He had slipped out, my angel.

This room used to be my grandfather's study. He died in the 2002 riots. I had kept away from it all my life should he want to haunt me. But Karan died last year when I thought my father would. He had been terribly sick, my father. What a waste of borrowed time since he passed away too this year. So, I have made my place here- this hot haunted room with no A.C and I'd like to be haunted please.

It is hard to tell what time of the day it is in summer. It is bright in the morning, at noon it’s bright, evenings are bright until they’re not. Then, the sun closes its eyes and its night but it burns terribly all night all day. To even look outside is an errand. I did once and I saw two little kids and their mother walking barefoot with their stuff wrapped in a bed-sheet as if it was the normal thing to do this time of the year. They were a long way from home, I could tell. I saw them in the newspaper the next day by some railway tracks. Oh, it is such an errand to look outside, my eyes burn.

At the end of May I stepped out for the first time in two months. It reminded me of the funeral last year. It hurt to stand beside Karan at the pyre. And by that I mean, it physically hurt. The smoke stung my eyes and it was too hot to stand near him- this heat that was killing what was already dead and hurting the rest of us just a little more to remind us we were alive. My cat slipped into the lawn as if he had just come back from work. He gave me some love and I cried, finally, under the sun.

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