26 April 2005

The Temple Widow

A narrow dirt path, generously peppered with tiny pebbles, tiny miniatures of their gargantuan ancestors, leads to a bridge. It hangs, rickety and old. Old but not well used, old like abandoned and not frequently used. The bridge hangs low over a small stream that slowly gurgles past, happy unlike those that visit the place.

The bridge leads to a temple. It is not very big, only perhaps the size of a small hut and at the most the size of an average temple hall. The temple has no deity; the temple has no one corner that doesn’t look like the other. It is clean, well swept, and empty. It has no furniture, and excepting a series of well spaced out windows, the walls remains uninterrupted.
She stumbles in, the lady. She is not very tall; the ten foot door greets her mid way. Her face is a pale, marred with bruises and leaf cuts over her face that show like rain drops on the window of a moving vehicle. Her hair, a silvery black medley of fading youth is in disarray, playing house to numerous twigs and dead leaves.

However, she feels free. It is as though all the worry that she had on her way there seeped out of her through the windows into the surrounding hills, echoed their way out as sounds do, dissipating into nothing.

“Is that all they are, my worries? Nothing?” she wonders as she looks around this temple that she was brought to. She had started out early that morning, under the guise of jogging; she let herself be lead through her neighborhood listening to some voice that sounded a lot to her, like her heart. She liked to believe in the scientific, and therefore later convinced herself that it was an instinctive decision that she had made when she turned towards the forest, as opposed to turning the other way round toward civilization.

She called herself mad many a time, along the long trek that she took, randomly walking along the forest, not marking any trees, not leaving a trail nor breadcrumbs, not leaving any sign of her whereabouts. She thought of the possible consequences of getting lost many times over, but she found herself unable to turn back, to give up the one chance that she had to break free.
One thing that she never had done was to doubt herself. It never occurred to her, the thought of being in the wrong. She knew that she was doing the right thing. Where ever it was that she was going to it was away from the man that she had once loved and cherished. The one that had promised to protect her from all the harm the world could churn out; except, it seemed to her, the harm that he undid on to her.

She never faulted him; strangely enough she thought that…that it would end. They were going through a rough patch of time, and she got over it by crying. And he couldn’t cry, that is what society did to men. It made it socially unacceptable for them to show they cared, show their distress. So he had taken it out on her.

And soon the rough patch that they were going through expanded horizontally, growing linearly into years, and years and now, with but a few years left of what one would call life; at an age when companionship was meant to mean the most, and the number of old people that they knew reduced dramatically with each passing day, she sought life in the outside.

When she had realized that perhaps it was second nature to her husband to be mean and to be awful as he were, she grew numb. She no longer justified his actions or her own inactiveness. She had become numb, try as hard did her friends, her relatives, her own mother, to pinch her out of it, it did not work. It fell on deaf years and a dead heart.

She never did express the sense of betrayal that she felt, the loss of love, hope and. Her one fundamental significant piece of land had refused to flower; her seeds had not grown to anything but rotten sprouts and she had gotten sick of shoveling out the dead and replanting.
You couldn’t make things grow depriving them of what they need. Neither could you make someone love you the way you want them to.

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