Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Girl Is Mine!

"Good Morning Jessie, past six already, Coffee Time, get up, get up"

"Good Morninggggg Jake" , Jessie mums with a deep yawn without opening her eyes, stretches her hands, turns to freefall and continues sleeping. I stand still and start staring at her proudly. Jessie has a mid length sleek hair with a slight curl in the end. It never sticks as much as she would love to, but still looks pretty. Half of her face is covered by her hair and the rest tilted into the pillow. She is wearing an uptown stripe Flannel Pyjamas, which we bought two years back at a ck warehouse near  Chadstone. That was the second or third day after she moved into Melbourne with me. I still remember, she was wearing a Sudithar which I bought from Delhi. It was felt awkward for us to check in to all the branded shops with an Indian outfit. For first three months she was not comfortable wearing Pyjamas, cursing me for paying hundred dollars for a night wear. I kept insisting that this would suit her in this Melbourne weather. She did find it out good in the end, now has three different styles of Pyjamas from the same warehouse, and even recommends ck to her reading group colleagues at her university. She still wears socks when sleeping though. She gets stuffy when turning the ducted heater on. So we always switch off the heater before we get to bed. Perhaps we should buy an electric heater.

"Is somebody staring at his princess?" Jessie chuckles without turning her head up. I know she isn't sleeping. She is waiting for my next wakeup call to get up. I am like her alarm with snooze button always.

"Somebody's favorite coffee with almond milk is waiting.." she now gets up, adjusts her hair and checks my eyes to see whether she looks ok, I nod even though I still don’t understand why she does it every morning!

"Thanks Jake, you know you don't have to do this, could have wake me up man...” she still yawns

"Waking you up, come on, I know you are tired, don’t ya?" I say wittingly.

"Shut up you idiot, shall we go to lounge, I wanna check today's newspaper. There is an announcement of our readers’ group gathering... "

"Yes yes I checked it out already, you are chairing the panel right  ... What is it "Goat Runner" or something?"

"You fool, its "Kite Runner", how many times we talked this before"

"Come on honey I know it, just kidding"

"Hushhhh... hopeless guy"

"Put on the hooded lounger girl, its damn cold in the lounge"

We get up, leave the bed unarranged and head to the lounge. It is still pretty early in the morning in Melbourne winter.  We both normally like to get up early, enjoy our coffee chitchats, at times even for an hour. Jessie works as a part-time tutor in Monash University, teaching English Literature to undergrads. She is also reading her doctorate in contemporary literature of Asian migrants. She herself is a writer too, just got published her first novel "Door Mat".

"So how is your new story going Jess? The one you told me yesterday…"

"Ah, that “Girl Is Mine”? Just started it sir, long way to go. It’s in kind of a mess now and I am thinking of trashing it actually!"

"Oh no, every story would look lovely when you start and then get crappier when you finish it, that's how a writer would normally  feel when writing, otherwise you can't write ... And I know you can write some serious literature!"

"Jeez where did it come from? You do make sense at times ha!"

"As always! And do you have me in the story?"

"You in my story? My goodness, I don't write loser's story maite"

"Maite, ha? That’s funny!!! I am not a loser ok!"

"You are a loser, big loser"

"I am not … I gotcha doggone, mind it!"

"That's why you are a loser, wake up Jake, you know it better than anybody else"

“Will you fuck’in stop calling me loser?...” I screamed rather whined all of a sudden. I feel bit cold now.

“Oh come on, relax my boy, let’s have some music, turn it on honey”, typical Jessie, never gets mad, always turns the awkward situation round.

"Now see, when you need something, loser turns honey, perfect" I go to our little Sony Dream Machine, docks my iPhone and play "Way Back Into Love"

"Good on ya, perfect for the morning, there you are my nice man"

One of those things we both got attached to is music. Especially this song, we probably would have played more than the original song writer did.

"I’ve  been  watch – ing  but  the | stars  re – fused    to  shine |   I’ve  been  search – ing  but  I | just  don’t  see    the  signs |    I  know  that  it’s  out |...." she sings.

"Jessie! Tell you what? Let’s get to the piano, come on…"

"Are you crazy? Its morning time, we need to get ready, will have it tonight darl…"

"No time like the present! lets play for few minutes" She gets up, moves to our small upright piano, takes out the small photo-stand and the flower-vase and keeps them in the coffee table, cleans the dust and slowly opens it.

"Hurry up girl, you are taking ages"

"Wait my son, not everybody is messier as you" she starts playing now. Half past six, Melbourne chill weather. It’s still dark outside.

".. F  D  F  D  F  D | A  G    D  F    F |    F  D  F  D  F  D | A  G    D  F    F |…" She plays delicately, with her eyes closed, digests and feels the music.

"I’ve  been  liv – ing  with  a | sha – dow    o  -  ver  -  head |    I’ve  been  sleep – ing  with  a | cloud  a – bove    my  bed |”

We sing, we continue singing ….

"..  .. F  G  Bb || C  C  C  Bb    A  Eb | DC    F  G  Bb | C  C  C  Bb    A    Eb | F    G    Bb  G  F |  "

"And  If  I | o – pen  my  heart    a – gain |      I  guess  I’m | hop – ing  you’ll  be    there   for | me    in   the  end"

She is still singing with her eyes closed, effortlessly hitting the high end notes. Her fingers have such a control on that instrument. She feels the music, sings and continues singing. It comes from her heart.
I now stand up, get closer to her, look at her face..... stare at her forehead and ……. kiss her on the cheek and whispers ....

"I love you Jessie"

"What? Come Again ...You said that?" Jessie was shocked when I told my love to her. It was a typical tropical Colombo sunny morning; I was going to drop her in the university which is on my way to office. She lives in my neighborhood and I usually give her a lift to her university in the mornings. We know each other well; at least I thought we know. We do share common interests, talk about the books we read for hours. Its just one of those many reasons I probably would have fallen for her.

"Yes Jessie, I mean it, will you marry me?" perhaps this probably is the worst place and time to propose your girl; Early morning, on the way to work and school, inside a car which is parked in a roadside where heavy traffic noise coming through the closed windows. May be I should have taken her to a sea breeze and done this. Mmmm.

"Oh my Jake, Where does it come from? Seriously didn't expect ...."

"Why Jessie, I think we can make ourselves a good couple, I given a serious thought to it, not today, not yesterday, almost for an year ... "

"Gosh, then why didn't you tell me before? Oh Jake…"

"I took my time, I wanted to make sure everything gonna be ok and everybody gonna be ok, and Jessie.... it will be perfect, I swear"

"Jesus Christ.... you telling this to me Jake? Is this happening?... you know what Jake, I really like you, and you are my best friend and too good of a guy to miss out....... but I can't ... I can't do this, please don't ask ..."

"Jessie, but  ..."

"Please Jake ..."

I stared at the car audio player, which I just paused in order to talk to Jessie. I began to shiver rather violently, the car instantly feeling ten degrees colder even though the cooler is switched off. I put my seat belt on suddenly, lowered the window glass and started staring outside. Its morning still, students just started  to gather inside the campus compound and chit chat. Some students are talking to themselves with some notes in hand. They must be memorizing something, it should be an exam period.

"Who is it Jessie?" ,I am still staring at the girl who is sitting on a bench stone, studying the notes with a bit of a panic, should be memorizing something for today's exam. I didn’t turn my face to Jessie.


"Oh, that medical student …” I was stunned a bit, and started whispering.

“We all came out of Gogol's overcoat..." I was still staring at the girl studying for the exam at the last minute, scared to turn my head into my own car. Jessie might find me out weeping.

"Overcoat, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, nineteenth century ...” She finished my sentence. This is the Jessie I love. A literature student, she knows everything about me, every time correctly reads my mind except of one thing eventually which mattered most to me.

“You guys just entered the campus, don’t ya?”, I couldn't hide my frustrating inquisitiveness.

“Its been six months Jake” she said

“Fuck ... Fuck ... Fuck .... this fuck'in damn loser waited ..waited... waited for one long year...... exactly twelve months” My voice cracked with self pity.

"Please Jake.... don’t go there. Sorry, by any means had I disturbed you, I am really sorry, you are my friend... my best friend, who else I can talk about Lahiri for hours?” I know she meant it, but then after all she didn't even discuss about Gogol with me. She didn’t feel the way I felt.

"You never felt it, did you Jessie?"

"Its Over Jake, Over .."

"Yeah, Over ... I will be good Jessie, I will get through this.....", The sudden muzzle brought in. 

"Wanna pick you in the evening?", I still didn't turn to Jessie.

"No, its fine Jake, Thanks and.... Take care; I am sure you will have much better find” ,now I turned at her and given a dry smile.

Its you Jessie! Sorry for everything, call me later, hey don't forget “The Kite Runner”, will collect it tomorrow"

She smiled, got down from the car, hesitated a bit, and waved at me. I started the car ignition.

"Did I lock the door?" I wasn’t sure. I made this habit of not locking the door when leaving my house only to coming back and check. I stopped my car, got out and checked the door. It wasn't locked; I waited for a moment and got into the lounge. The piano’s fall-board was left open, with nothing placed on the top. I closed the fall-board. Took the flower vase on the coffee table and placed it on top of the piano. I took the "Kite Runner" book which was kept open upside down, bookmarked it and put it in the shelf. I found my empty tea cup is also left out there with another cup full of coffee with almond milk. I poured the coffee in the kitchen sync, cleaned the cups and kept them inside the pantry cupboard. I switched off all the lights and took few steps towards the door, turned back and had a dry stare at my house. It's emptiness scared me. It looked so dark at early Melbourne morning eight o’ clock. The new house’s wall paints' smell chilled my spine.
I suddenly went in, walked through all the rooms. The bed room, study room, baby room, visitor’s room, bath rooms, living room and kitchen; I went every where, turned on every other lights in the house. It was still dark inside. It looked even more scary now. I moved to my piano and opened it. I kept the flower vase back on the coffee table. I took the "Kite Runner", opened it and kept it upside down again on the coffee table. I went to the kitchen, made a coffee with Almond milk, poured into two cups, brought into my lounge. I finished my cup.  I got up, didn't look back my lounge, rushed to my car and started the ignition.

"The door is left open yet again!"

There is emptiness, and there is love. Emptiness is pristine, clear, ever peaceful awareness. To get to love, though, you have to be willing to feel, and agonize, and laugh, and hug, and weep, and roar, and tremble. And it is worth it.
We must be both intimate, and detached.
We must become the emptiness. Then fill it with love. Then invite others into it.
It is only by rising out, and staying connected, that we elevate the whole, which we are.

-------------Jack Haas

--------------------------------- THE END--------------------------------------

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