Evening Of Independence

The first lightning scribbled a zigzagged mark across the half an hour-old darkness. The King of Heaven granted the humans a wish. The thirsted body, and the tired soul, wait hand in hand for a blast of cold. Both eyes focused to the northwest now, where not an hour ago blazed the haughty sun. A perfect sound to play in the background would be the murmur of the leaves, which would start with the first blast of soothing cold. As long as that blast does not come, few sounds can be equal to total silence. Good indeed is the fact therefore that one such rare tune to match the sacred silence is playing in the background. In a place nearby they are chanting verses. Enchanting the evening around, they calm the very air. But no, a storm is needed, and soon the chanting stops. Then comes the total silence, and the first blast of cold. It breaks the sacred silence, and begins the murmur of leaves.

The King of Heaven granted the humans a wish. The earth can listen to the happy sighs echoing as the smell of wet earth maddens every heart. The King of Heaven is great. He answers the honest, He minds not the timid. The party that is going on inside the fifth-floor apartment is supposed to have one more guest. A wish was made that he may come. But the wish was made by a timid person. The King of Heaven minds not the timid. The guest has not yet come. From this place high above the ground coming and going heads can be seen, but can’t be recognized. If he now comes, he too won’t be recognized, at least not from here. Maybe those who will open the door would greet…but it is foolish to make castles in the air! He has not come and the party is on. It means he will not come.

The murmur of the leaves changes pattern. Something else has joined in. Pitter, patter, pitter, patter…the first raindrops dance on the balcony floor, on the window panes nearby, on the street below, on the trees around. The intensity of the pitter-patter steadily increases, and soon a hum of constant rain replaces the murmur of leaves. The leaves, invisible in the dark, fall asleep one by one under the liquid caresses of an unknown infinite being. The hands on the railing tighten. The faint orange light sneaking out through a window from the night-lamp inside illuminates the dial of a wristwatch on the left hand. The party is halfway through. No hope left. He has not come. And now if a family member ventures to come to the bedroom behind, and if, from there, proceeds to the balcony, she will see a young man with teary eyes – because his lover has not come to a party that is held because of neither of them. How unmanly might it seem. But no, to give in before stereotypes is no good. Tear lightens the soul. So be it.

The rain pours down harder and harder. If by chance he happens to get ready now, the sheer force of the storm will make him change his mind. A washing would be good, and with this thought comes a gust of wind with wavelike rainwater. In a moment I am drenched. Saltwater and skywater mix on my face. The storm swooshes and whirls all around. After all, the time is not good for him to come. It will be wise of him not to come. He is wise. He is in control of himself. He is what I need. Thank God he never loses his mind. I should try to sleep now.

A feeble screech comes from the bedroom behind. Somebody has come. Soon I will be asked to join the others. I will be rebuked for soaking myself. I will not look back. Let whoever it is call me first, then I will look back. A hand touches my right shoulder softly. It is strange, but don’t I know that touch? And comes a gust of wind bringing a different fragrance from close behind. There is no more doubt. I look back. I know that smell.

“Waiting for me?”

Yes. I want to shout, yes. I want to know, how? Why are you so late? Why did you come at all in this weather? My voice fails me. No sound comes, only I breathe faster and stare hard at the silhouette.

“The main road is flooded. No bus, no auto. I walked for an hour. These are mazelike lanes. You know I could not miss this evening, could I?” His words are light as usual. He was supposed to bring very important news. He does not seem anxious though. Did he succeed?

“I made it,” he calmly says.

Great joy. Bliss at last. I feel like hugging him, shaking him and kissing him. But I am petrified, and I am mute. He takes my hand in his, and puts it around his shoulder. My nerves go numb. His chest heaves against mine with life, perhaps with more. Against my ribs I feel his heart, beating fast as mine, and his voice shakes when he speaks.

“Now we can move on.”

A great flash of lightning reveals his gentle face, the dark eyebrows and affectionate eyes, the calm smile, his hair plastered to his forehead; water trickling down his cheek, his mouth, his chin and his neck. Then it is dark again and he speaks, astonished.

“You are crying!”

“No.” At last my voice obeys me to lie. “No,-rain-rainwater.”

He presses his forehead against mine, and I feel him smiling. Then kind fingers wipe from my cheek the mixture of saltwater and skywater. A warm air caresses my neck and he whispers, asking can we join the others?

I try and nod. Petals of fire lock my lips. The storm silences the world around. The rain, thick as a wall now, hides us from the world around. My knees give way, but he holds me tight to himself. Thus far this day was one on a long list of celebrations. But from now on it is much more. It is our own evening of independence; our own Fifteenth of August.

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Out and proud student and teacher of English. Fascinated by rhymes. Willing to try other modes gradually.

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