Jul 22, 2003

A Head for Red

I didn't think it would quite happen to me, but like they say in the books, there she was, walking on the cobbled stones, down the street and into my heart. (If you think this is one of those cheap ha'penny stories that end with the object of my intense passion turning out to be some inanimate object, be assured, this is no ephemeral tale, but my own personal masterpiece that I chose to paint for eternity's wonderment.)

But hark! As I stood there lost in the mists of the searing passion that rose from the deepest recesses of my being, she stepped lightly past me. I could not thank the streets for being narrow enough; she brushed close past me, the fluttering of her skirt of red mimicking the flurry of intertwined emotions in my throbbing mind. Ah! the cruel hand of fate: after she was past me, she slipped and clutched wildly at a passer-by who helped her regain her balance. That could have so easily been me, I could not help bemoaning the loss of a divine chance to feel the touch of that flower who had set me wild on the path of intoxication.

For she was glorious in her womanhood, her red cheeks glowing in the wintry air, a petal seeking my hungry sight, lips luscious and redoubtable, daring and beckoning. She flitted about, seemingly no care in mind, but I knew what her destination would be. Or must be. It must lead to me, and to me alone.

Rarely does one know. I knew, I knew. From the depths of my heart I knew she was the one who would complete my life's mission. There had been a few before her, but I could never feel the same way about them as I felt now. It was glorious, my friends, and I wish I could share my joy with more people! But I wish they would understand, no, they couldn't and wouldn't. I had to press my heart to myself, this affliction was deeply personal.

Dream I might, but as I stood there amidst the gentle patter of the rain that had begun, I suddenly realised she would soon be out of sight. I could not bear to confront the fact that memories were all that would be left of her, and I began to run towards her. There she stood, laughing along with some girlfriend of hers, the tinkle of her pretty voice tugging playfully at my earlobes. Stop it! I wanted to tell her playfully, without really meaning it. Stop being so perfect! You make it very difficult for me to resist!

You see, I didn't know her. But it was not such an insurmountable task though, that of approaching her. I could boast of some experience in these matters. I waited patiently for her plain friend (plain it seemed to me, though some might have disagreed, but oh! such was the manner in which every other work of beauty paled before her) to retreat. It was a question of time, I knew, I was more convinced of my destiny now.

Soon, my girl (how wonderful that sounds to me!) waved her goodbyes to her friend, and walked on, turning into a sidestreet that was solitary, and if I had to talk to her alone, this was my chance, my godsend. I sped up towards her, the nightfall unable to diminish one miniscule portion of her rouge cheeks, her swirling skirts kissing the paved stones. She stopped by the lights to check one of her heels and must've seen me coming, but she didn't straighten up immediately as would any other woman in a lonely street at night. Not this lass. My girl was feisty, that I could see. Her heels fixed, she looked coquettishly at me. I had wrapped my coat tighter around me, the chill in the October air was getting more pronounced by the minute.

"So sir", her voice betraying her Scottish ancestors,"you're out pretty late for a gen'l'man, ain't yer?". All I could was smile sheepishly, like some teenager unable to comprehend the first flushes of infatuation. But it was the blood coursing, roaring, thundering through me that left me speechless. This was not the first time I had been in this situation, I knew what to do , but my lads, it is like a debut each time. "Hurry up now!" she said. "Don't want to keep me waiting, do yer?". And she looked around for a place to keep her hat.

At which point, I decided I had enough and slit her throat with my trusted scalpel, a friend that never let me down. The redness of her blood seemed to go perfectly with the scarlet that is such a mark of her profession. My friends, the joys of the next few minutes I can still feel, though I can't recollect in stark detail their occurence, that of steel meeting unresisting flesh and bones. This one was special, my best ever, my pinnacle.

So it came to pass on that dull and drizzling October day in Her Majesty's reign, I walked contented, an artist and teacher in the classrooms of those East End streets, the gaslights bouncing off my grey coat as I receded once more into that all-embracing fog that endeared my city to me. As I dodged the newly-formed puddles, I couldn't help reflecting on her. She had been special, this one, she had something the others before her did not. Some might have even considered her heavenly. But there was no doubt that most of my fellowmen, now and in what we called the future, would consider that I had come from nowhere but From Hell.


Shrikrishna said...

Hey Ramanand,

Stumbled upon this old post of yours, simply great!...
Reminded me of the classic "Hands of Mr. Ottermole" for some reason.
And what else? Haven't talked with you in really long time now...

J Ramanand said...

Shrikrishna Khare: is that you? I don't seem to have your email id, so please do mail me or leave it here.

Thanks for the comment - didn't know about "Hands of..." - will read about it.