Saturday, November 21, 2009

Talking of Michelangelo


Then she saw it.

"Chicken Teriyaki and one Chicken and Turkey Ham, please."



The man took a foot-long sub and placed it on the counter. The knife sliced it open from one end to the other and exposed the insides of the wheat bread. Ham slices on the left and a cupful of teriyaki chicken on the other.

"Extra meat?"

"No. And no cheese for the teriyaki."

Next, the olives and gherkins. Mayo? Check. Barbecue Sauce? For the ham, please. Mustard Sauce for the teriyaki. And some Thousand Island Dressing to finish it.

"Takeaway, ma'am?"

"Yes, thank you."

Deft fingers tucked in the extra lettuce and neatly folded the corners of the paper wrap.


"Talk to me, baby. I've missed you."

"Sleep," she placed her hand over his eyes.

But he pulled her close to him and kissed her on the mouth.

"I've missed you," she whispered. She could hear his heartbeat as her fingers traced patterns on his chest. Smooth and brown, it glowed softly in the tawny light inside the room.

"I'll never leave you, baby," he promised.


On the stark white sheet.

"I'll spill on the sheets," he threatened her.

She ignored him.


"You went to Barista?"

"Uh-huh, picked up a coffee for myself." Iced Latte. She'd liked the way the bitter coffee had hit her throat. Still felt it there.

"Got us subs like you wanted." She handed him the carry bag. "Sorry, but I think I forgot to get tissues."

"No worries." He was back with the last bits of the toilet paper. Housekeeping had not given them a fresh roll in the morning. There probably was no housekeeping. 'Our hole in the wall' he liked to call it.

She didn't mind. In fact she loved how he never fussed about things. She loved him.

"Is it the same?"

"No. The guy wrote something on yours." She checked and gave him the one with 'Turkey' scrawled on the paper wrap.

"Spot on!" he finished his sub and smiled.


"I'm waiting," says Alice.
"For what?" Dan asks.
"For you to leave me."

"Hey, is that Natalie Portman?" he asked.


"Good cast. What movie is this?"


He turned and pulled the blanket up to his chin. She reached over and kissed him.

"Good night, baby."

"But I want to watch the movie. It's interesting." He curled his lip.

"But you're dozing off," she laughed.


It scuttled across from his side of the bed.

She lay on her back and looked up at the ceiling. A light grey; and a patch that was disintegrating in delicate flakes. Her eyes took in the rest of the room, as they already had a hundred times that day. Yellow walls, which gleamed in the amber light. They had not been able to find a switch to turn off that light. It had stayed on all through the day. It would stay on till they left in the wee hours of the morning, when it would be switched off by the man at the reception.

A small cabinet for the telly and her bag. A chair. A tiny refrigerator that she hadn't dared to open. A jug of water and a thick, short glass. A mirror reflecting them. He was asleep. She was waiting.

I'm waiting for you to leave me.

She look at the bed. They were twin beds, in fact. The man at the reception had joined the beds in the morning for them. She slipped her fingers into the crevice between the beds. She could drop her phone in there and lose it forever. She could even get rid of the thick, ugly tv remote. Her pack of cigarettes; his lighter. Her book. The hotel staff would find a booty next morning. Just that they wouldn't really care for a half empty pack of lights and a dog-eared Murakami, she thought. The phone? Probably.

"Five years," she said to herself.


It seemed like forever.

"I'll turn mad if I stay inside this room any longer," she sighed. "Can we go out for a walk?"

"Sure. We can pick up something to eat."

"You don't have to come." She knew he didn't want to.

"I think I'll stay in then. Get back something to eat. Subs. Or, fried noodles."

Two minutes later she was gone.


The smell of burning gas hit her nose. She felt the grime in her hands. Took it all in greedily. Savoured it.

Crowds thronged the streets. The weekend would be over in a few hours and everyone was out shopping, eating, chatting with family and friends. Soon they'd be home and in their beds.

The air was cooler than usual. But as she walked down the road she could feel the tiny beads of sweat on her face. Every where she looked she saw people, and cars, and people in cars.

She spotted the familiar neon sign and crossed the road. A million cars honked. A million pair of eyes stared at her from inside the cars, from inside the store. She pushed the glass door and walked in to wait in the queue.

"Chicken Teriyaki and one Chicken and Turkey Ham, please."


She picked up her phone and set the alarm for 3.30 am. That would give them an hour before they left for the airport. She had a 6.00 am flight.

Then she saw it. On the stark white sheet. It scuttled across from his side of the bed. It had thin strands for legs. And a fat belly. Ugly as hell. Tiny, like a drop of ink on blotting paper. It was hurrying to hide inside the hollow edge of the mattress. She wanted to hide from it. She picked up the adapter that was plugged into the socket inside the wall over the bed. The adapter felt small and hard in her palm. She brought her hand down.

She looked across the bed at him. She stretched her arm to touch his face.

I'll never leave you, baby.
I am waiting for you to leave me.
Five years.

And killed it.


Blogger Mitul said...

Don't stop.

12:36 PM  
Blogger misti said...

@mitul: won't :)

12:58 PM  
Blogger Angona said...

finally... and how. :) beautiful, and to quote mitul 'don't stop'.

7:52 PM  
Blogger misti said...

@angona: total DKB ho gaya hum :P thanku!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Dip Narayan said...

Seems like in the room MEN come and go, or is it just A man? I would have named the series "Crevices". And, of course, wow! :D

10:33 AM  
Blogger misti said...

dipuuuuuuu - yahoo - you're back! and need i tell you HOW MUCH i've missed you!!!! man, finally, someone!! i SO love snooty
eliot-ists :P

and, of course, thank you :D

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 PLUS years. And did he leave you? Or did you leave him in the end? Does everything necessarily have to have a happy ending, or even an ending? What if there wasn't ever a beginning? Love you always.

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:53 AM  
Blogger Gianfun said...

This is amazing!

5:50 AM  

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