A Fistful of Daffodils
A Fistful of Daffodils12 mins 227 12 mins 227
The daffodils on the far end of the park had finally blossomed. They all stood in bright yellow and in a little auburn crimson. It was inevitable for the red shone bright amidst the yellow as the sun kissed them all like a white marble in a dark basement a beam of light was hurled at. Mr. Phoebe Reils was again late for the class. But with his pedagogy of Shelly’s Frankenstein, he had us all in his awe, and the seconds spent waiting seemed worth an investment. It was sunny outside, and Graham was down there on the field that still belonged to the school, only more unofficially.
Surely, I caught a glimpse of Sylvia peeping out of the window that stood two windows ahead of the one I juxtaposed on the same row. Sylvia and Graham, if only I had ever been more capable enough of comprehending the unrequited love, I bet I would’ve understood her affection for him. Looking all wan, she had held the last bar of metal on her window within a tight fist. It had always been really hard for me to tell what she held back in herself because her eyes would often evince a berserk desperation. I only wondered how I could’ve predicted it all very precisely. I had sought admiration for the rash on Sylvia’s neck.
It appeared inchoate and was thus, in the shade of light green; she wore that on her bare neck. Yes she did. It was right there, and none of her movements evinced her endeavor to hide it. And it fascinated me quite strangely to feel the pinch of an intrigue inside my chest that wanted to know the reason why. Summer was yet to arrive in Wood Vale Dorm, a city that was more of a home to me than my own. An intrigue took voluntary control of my motor nerves and I found my neck craning overtly higher to have a clearer view of her complete posture.
She wore a velvety chaplet that was stitched in violet threads, and had two tiny hair clips that kept her hair held at the back and above her tuft. The day was in the proximity of closure, but her hair didn’t seem the least bit messed up. But that haut couture always maintained her hauteur she was already a paradigm of – her skirt with plaids, her bandeau woven in cashmere wool, and her rather lurid than lustrous shoes, regardless of how opulent and well worn, failed to sketch anything new about her. Everyone saw her with her emblems of honor on her epaulette. What was new was in what I saw. She abutted some old grubby window that had seven horizontal metallic rims, and held the terminal rim tightly. Beholding Sylvia hold the rim of the window comforted me. To be a little more truthful, her fist comforted me.
There was a mélange of voices inside my mind, all composing a cacophony. It seemed as though I didn’t know what I wanted. It was too bewildering. The skin from beneath the tip of her fingers ran smoothly like a piece of off - white muslin down her right wrist as she tightened her fist. The veins, so green, composed a tracery that could be beheld from the distance that separated us both. I lowered my head and pondered over the tracery on my left wrist. It was rather a scar of what I had commenced considering as merely some excess of flesh that I could only despise a little more of every time I took a dekko of it. I glanced at Sylvia again, and touched my own skin without looking at it, and hated it straight away. It was very queer how I could grasp fascination at the same moment, knowing that it was making me reminisce an encounter I had had with my mother the morning of the day before, only that the flashback clobbered me afresh. And yes, what would I give to have the strength to avert all of it.
It was for the first time in what I believed had been more than a decade when I took notice of the whistle that accompanied the cauldron. The cooker too had a whistle as it was customary. My notice was more seized for it than given, and surely as it was supposed to be - the cavalcade of the encounter that unfolded was more repulsive than I had thought it would be on the other edge. “So you did tell your dad, didn’t you? You must have. He is your ‘dear daddy’ after all.”, mother spoke as she followed me through the living room to the room my brother was studying in. Indeed, with an emerald green being the only hue that covered the four walls of the room, I could tell that it was only to aggravate the context of the minute for green had always been a staple to coerce the emetic propensity out of my bowels.
Little did I know of what was actually coming. “I am telling you for the final time mum. I DID NOT TELL HIM. In fact, I haven’t told him anything; in lieu, your son has. What do you have to say to that? Or perhaps, I should rather ask if you really have anything to say to him because you never do. I see, what a prerogative it is that his gender earns him!”, I shouted, turning back to face her. “That is because he is never this insolent to me like you are. With the time that passes year after year, I have only come to behold you grow more and more like your father’s daughter. See, he even dominates my aspects in you in inheritance as well.”, mother upbraided me, entering the room more precisely then. “That’s where you always land on mum, pricking me over some absurd reasons for which only Biology can be ascribed the onus of. How longer a time do you need to understand that I didn’t have a hand at embodying the genes in my body when I was just a fetus inside your womb?! How could I have subjugated the entry of merely the specific genes from him that were making room in me? I was under formation, let alone a manipulation.”, I said, trying to be genuinely coherent. “Stop delivering your intellectual bullshit! I can see a conjuring of some devilish form of him inside you. You’re so cunning and contemptible.”, mother responded as she got a little more inside the room.
My mother and I were standing at the centre of the room by then. The ominous herald could be so vividly noted. I noted it, and thus, preferred receding as part of my action to inhibit the melee that awaited us both in the vicinity of the whirlpool of maledictions that couldn’t be any more closely seen in my view. I had known what was coming, and I wanted to jump over it by hook or by crook. “Look at you! You grisly whore! You were born with your teeth on your jaws. The sad fact was that they bulged out just like you grandfather’s did, and so did your paternal aunt’s as well. And these eyes – hah! It seems like you really had to be born with squinted eyes. You got them all from your paternal side, now encompassing your habits as well. You’re turning out to be so disappointing. I wonder what on Earth I was on my mind when I conceived you. Your birth is such a disgrace!” Standing a humiliation on the grounds that Science had foremost and with much exposition deprecated, my throat seemed chocked with sand. It wasn’t instilling any resentment in me. There was no need for me to take a moment to acclimatize myself to everything she was saying. Mother had too often hurled imprecations of that sort. It was merely utter pain to know that she would still allow her fury to make her oblivious of the other person being her own daughter. “So tell me, are you also planning to please men with your breasts just as your father pleases other women with his infidelity? You seem like you will gladly indulge into doing that. That won’t be a big deal for you….”, mother was assailing me with words that I interrupted. “Mother! How can you talk as such about your own daughter?! Why do you consider me as a prostitute? Ask your son if I ever gave any soupcon of an amorous indication to any man. I bet he will turn you down. I know about my own chastity, and so does my God as well. In His eyes, I am clean of this sin. You can’t just allege me with such fraudulent accusations.” “Don’t drag your brother in this mess! Don’t you dare defile him with your notorious allusions. Your words are as meaningless as you are. He isn’t perfidious like you and your father.”, mother screamed. “Stop saying ‘you and your father’ mum. You’re really upsetting me.”, I said, breaking down into tears. “Why not? You deserve to hear that. You’re only a stain on the name of a daughter – a dung in this society - there’s no place for a self – obsessed introvert.”, mother responded, her words completely curt.
I retreated from the center of the room. I turned my back towards my mother, and was heading to my desk that I heard her mumble, “So you won’t tell me the truth huh! I know how to extort it out from you.” Before I could turn around again and aid myself in appraising her words with the facial countenance that had prevailed on her face as she hurled the cautionary threat on me for the last time, she had already drifted past the other room that stood right next to the room we three were having a squabble in, found however, only when one preferred taking the straight direction to the lateral one from the centre of the room of concern.
I looked at my brother, and mauling my confidence that I thought I could have in him, he sat quietly, letting that all happen. The instincts in me nevertheless, sensed his desire to give his voice to it. Indeed, it was verily undeniable that irrespective of the people the argument was abetted by, it was no longer merely about me, or the dearth of a consensus that had sought shelter between me and my mother; it was on my soul and everything good that we both once had to share and on that void as well that had been created by all that we had lost with time, and it was a much bigger deal – only then did I realize that it had never been about the former. It was so often about him as well, only if he cared to notice. As misfortune compels one to concede with the least desired, the hour was pulling me down on my knees. Perhaps, I was already bent. Despite a voice, it was only his that was to be heard. It was no indignation for the affliction in my blood had got hold of the power to make my core shake. And truly enough, I found no ground beneath. “You won’t tell me! Let’s see how you keep mum in front of this. I will see how you don’t speak!”, my mother blurted out as she rushed into the room again with a bludgeon in her left hand. It was alike a cosh and I only saw her tighten her fist around the caudal end of it before I was rendered all gory.
“Where did you get it from?”, Abigail enquired as she placed her right hand on my right hand, the one I was touching my scar with. “From nowhere Abigail. It was a minor accident.”, I said as I pulled my hand down the desk of the classroom. “I see. Does it hurt?”, Abigail asked, placing her left hand on my right shoulder.
Just a blur of a moment passed us both. I was never aware of as intricate an irony as the query of Abigail brought under the spotlight for me right then and there because it could grasp no other place – a query as simple as Abigail’s to settle could be so difficult to heed to in tandem. Did I have my chance? Yes, I surely did. The subtlety of the question nevertheless, too powerful and indomitable, was all that was required for my chance to be confiscated. How I wish I could be oblivious of the tenderness of her query then – I wouldn’t be so fearful to break it. I directed my eyes towards the front. Sylvia was loosening her fingers from the rim. Strangely, the slackened grip on her fingers, in the arrant obverse of what I had admired beholding foremost, was comforting again. I liked the disappearance of the green lines from her fair wrist, so as I conjectured; the veins were no longer under a strain. Her fingers appeared to fall lightly as she descended her left hand from the window to the bottom of her desk. I didn’t crane my neck this time because I didn’t want to know what went on under it; I felt my bruise once again. Abigail’s words “Does it hurt?” drifted past my conscious memory like a soft whisper that caressed my forehead. Only then did I realize that it had been quite some time since I felt at ease.
“Does it hurt?”, I whispered to myself, only once, and never to ask again – with no want of encore. The bruise was palpable like never before – I knew the answer; it sat on the tip of my tongue, and I was aware of the heat of its flames for the first time, and knew that it would engulf me all in them given I had them all merely for myself to taste. It burnt, and it burnt in the second that came next. It astonished me how just like Sylvia, I clenched my fingers into a fist then while my teeth were attached to the ones of the opposite jaw. It burnt again as I parted my lips. The bell rang, marking the end of the day at school. I looked at Abigail. Her eyes were scintillating. It was unbearable for me to know how my invidious encounter with coercion could intrigue the curiosity in the mind of one. Perhaps, it was possible. And there was beauty in it. “No”, I said, “Let’s take the route from the field. I want to see the daffodils”.