He has come.
I waited a long time for him to come.
I sat outside staring at the street leading to our house, has he come?
Is it him?
It has to be him.
Since Katomi died, everything is so difficult, suffering is relentless.
My skin is wrinkled and I look ugly.Sometimes I forget I have grown old. I used to have dark hair, strands of which would fall to my eyes. Everytime I stared at myself in the mirror, I used to fall in love with myself. But; now I am old.
I considered myself a man all my life; since I remember time. A man is one who talks as much as necessary, does more than necessary, always looks everyone in the eyes, makes friends more often than he makes love, acts calm and weeps only in hiding.
I am a farmer and I believe my profession is sacred.
I never believed in the gods we humans made for ourselves but I believe I have a religion. I have the same religion as a tree. I live with the conscience that I am not the greatest species in this planet as I live in the presence of mighty Oaks and tender Casuarinas; trees have always been here and shall always will be what we humans can never become. We can only aspire to be as calm, as kind, as eternally young and beautiful, as adaptable. They produce their food within themselves and gifts others some too, free for all, no capitalism attached. Even though we reap it and attach a price to it and create differences anyway. They don't kill, don't rape, they are so moral. They don't even need a government!
"Ah! They must have a divine religion." I thought to myself when I was young. Well; I am a farmer, I don't complicate stuff. I don't have a name for it or anything. If someone asks me about my religion; I reply I have the same religion as a tree.
But, now I wish I could be a tree and not just aspire its religion. I am weak, I cannot see well. I am forlorn in this house now, where I had so many lovely memories. Trees are never forlorn.
I met Katomi in Jatinga. I heard a story from a friend about the mysterious land of Jatinga some 200 miles towards southeast. The legend goes that the hills of Jatinga are inhabitanted by spirits which are responsible for the death of millions of beautiful birds who apparently come from all around the world to kill themselves there. Its a grotesque suicide spot for only the most beautiful, rare and stupid birds.
I got curious. I was young, I could go anywhere. Hence I left the next weekend on a noisy, old bus to Jatinga.
I saw some dead birds and met the love of my life there. Katomi had a mother who saw things that didn't exist and a young brother who was very old in the head for his age; they owned a small house and a stand where the sold Thukpa and tea. She had eyes that looked timid. She had a slender waist and beautiful straight hair. She had a small nose and a very soft, tolerable voice. I decided I shall marry her. I brought Katomi, her mother and brother back home.
We married two weeks later. It was a comfortable, bright day of spring. I made love for the first time that night, it rained later too. It was one lovely day.
Apparently, her brother was the most hardworking boy ever or maybe he was grateful for what I did for his family and wanted to show his gratitude. His name was Noborun. I was very fond of him. A month later, I made love to him too in the barn. It was a warm day. This adolescent body lay naked on my hairy adult structure. But in spirit, we were very similar. After today, he is a man for me.
Our first child was born a year later just before Christmas. Katomi named him Sukafa; after our great ahom ancestor. He had ardent dark eyes and very pink lips but no hair at all, I thought he would grow up to be a good looking man but he died the 7th night of his birth. I woke up early in the dawn he was sleeping in his mother's arms, I kissed him in his forehead. He was very cold. It was a cold night. He wasn't breathing. I got another blanket and tucked him in it, after that I slept off again. I knew he was dead; I didn't want his mother to know now, it wasn't a good time. The sunlight makes it easier to cope with sadness.
We didn't do his burial. I made a hole in the mighty oak behind my house and put Sukafa inside it carefully warped in muga. I enclosed the hole with layers of bamboo bark.
Katomi needed time to have another kid, she was yet to accept that life is often cruel. After 6 years we gave birth to another boy by then Sukafa was a part of the tree. He was the mighty oak I watered each day.
We named our second child who was now our first; Morong with means in my dialect, "The First".
As I nurtered and reaped one after another rich harvest my little infant grew up to be a tanned, brown haired boy with sharp crafted eyes.
He was a unique boy. Very calm and observant. I hardly could ever recall anything that he did which would dissapoint me. He went to school each day and also helped me in the plantation later. He never made excuses and was very hardworking just like his uncle, Noborun.
Whenever Morong could, he would read and the other times runs around his mother. He would never go out to play with friends or ask for much. He was a ideal boy. We were happy with him and Katomi didn't want another child. Well, I didn't too.
He grew up from a boy to a man and I never felt any pain regarding him. He was my man. My solitary mate. I can never thank the universe enough for bestowing me with eternal pleasure disguised as a son. He was taller than me, he was stronger than me and ofcourse much more intellectual. He decided to go to Delhi for his higher education. I let him go.
He came back to stay with us for a month or two once a year and his mother made really good food whenever he came so I enjoyed both. My son's presence more than the food ofcourse; but as I believe every little joy adds to your happiness!
I was 57 when he came for my birthday with a very good looking lady. Morong was in love and there was no one as happy as his mother. She insisted him to have the engagement at home; he denied. He said he was in love but that doesn't necessarily mean he needs to marry her right away. I understood, Katomi reacted but he took care of her and eventually she was fine too.
The woman he brought was actually quite nice. She cooked for us quite often and talked in English all the time. She wore tight dresses and tied her hair in a bun. She was alluring, atleast her body was. If I were Morong's age, I would have fallen in love with her too. Morong left with her a week later. Morong didn't return after that. We waited, I am still waiting.
Katomi passed away four years ago, it was a cold night of December. She wasn't sick before, she was doing just fine. I wonder, how she died.
I called the father from the local church and did her burial rituals. There was no one but me and the father. We rest her at peace below the mighty oak, in presence of Sukafa. She would have wanted her son to be there in her funeral. One didn't make it; atleast the other one is there.
Now, I wait alone.
A decade passed since I last saw him.
I was a handsome man when I was young. Now, I look ugly and I have no hair on my head. I forget sometimes that I am old.
I sit here today and my faint eyes see a blurry image of a tall man approaching in a grey coat. He is coming, At last. There is so much to ask and know.
I went to the closet and took out my nice white shirt and grey pair of trousers. Since, Katomi had passed away everything seems misplaced. There was a bad odour around. I couldn't feel it, but he would. Afterall, its his homecoming so I looked for the perfume but then I couldn't see well so I looked for my spectacles first. I went to the bedroom and started helplessly browsing. I stopped infront of the dresser and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked much younger the last time we met. Morong would be astonished, perhaps sad too. I buttoned my shirt well. I found the perfume right there in the corner of the dresser. I grabbed it, went to the living room and sprayed it around. A moment later there was a sharp knock on the door, I knew it was Morong's knock.
I walked slowly to the door, put a smile on my face and opened it.
Morong changed a lot himself, he had long dry hair still brown though and a lot of facial hair. He didn't shave for quite a while. He seemed a bit fat and busty but he looked very different.
"So, long time no see" I said.
"Where do you keep your money again?" He asked.
I looked him straight at his eyes. My eyes failed me or perhaps my illusion but he wasn't Morong. I should have grabbed my spectacles and my gun instead of the white shirt and the perfume. Well, atleast the perfume was still in my hand.
I reacted fast. I grabbed his collar and sprayed the perfume directed to his face several times.
He screamed in agony and pushed me really hard. I was hurt. He didn't care cause he wasn't Morong.
But, does Morong care?
He took a gun out of his right pocket and shot me several times.
In the last freckle of conciousness left in me all I imagined was a shift of events and possibilities. Only if I could have lived a few more days, perhaps some years. Only to see him once more.
I touched my wet shirt, which was red now and closed my eyes trying to imagine life after death.
Its dark and painful.
I want this moment to end.
"Father, wake up.. are you alright?"
I opened my eyes.
Its him. Is it him?
"Morong? ....Is it? .. you?"
Yes. Yes it is him with his sharp eyes.
"Oh.. Son.. I waited for you so long."
"I know, Father. I waited long for you too."
"Wait... where am I?"
"You are home."
"No... Its.. not home.."
"Father, home is where there is family."
"Am I home?"
"Yes, its your homecoming father."