Ananjay Singh Sardana



Ananjay Singh Sardana


The Woman by The Window

The Woman by The Window

9 mins

Fiona stepped out of the car, brushed her hair off her shoulders, and puffed them at the back. Jamie stepped down facing the car clapped her hands and squawked with laughter. Fiona cupped her hands over little J’s face and bopped on her that made J’s nose cringe, and said, “Yes my pretty girl, we live here now”. Fiona signaled the porters to pick their bags. She walked taller, held Jamie’s hand, and walked into the studio apartment.

Jamie was wooed by how magnanimous it was. Jamie walked to the window between the corridor of the rooms and the living room, looked down. She could see a woman in her twenties, slouching at her house’s window. She looked in thought, she was apparently hiding and smoking. Suddenly, she shook and threw the cigarette away and placed a mint in her mouth, and went waving her hand trying to make the smoke disappear. Jamie thought, she looked pretty. Her face didn’t crumble when she spoke, her face didn’t have wrinkles in between the nose and eyebrows. She envied her from the very second, she laid eyes on her.

Fiona called Jamie for her help to put the boxes in front of the big window. They had a lot of empty space around there. Fiona told Jaime that the couches will go in front of the window. Fiona and Jamie dragged all the boxes on to the area. They took out the mattresses and the sheets, Fiona set up Jamie’s bed in one of the rooms adjoining the couch area. It was almost 9 PM, so, Fiona told Jamie to sleep and she did.

She closed the door behind her and opened a box, went through what was in there, and started organizing a bit. She looked at the walls and the stuff she had. She had thought of not having a dining table but to have a walled long table like in the bars in front of the kitchen. The “dining” room and the window area were separated by the series of wood-wall framework & hollow. While she was placing her paperweights, showpieces, and then her exquisite glasses, she gave a thought to repaint. On second thought, she shirked it off for the time being.

Exhausted, Fiona started at around 11 PM, to stack up her bar. She was so excited, her 60 years old face lit up and glowed. The one thing she demanded after her divorce was her fully stocked bar! Wine, vodka, hooch, gin, scotch, and tequila- name it, the bar had it all and it had the best. She lined the spirits up according to their cost. She took a sigh and called it a day. But before that, she took out the hooch, filled her glass, and stood by the window. She took a sip of her drink, it was so sharp, a shrill wave runs down her body she felt alive again. She lit a cigarette. Smoked it and took a few sips.

In some time, she heard a knock on the door, she was wanting not to open it but she had to be cordial, so she did. She saw through the door-eye, two women standing with a small wrapped box. She opened the door and they greeted her like they had known each other. “We live across the street you can even see my house from that window, and I heard you have moved in, so a housewarming gift.”

Fiona took the small box. “It’s sage, the younger woman said.” The elder one told her how to use it, “So you light it and let the smoke roam in all the apartment, it is for the cleansing of the spits.”

“Thank you so much, umm sorry I didn’t get your name.”

“Mellie, Mellie Anderson.” Fiona shook her hand and introduced herself and she extended her hand to the other lady. “Chloe.”

“My daughter,” said Mellie.

“Please come in, the place is a mess but we sure can find a place to sit. Would you like a drink?”

Mellie asked for scotch and Chloe joined. Fiona put her unfinished hooch back in the bottle and fixed three glasses of scotch. Mellie took a sip and acknowledged it. She spurned a question if she lived alone. Fiona said, “No, only my daughter, Jamie, and me.” Mellie presumed from her age that her husband must be dead, so she just said sorry for her loss. “Oh no no, dear, I am happily divorced. Many people get that wrong. Sixty-year-old woman with a disabled child, oh poor thing. But the truth is, my horny old husband couldn’t wait to throw me and marry that young gold-digger. My son provides for me, he has a job far-far away and I, frankly speaking, I don’t even leave a chance to demand money from my husband. I mean that’s the least he can do.”

Chloe laughed a bit; Fiona noted a diamond ring on her forefinger and Mellie smiled sadly. Fiona sensed some tension, so she asked about her. “My husband died serving the country. Chloe was twelve, I suppose since then it’s us only. It’s been a decade.”

Fiona expressed her condolences. Mellie said that she mentioned that Fiona had said about a disabled child. Fiona agreed “Yes, my Jamie, she is sleeping now, else you would have met her. She would have loved to meet you two. She suffers from Down’s syndrome. She is a grown woman, I mean in age she is elder than you Chloe, she is twenty-four, but internally she is not older than a toddler. I love her with my heart and soul.”

They got to talking and all of them laughed and had a great time. Mellie was about to leave, she invited Jamie and Fiona for dinner the next evening.

Days went past, they all kept meeting for dinners. All four of them got along quite well. One day Chloe put makeup on Jamie’s face. Jamie was so happy that she is also a pretty girl now, just like Chloe. Fiona and Mellie observed both of them and used to laugh a lot. Fiona being older, having lived two decades more than Mellie, used to tell her all about everything, the good old days. The two abandoned families became united as alleys converge to each other.

Fiona put her purse on her table. Jamie shut the door behind her. They had just returned from their dinner. Chloe went to a party from the restaurant itself. Mellie and the other shared a cab. Jamie went to bed and Fiona was cleaning a bit, she wanted to do something before her drinks and smoke. Before she could do any of that, the phone rang. It was her husband.

“What... You can’t do that; you have no right to do that. Listen, you-old-twitch, you are not cutting off Jamie from the will, just because your whore is pregnant now, that baby will get one-third of your money. Break your money in three. Jamie will get her share.”

Jamie heard Fiona on the phone.

She quickly remembered that she laughed in joy when she saw herself in makeup. She couldn’t do her own makeup, so, she thought to make her hang up and make her mother do her makeup, right then. She came out of the bed.

“You sick-sick son of a fucking bastard who was raised up by a slimy slithering whore ROT IN HELL ASSHOLE! You took my son away and told him all sorts of things and now you are destroying my daughter’s life.” her old bones shook in bounds as she cursed her ex-husband. Her face went all red and she threw her phone across the room breaking one of the window glasses. Jamie ran to her and said “Mamma Mamma do my makeup make me a pretty girl again... I know you... ”

“BUT Jamie you are NOT A PRETTY GIRL! you weren’t born one, now go to your bed.”Fiona blurted in anger.

Jamie’s heart fell. With a load on her chest, her heart broke into a million shredded pieces. She ran out of the door, and scurried to the next door, to Mellie’s house.

Mellie opened the door thinking Chloe had returned from her party but seeing Jamie alone surprised her. Fiona saw Jamie go in through the door at Mellie’s from the window, so she calmed herself. She felt like a monster, she was so angry at herself for saying such ungodly things that to her love Jamie, her own little J. She cleaned up the mess she created, the first one which could be seen. She thought Jamie also needed some time so she gave her space.

“Mellie put makeup on me,” said Jamie. “Yeah sure, my child.” Confused Mellie just did what she asked for, without any questions “Whatever it is, it’s her thing” she said to herself and did the makeup. While she was doing the makeup Jamie kept speaking on and on about how all the world is so entitled to acknowledge that they are beautiful. Mellie didn’t say a word, or she would have exploded with the thoughts. She just continued the makeup process and let her off after she had finished.

Jamie hadn’t returned for quite a long time, so Fiona decided to bring her back from Mellie’s. As Jamie was closing the door and turning, Fiona was standing across, in front of their apartment, and about to cross the road to bring Jamie back.

Their eyes met and Fiona’s eyes let it go. The guilty mother said she was sorry, and Jamie just said, “See I told you I am a pretty gi...” A car came out of nowhere and bumped over Jamie. Fiona could hear a commotion between the cab driver and the passenger. Fiona ran towards Jamie; she checked her pulse and it wasn’t there she cried and shouted for help. She suddenly heard that the passenger told the driver to drive away as fast as he could. He argued that they had reached their destination but the passenger ordered him to drive away. Fiona, hearing this, looked up, and before she could do anything the cab sped away. Fiona could see a hand on the back window of the car she noticed the ring the lady wore.

The police came in a few minutes. They took Jamie away from Fiona, a hit and run case was registered. She didn’t want to stash Jamie up in the walls of a morgue, she begged them to leave her so that she could say a proper goodbye. They denied and took her daughter away.

The next day she got a call from the police for her final goodbye, she couldn’t bury her baby till they caught the cab driver. She asked for a moment alone with Jamie. She quickly took out makeup from her purse and put it on her. “Baby you are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I’m sorry Jamie.” She put the blanket on her, closed the coffin top, and walked out.

On her way back she paid a visit to Mellie’s. Mellie was out at work. It was only Chloe. They sat together. Fiona lit a cigarette and observed Chloe sitting. She saw her ring and her doubt was confirmed. Chloe was in the cab, she told the driver not to stop, ‘it was her location’ as he had said. Chloe asked politely, “Can I have one of those?” “What a cigarette? Yeah sure, just don’t tell your mother I am encouraging your vices.” She lit her a cigarette and they smoked.

“You see, when a parent dies, a child feels his own mortality. But when a child dies it’s immortality that a parent loses.”

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