12 midnight. I am in an enraging conflict as to what allured me into the sphere of her charm. Was it the way she arranged her hair with a careless braid, much like my mother? Or was it my thoughts, my memories of my mother adding up with her profoundly captivating beauty? Maybe it is that vigorous yearning, not the kind you have for your mother, rather for a well paid whore waiting for you to devour her.
I looked at her with a fiery intent. One gaze, one pause of her eyes is all I would need now. One small twinkle in her eye, one deep breath she catches, holds and spreads over her numerous cells, would tell me of her inclinations. Right then, she walked towards me, smiling, and caressed my body with hers. A sudden inflaming desire took over me as I found myself following her. Wherever she leads me I shall be content as long as her braids disorient my vision and her assiduity motivates my actions!
12.01. No one stirred in the corridor. There was silence. She opened the door to the room and I was suddenly surrounded by a strange heat which choked me along with the smell of medicines and phenol. She smiled, probably understanding my discomfort and held my hand. I touched her braid, just to make myself sure of its physical existence. I untied it, slowly, carefully so that her hair would not tangle with each other.
When I say that time is flexible and obtains strange patterns of movement at strange times, many learned people would laugh and mock at my fatuity. But you could feel it now, can't you? You could feel these seconds settling heavily upon the glass of time, stirring slowly and slowly, as I untied her hair.
'Your hair' I say, 'It is so perfectly imperfect!'
I slide my hands over it. She turns and kiss my lips, I return it and envelop her within my hands. I see my watch at the other end ticking on. 12 hours 1 min 57 seconds. 58. 59.
12.02. My hands keep searching her body, but very little do I realise what it is for. Is it hunting for a long lost feeling of sensuality or is it just flexing my domination? Strangely, every second which pass with her lips locked into mine, I lose a bit of my innocent nostalgia. Rather a more powerful feeling of guilt passes through me along with the taste of her lipstick. The glorious days of love begone stares angrily at me. You should have been more mature, it says and painfully retires back. The thing with my thoughts have always been that it shifts in a matter of seconds. For now it maybe an overwhelming giant capable of consuming me immediately while at other times it assumes meager images and finds me benumbed. Whatever be the case, I ask it to stop its domination for now and shift back to reality.
30 seconds after 12.02, I find her mouth completely disappearing into mine. And I know then that what pulls me closer to her in this instant is merely an obligation rather than nostalgia or passion. Another act which I am obliged to make among many. Then, without forewarnings a numbness came. I watched as to how meaninglessly the second hand of my watch crawled to hit the lap break as I wished to go away from her.
12.03. My mobile phone rang, relieving me from her pull. She continued to come at me but I asked her sternly to wait. The voice at the other end was cracking with excitement.
'Where are you Anand? She is finally here!', Anita said.
I felt my heart going out of control. I felt the air being drained out of my lungs. Should get more air, it commanded at my system as it frantically breathed in. Seeing me disconnecting the phone, she came back in pursuit.
'Not now, I've got to go', I said.
'Why the hell!', she exclaimed unable to quench the anger.
'It is important', I say.
'Will you come back?', there was a familiar desperation in her voice.
'I don't think so', I said coldly as I walked away. I heard the door banging loudly behind, as all the swears she would have said was separated from me by that sorry piece of wood. I didn't even ask her name, I thought as I checked my watch. Time moves so fast at times.
12.04. I ran through the corridor and found the lift switched off. Steps here were rather steep for a hospital, I thought as I jumped 2 steps at a time. The wait, my wait, our wait is over. There were tears lining up patiently inside my eyes. 'Wait', I told them, 'Wait till I see her!'
I couldn't notice how many women passed me with braided hair, I didn't know how many of them resembled my mother or how many held that voluptuous twinkle. I was now content that my heart was beating wildly and that my thoughts were storming down from the clouds of my mind. The rain is perhaps what I always needed!
People would have found me strange, my shirt was half open and the color of her lips was only half hidden somewhere inside my mouth as I frantically ran to the operation theatre. Anita was waiting for me, her eyes filled with the same tears I am trying to fight back now.
'Where were you?' she asked me in a put up anger. Then she smiled and said, 'Look at her Anand, she looks exactly like our mother!'
I took her from Anita and felt myself to be captivated in that image, and how her little eyes opened softly to look at me and how it closed once it got the vision. I wished to say to her every little story I knew, and every long journey I've been on but for now everything can wait. And the life I created, my daughter, Naina's daughter, settled comfortably in the niche I created between my hands. I kissed her on the forehead and realized that I have never kissed anyone else with so deep a love! Tears dropped out of my eyes and fell silently on her little arms, while unheeding, she dreamt of all the beautiful and happy things that awaited her.
Even then, without anybody noticing, time did continue to move on. Seconds ticked. 58. 59... 5 minutes had passed after 12 that strange night.