The wind is howling outside, shaking the windows of my house as the rain continues to pound like artillery shells without any break. It is like this city is being eaten by a giant water monster and everything is submerging in it’s belly. In hindsight, global warming is indeed the water monster.
Windows & doors remain tightly shut as they continue to vibrate and make repeated sounds of banging against the walls. Shortly after I read a text circulating on Whatsapp that electricity will be cut from the source, the lights go off. It gets dark and it seems like each house is a separate island cut off from each other.
Each island is cemented in its place away until the wind will tear it apart and break it into pieces.
I sigh & get up from my couch. I have to cut vegetables for my salad. It is a part of this new diet I have been doing. I have been fairly regular so far, although it has only been a week. In this one week itself I have strayed a few times but it has largely been in check. Straying a bit from the diet is better than not having one at all.
I open the fridge and its coolness brushes my face. I take a tomato, cucumber & carrot from the fridge and put them on the kitchen counter. I turn around to the counter behind me and take the knife out of the rack where the utensils are kept. I turn back to see somebody’s head in place of the tomato.
I close my eyes. Whose head is it?
The hair on the head was uncombed and the face was smashed & bloody. It looked like it had no skull but just skin sewn in place to form the shape of an ill-formed, ugly-looking face. Blood was slowly sliding down from its temples and forehead while it’s eyes remained tightly shut.
It looked disgusting. But whose head is it?
It looked familiar, and yet I could not place a name against it.
How long have my eyes been shut?
What time is it? It should be around 2 pm right now.
I am hungry.
I open my eyes slowly to see the cucumber, tomato and the carrot next to each other on the kitchen counter. I take them one by one and start chopping and dicing it. I start with the cucumber, cutting it into circular shapes with the knife.
Suddenly the knife looks threatening in my hand.
I check the time. It is 1 pm.
I am off by one hour. My reliable sense of time has eluded me today.
I start chopping the tomato and sense somebody’s hands wrapping mine slowly. The skin of the hands is soft and delicate and envelopes my hands in warmth.
They are a woman’s hands with nicely- trimmed nails & no nail-polish. I can see the transparency of her nails and the white skin under it.
I like that, no nail-polish.
I stop chopping the tomato & turn around to look at her directly. She is completely naked and the flesh of her dusky skin is within my reach. I hold her waist from my right hand & feel her skin. It feels real. I look deep into her brown eyes as they curiously gaze back at me. My eyes wander down to my hand on her waist and fire seems to be emanating from it.
My palm is burning but I feel no sensation and the skin on my right palm looks like the burnt end of a cigarette. The shit of nicotine & tar.
The disgusting anti-smoking ad plays in my mind. I imagine a piece of foam being squeezed with soft hands and the dark grey colored-tar oozing out of it and filling a glass jar kept beneath to the brim.
I close my eyes again.
I open them and there is no naked woman in front of me. Am I imagining all this?
I am a little disappointed but I smell something burning. I bring my palm to my face and the pink flesh of my skin is in place. I look at the gas with the pan on top of it containing cooked vegetables inside.
I open the lid of the pan in which the maid was cooking the vegetables. Smoke escapes and lands right on my spectacles making the glasses moist and everything around me is out of focus. The mist clears and I can see the dark, burnt vegetables sitting in the pan.
The maid must have forgotten to turn the gas off. Who forgets something like that? But she is not like that. She is very careful about things.
But there is no other reasonable explanation. Maybe she is having an off day. I mean, even this city is having an off day today. It has stranded and disappointed its citizens.
I wonder what the city would say if it had a voice right now. Maybe it would flood its citizens so that it is left alone. I wonder if that is what the city is doing right now. I mix all the cut vegetables in a bowl & add some salt & pepper to it. I think of the cut pieces of vegetables wading their way through the bowl in the muck of the mustard sauce I add on top of it.
I toss the salad in a bowl and walk into the living room to see three people sitting on the couch looking at me as if they have been waiting too long. A woman in her mid-30s and two identical young boys who seem to be 8-year olds. All three of them are wet and the water is dripping from their bodies and clothes on to the floor. Water slowly fills up the living room and is heading towards me like an army of small water soldiers.
The cool water touches my feet and I wriggle my toes. I am standing in my place and can’t even think of moving as the water passes under and around the soles of my feet to take over the kitchen and the bedroom. I want to close my eyes but I can’t anymore. I wish to see this through.
I wish to see what happens next and to find out what this all means and where I am.
Curiosity killed the cat, didn’t it.
But my eyes remain open and I see the people sitting on the couch. Curious, darting eyes of the the boys were piercing right through my body making my blood cold. I could feel my body revolting to the sight of the boys but my heart was filling up with warmth.
The woman is sitting cross-legged and her hair is disheveled and wet. Her clothes are torn around her waist revealing her dusky and slightly burnt skin. The light blue top she is wearing is wet and has black marks all over it as if she has escaped a fire.
I lift my hand up to feel the skin on my face. I feel stitches covering my entire face. The stitches complete a roughly drawn circle as they go from my forehead to the temples down to the chin and back up to the forehead from the other side. I am completely dry except for the slight trickle of blood around the stitches.
My face is kept in place with stitches and suddenly I feel the skin of my face slipping down as one by one each stitch is slowly undone. I imagine my head twirling in the air as my vision gets blurry. I fall on the wet floor and see those six sets of eyes looking straight at me.
My eyes shut.