Bob A pungent smell of lemon mixed with herbs, shallow frequent breaths and awkward whistles of I’ve just seen a face — one of the fastest songs by the beetles. Those are the three main hints of his approach. He walks with such heavy strides, shifting his weight awkwardly between one foot to the other. But even at that, his presence still creeps up on me, like a blood-curling ghost with sharp fangs.
The Seventh Autumn
I grew up in a small and charming fishing village called Saint Louvrez. A few kilometres away from the sparkling blue ponds stemming from the ocean île de rien, with just a poorly constructed pack of bamboo acting as the bridge. Saint Louvrez is sentimental, akin to the warm nature of a loving mother. It is littered with wooden houses and stonewalled bungalows, most of which are on the verge of collapse. The debris from those who have succumbed to age, provided the agile kids with tools to build miniature houses. We are the north on the country maps, and the wind on this side is merciless in all seasons. It whistles through the dimly lit houses in the mornings and rustles the leaves into a sweet lullaby at night. Even though polished oak doors weren’t a thing, the white cotton curtains used as interior alternatives made our games of hide and seek way too facile. But we still played anyway. We were young, happy and fearless.
What’s the worst that could happen?
I have never been one for dating apps. In fact, I had always avoided it like a plague. The feeling of uncertainty, the awkwardness, the anxiety of meeting someone for the first time. The painful stab of rejection. The whole idea of swiping left and right on people didn’t sit right with me. But I was lonely. Extremely lonely, and I craved some intimacy so badly and felt out of place. All my friends are either married or in love, and I had nothing apart from a few failed relationships that ended in being blocked on social media. I also hate to admit that I am almost 30, and haven’t accidentally spilt coffee on a woman at starbucks who ended up being my wife like I see in movies all the time. So after much thought, I decided to download tinder. I didn’t think I’d find my soulmate, but someone to talk to would have been sufficient. And so I logged on to it, swiping left and right and hoping for the best. That’s when I saw her. Ella. She was incredibly beautiful and her gaze was so strong that I thought I could feel her looking into my soul for the secrets I might be hiding. She was way out of my league, but I decided another chip on my self-esteem was a risk I was willing to take. Whilst her photo was inviting, the bio on her profile though very strange and a bit cringy was interesting.
The happenings of each month
I walked into the room staggeringly looking at the tense environment in front of me. A pin drop wouldn’t have gone unnoticed and the eerie silence of the full courtroom added to the feelings of unknown that had plagued me for the past few days. I had spent my time in a damp and small cell. The walls were cracked and reeked of urine from its previous occupant, leaving yellow marks in the corners. The puffy bags underneath my tired eyes told of the loud bangings on the wall of the cell beside me, it housed another inmate who was finding it increasingly hard to stay sane. As much as I dreaded this day, I was overjoyed to be away from the mind-numbing confinement of my cell and the constant probing and injections. I walked into the courtroom as the white uniforms in front of me brought back feelings of intense fear, and my brain seemed to have associated black stripes with an impending disaster.
I walked into the garden, keeping in mind it’s my third visit of the day. Today’s the 24th of May. Exactly three months since she went missing. And every single day I have visited this place, each time with a heavy mind full of regrets and a rucksack filled with her favourite fruits.
The garden of Eden
I had no recollection of the previous day. Not my name, not who I was, not even where my clothes had gone. All I remember is finding myself in a garden of some sort, with all sorts of flowers and trees filled with enticing fruits. I had spent a few minutes trying to take in the beauty of my surroundings, staring deeply at the crystal clear blue and picturesque lake in front of me and the addictive view of the clouds passing gently, in slow motion, my eyes following each transition from white to blue. The liquid that poured from some of the fruits was as white as milk, and a quick brush of my fingers against them revealed their silky texture. The birds chirped in a beautiful soothing cadence and the gentle cooing of the mourning doves filled my heart with unexplainable joy.
I was a mother before she was born. The very few memories of my childhood I maintained are those of me looking at my sister, coated in sweet-smelling shea butter oil and baby powder, being cradled in my mother’s arms as she sang beautifully in her alto voice.
I have never really had passion for anything. I have never had hopes, aspirations or plans for the future. As much as there’s a thick air of lost ambitions surrounding me, lost dreams and a strong desire to fulfil plans, if I had turned 30 in what the world was 7 years ago, I would be the perfect description of a lost soul, drifting through the winds with no direction.