Categories
Blue Moon Stories

Birdie

There was a bird at my window. It came there everyday. At four-thirty in the afternoon.

The window was an old ventilator that had been recently sealed with glass because it was close to the ceiling, too tall to reach without a ladder and I had been afraid it would make an easy entry for the pests. Well, now I couldn’t reach the beautiful bird.

I wondered what it wanted. Perhaps it was hungry. Poor little thing.

I ordered a bird feeder and climbed up the stairs to the terrace from where I could hang the feeder close to the bird’s favorite window. I put some grains in it and waited excitedly for the afternoon.

At four-thirty, it arrived and completely ignored the feeder. It flapped its wings against the glass pane and called. As if it were telling us something. So, not hungry then.

The next morning my husband kept a little dish with water near the feeder. Maybe the little guy was thirsty?

It was back on time. But it disregarded the water and preferred to crash against the window like every day. As if the window would suddenly have opened for him after days of doing just that. It was trying to get in. But why! What was in our house!

We googled the bird. It was a red-whiskered bulbul. It really was strikingly beautiful. Sang in a melodius four note call. Quite adorable with its mohawk hairstyle and specs of black and red. But although google helped us get to know our visitor’s family better, it hadn’t been much help in knowing what our visitor may have wanted. What did he want, our dear bulbul?

The next morning we were woken up by urgent knocking. Yes, the bulbul had returned. And at 6 am this time too. I pulled the blanket up on my eyes and went back to sleep. But the incessant knocking went on and on. This was beginning to get tiresome, huh.

I got out of bed and walked rather angrily to the window but was instantly mollified. There were two of them this time. Our birdie had a friend. I waved to them. They flew away.

Soon enough, they were back. The guy bird and the girl bird, I guessed. They both wanted to get in. They would turn and look at an empty loft right across the window. The loft was as tall as the window, so we had no means of reaching it without significant effort either. Maybe they could spot something there that they wanted? Lizards or insects or bugs? I hoped not.

I checked the bird feeder at night. They hadn’t eaten much. I took it away and also took away our little disc with water. They clearly hadn’t cared for any of it and I clearly had failed to understand what they wanted. Fine. No more guessing.

A few days went by like this. The bird show went on. One day we came back home from the doctor’s. We were very happy. We were going to have a baby.

I went back to work. We grew accustomed to the noise at the window almost to the point that it stopped being a sound we registered anymore. It went on in the background. I wasn’t anymore trying to solve a problem I didn’t understand.

One day I was watering the plants in our front yard when I heard a rustling in the shrubs. I turned my water hose toward the source of the noise. The water brought out a shiny black cobra at me, its hood raised. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I threw the hose away and ran back inside the house, shrieking. I shut all the doors and latched the windows. My husband came out of the shower hearing the commotion. I grabbed him tightly.

“There is a cobra in our garden! I need you to get this snake out of here anyhow, okay! We need to snake-proof the house! We can’t have a baby being raised in a house where snakes can come in so easily! Who knows what else is lurking out there in the shrubs. We need to do something!” I frantically clutched at my non-existent baby-bump.

“Okay, okay.” he said. “Okay, we will. Calm down.”

I tried to. Calm down. Then there was the knock again.

The two birds were back at the window. I looked at the watch. Four-thirty. And then it hit me. Suddenly. Ahhhh. This time I knew it in my gut. They wanted to build a nest in our loft!

I looked at my husband and smiled. “They are having babies.”

Categories
Blue Moon Stories

Soulmates

A pensive 20-year-old girl sits at the window of a bedroom, her head resting against the glass. There are two empty beds in the room. It is early evening. No lights are switched on. A 15-year-old enters the room and watches her. She comes and sits next to her and calls to her softly-

“Dee Dee..”

There is no response. DeeDee’s hand, holding one of the window rods, slides down limply. The 15-year-old persists…

“I want to tell you something.”

DeeDee’s eyes blink and a tear rolls down her cheek. The 15-year-old continues quietly…

“Love is the most wonderful feeling in the world, yet this us what it does…

DeeDee won’t move.

“Please let go no DeeDee. Didn’t you say that memories are just past? You still have your present… I want to tell you something, but you have to pay attention to me…”

The 15-year-old glances at the pillow and we see a small edge of a diary peeping from under it.

“Please…”

At this moment, DeeDee faintly stirs, looks dazedly around the room, and slowly comes and sits on the bed.

The 15-year-old starts smiling to herself. DeeDee looks at the other bed and notices the diary. She immediately picks it up and lifts out the bookmark to go to the last written page.

“Dear Diary,

It was the stupidest day at college today. I hate that teacher. I broke my favorite bracelet also and lost it somewhere. I tried calling DeeDee to speak to her about it and I suddenly realized I had run out of balance. There are these moments that I simply HAVE to talk to her and no one else! And then suddenly, she called! She said she had this urge to call me right away and find out how I was doing. Can you believe it! I was soooo happyyy!!

This happens so many times with us. It’s so awesome. It’s like our souls are connected forever. We don’t need the phone! Hell, we don’t even need the words!! We don’t need anything. We are connected forever. ”

DeeDee breaks down sobbing, still holding the diary. The 15-year-old has disappeared.

Next to DeeDee is photo frame on the table. It has a picture of two little girls holding hands, grinning widely.

Categories
Blue Moon Stories

The Grand Library

The old and immense library is dark and under-ventilated. The long ray of sunlight that a tall window throws into the enormous room lights up the only sign of life in that vastness- Maria. Maria finishes putting a massive brass padlock to the entry door of the library and turns around. The delicate gold and pearl necklace she wears gleams and creates a halo around her face.

In her 40s and dressed elegantly in a silk saree, with a white lily in her hair and the beautiful necklace, Maria now ambles along an aisle picking out books from the dusty shelves, wiping them tenderly and stacking them back one by one.


“Come here, my dear. I think you are now ready for my favorite aisle…” She says loudly, as if speaking to someone in another corner of the library. 

“Wuthering Heights, Ivanhoe, and here’s also Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. Oh I must teach you to read French…” She turns around and notices for the first time that she has lost her listener. 


“Baby?” She looks through the gaps in the books. The long aisles look empty. She puts the book back and starts through the endless aisles. She suddenly gets a sense this has happened before. A deja vu.


A demurely beautiful girl rushes through the library’s labyrinthine passages, looking over her shoulders. She is hiding a book in her dress. 


The girl reaches the end of a corridor and presses with both hands into the wall. Suddenly the wall twists revealing a secret passage. She shuts the wall back and rushes through the narrow passage until she reaches a ladder and starts up.

Maria walks hastily toward the secret door and trips over some books that have fallen off the shelf. Even amid her anxious chase, she habitually stacks them back neatly with unbelievable swiftness before continuing on her way shouting, “Where are you my child?”


The girl steps off the ladder into a sunny room. She rushes to the window and throws the shutters open. A strong and audacious 17-year-old boy climbs onto the window sill. They kiss.

He removes a WUTHERING HEIGHTS from under his shirt and hands it to her. “Here’s your book back.”

She pulls out the IVANHOE she’s hiding in her dress.
“Hurry. My mother must be here…” He pushes the book away. She looks at him puzzled.

“How long are we going to keep doing this?”

“What do you mean? I have more books than you could possibly read in your lifetime.”

“This, us! Do we always have to meet secretly like this?”

“If I tell my mother, she will never let me see you again. She doesn’t trust anyone in your world. You know that.”

“Then come away with me.” She stares at him for a long moment. Then…

“I can’t do that.”

Maria pushes the wall in the corridor with both hands and the wall turns. 


The boy grabs the girl by her elbow.
“You aren’t a child anymore. You don’t have to do as your mother says. She didn’t let you go to school, she didn’t let you make friends or travel. But enough now. Don’t you want to be out in the world and live life?”


“I AM living life. I experience more life inside this library than you do outside. I have travelled the world, made strange friends, met all kinds of people, learnt several languages and trained myself in trades you don’t even know of. And all of this thanks only to these books…”


“And falling in love? Could your books give you that?”
He looks into her eyes. Her heart is melting…


Maria reaches the ladder.


The boy holds the girl’s face in his hands. “Step out and start your journey for real. I promise it will be amazing.”


“My mother says your world is already worse than Orwell’s 1984!”


“Maybe it is. But our world also has people wiser than the elephants and kinder than the Little Women. We have sights of such natural beauty, I assure you, no words in your books could do them justice. There is entertainment and drama and risk and adventure- you, of all the people, need to come out and LIVE!”


“I could never do it to my mother. I promised her I’ll never ever EVER leave her. Ever!”


There is a knock on the door. She looks at the door she has bolted from inside… She begins to panic and shut the window. 
“She is here. You need to go now.” But he desperately pushes the window open.


“No! If I go from here today without you, this will be the last of me you ever see.”


“Please… I can’t make this choice-“


He opens his fist to reveal a gold and pearl necklace. “Let’s start our life together, for real?”

The girl looks at him with tears in her eyes and says finally…

“Yes…”

She holds his hand and a wild ecstatic smile comes over her face…

.

.

.

.

.
Maria looks at the door in front of her. It is slightly ajar. She goes in…

There is no one at the window. In a corner of the room, she spots the person she has been looking for.

“Ria? I’ve been looking for you.”


A radiant teenager looks up from the Little Women she has been reading. Her cheeks are drenched.


“Jo doesn’t want to marry Laurie…. I really like him.”


Maria takes the book from her hands and keeps it aside.”My little girl is growing up and falling in love already…”  


“Does real heartbreak hurt so bad Ma?”

Maria abstractedly touches the gold and pearl necklace in her neck… 

“It’s much worse. Books never break your heart. But outside, the world corrupts even the purest relationships.”


“Is that why you came back Ma?”


“Yes… It doesn’t get any better than living here. Understand, my love?”
The mother and daughter hold each other close. 


“I promise I will never ever EVER leave you. Ever!”


The words bring back the now excruciating memory. She smiles sadly and looks at the window, knowing the temptation of that window far too well. Who knows, it might one day overcome this promise too, just like it had done her’s.


With all her heart, she holds on to Ria.

“Just don’t grow up too fast okay.”