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The Voice in His Head November 29, 2005

Posted by espritnoir in Uncategorized.
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He closes the door behind him, as he silently walks into the empty 1-BHK rented apartment. Eight months back, it used to be home; now it is just a place where he catches a few hours of troubled sleep some nights of the week. Now, he prefers the constant din that surrounds him in the rows of busy cubicles at the call center her works in.

He hangs up his keys, throws his jacket on the back of the chair, and grabs a bottle from the side table. Bacardi. Takes a swig. Its warm and flat, and doesn’t do him any good. He opens the fridge for some Sprite that’s been lying there somewhere. The small bulb in the fridge refuses to come on, and that reminds him that the fridge is still not working. The Sprite is gone anyway. He’ll have to make do without. Damn the fridge. She would have called the company, she would have known whom to call. She would have also known how much to pay the technician. She was smart, and knew how to handle ordinary situations. She would have known. She was extraordinary, in some ordinary way.

The bedroom still smells of her cheap perfumes, and her ittars, and scents. He hardly ever comes into this room. This was “her” room, more than “theirs”; it still is. Her taste is reflected in everything that sees. The vanity table is untouched. The hair brush, kept exactly where she had left it eight months ago, waits to be lifted by soft feminine hands and to caress gentle curls. Her small bindis – rounds, crescents, squiggles, stars, all colourful – still dot the top corners of the mirror. Her scents – in moments of weakness, he opens up those bottles, and takes in her fragrance once again – mix with the faint odor of her medication that still lie around, and fill the room up with the aromas of crushed rose petals, and slight decay. The damp smell of death, has still not lifted and is trapped in the room with perpetually closed windows, and lies as thick as the layer of dust that has settled all over her books.

He searches around for a moment, his hands reaching for something he knows is there somewhere. The semi-darkness doesn’t make it any easier to find things, and he fumbles around till he finds the bottle of Valium, carelessly thrown on the ground, and leaves the room. He doesn’t want to stay there any more than necessary.

Two pills and a drink. Some evenings, just the pills. But always music. Turned up loud. To drown her out. Her voice in his head. Sometimes, laughing, singing, saying “I love you, honey”, past conversations replayed, over and over again. Her sigh after their lovemaking. Her unique blushing laugher when he paid her an outrageous compliment. Her wild tantrums. Fights, debates, questions unanswered, he heard them all. Till he could take it no more. A beloved guest, who refuses to leave, and overstays her welcome. Waiting till he let his guard down at night, and then she would come calling again. Tormented by the lilt in her voice. That’s when the music helps. The pills to induce sleep. But the music to silence her.

Another night goes by, only slightly different from the rest. She’s upset today. She wants a small puppy, and he won’t let her keep one. He says she can’t handle the responsibility. She cries. She says he doesn’t love her. She threatens to walk off.

As the pills take effect, he turns up the volume on the headphones louder. She is still crying, but her sound is muffled now, as if she is miles away. Its no longer as loud as before. As hard as he tries, he can’t get the voice to stop. Far away, she continues crying. He cries too…

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