The Writer’s Dilemma
The room was lit only by a candle. As the wax continued to drip, and the grandfather clock in the living room announced the hour with two loud gongs, the writer sat at his desk, lost for words, searching within for what seemed like the thousandth time. The inkpot was still full; the only drops on the paper were but dots from the pen’s nib touching it. He knew he had a story within him. He just didn’t know what it was. Closing the nib, he ran his fingers over the sheet of paper.
It felt cold, almost like the drop of rain on a warm day. He closed his eyes, saw the drop fall away, and tumble gracefully into a puddle below his feet. He thought of his childhood, when his sister used to look up at the sky as the first rain of the monsoon fell, and try to catch it with her tongue. He smiled, putting his tongue out, catching an imaginary drop of rain.
It felt rough. The paper was old, and over the years, it had lost its smoothness. He remembered when he had first bought the notebook. The pages had been smooth, almost as smooth as a rose petal. He had showered rose petals on his bed for his bride, the first night of their married life. He turned and saw her sleeping peacefully. She still looked as pretty, but he knew she’d disagree.
Opening his eyes, he turned the pages back. There was the first story he ever wrote. He traced his fingertips over those faded letters of the first word… L.O.V.E. It felt strange that like the letters, the love too seemed to have faded. His family never seemed to understand his love for words. When he refused to let go of it, they slowly began to lose their faith in him. How could he choose between two parts of himself?
Just as the candle was about to burn out, he knew what his story would be. He quickly turned the pages, unscrewed the pen and wrote, “Once upon a time…”
“Darling, it’s nearly 3 o’clock. Enough for tonight. Come to bed.”
“Just a few more minutes, honey. I’ll be right there,” he replied, turning to give her a smile.
But when he turned around, the story was gone again. In that moment, he had forgotten that glorious idea.
“De ja vu,” he murmured to himself, as he blew the candle out.
(5th December 2014)