Guest Blog – Women’s Shoes

Some people collect stamps. Jonathan Myers hoarded women’s shoes. Neatly labelled the footwear stood on shelves in a wardrobe dedicated to the purpose.

Natalie. He remembered the girl. She had stood at a little over 5 feet 3 inches in those black stilettos, her long black hair tied up in pigtails. Martha. A slim busty Blonde wearing blue slip-on gym shoes, which now stood, neatly labelled next to Natalie’s stilettos. Jenny. Plump Jenny with her greasy black hair. She had arrived smelling of stale cigarettes and alcohol. Her white trainers now stood next to Martha’s gym shoes.

A click downstairs caused Jonathan to jump. Only the freezer going through it’s cycle he realised. He should, he thought be used to the sound by now. Lucy. Well spoken Lucy. She hadn’t been your typical prostitute. Her cut glass accent, expensive black leather handbag and those hand-made leather shoes set Lucy apart from your average working girl. None the less there Lucy’s footwear stood, neatly categorised, next to slobby Jenny’s trainers. Jonathan smiled at the contrast between those 2 girls who, in life would have had nothing in common. Downstairs the freezer clicked once more. It was a monster of a refrigeration unit, the kind one usually finds in supermarkets. None the less it was essential for it prevented the huge slabs of meat from defrosting, a household model would have been unable to cope with the task.

The door bell rang. Jonathan closed the wardrobe door, exited the bedroom and descended the stairs.

He opened the door to a leggy blonde wearing a long coat which, despite it’s length failed to wholly conceal the girl’s thigh high leather boots and short skirt.

“Hi I’m Jess”, the girl said smiling at Jonathan.

“Come in Jess” Jonathan said.

“Wow that’s a bloody big freezer” Jess said as they passed the refrigeration unit in the hall, “What do you keep in there, bodies?”

“Of course” Jonathan said, with a smile.

When Kevin Morris was born, NASA put a man on the moon to celebrate. Hoping to cash in on his highly validated fame, I decided to beg him desperately ask him nicely to write a post for me. Read more of his lovely posts on New Author Online and his other guest posts for me here. And don’t forget to show your love. 

Edge of Desire

Amma told us at dinner that Agnes Aunty had started baking cake again. We didn’t have calendars in the house, just an old time piece on the shelf behind God’s photos and all our old hand-me-down text books. Agnes Aunty was our season clock. We knew it was summer when mother would bring home nimboo paani, we knew it was the start of a new year at school when we got her son’s too big uniforms. We wouldn’t complain – they were the only ‘new’ clothes we’d get all year and we wore it with pride. Who doesn’t want to look like a Saahib?

But the best season of all was when Maalkin would start baking cake. Every year we would hear of her meticulous preparation. She’d buy the raisins and currants in bulk and lay them out in the sun to dry. She’d then put them in a giant ceramic jar and pour in a bottle of daaru (something with the name that sounds like our god, Ram) and some cinnamon. These were luxuries we were excited about even if we never got to see it.

When Agnes Aunty was done soaking the raisins for 2 days, she’d start her painstaking work of art. The way Amma described it, it was like Agnes Aunty was an artist, a sculptor who slowly, painstakingly worked on every aspect of the cake till it looked like a winter wonderland. I don’t know what a wonderland is but I have seen posters of these firangis in their Santa hats and so much snow – I assume that’s what it means. Winter snowland. We never have snow in our shanties. In fact, when Amma was telling us the story, we were sitting shirtless, wiping off the sweat from our brows every two minutes.

I looked at my plate and smiled, the season of magic was upon us. Our cold gruel now had vegetables in them. Yesterday we had biryani. Agnes Aunty is always very generous this time of year. Amma says that maalkin is only cleaning the fridge and wants to get rid of the filth but I am thankful. My ever grumbling stomach is thrilled during this season and full. It’s such a good and underrated feeling.

Every year during Christmas we also get Rs.1 a day. It usually buys you 4 chocolates in the Kaaka shop. Sometimes if we help him take out the garbage, he gives us a chocolate free. Candy, the maalkin’s son calls it. Chocolate, apparently, isn’t as sweet and fruity flavoured. I stuck to ‘chocolate’ though. Ganesh and gang would tease me terribly if I used any other term.

My worn out purse had Rs. 10 now and I drifted off into fantasies once mother started complaining about her workload. I feel for her – to take care of us, she worked in 3 houses and cooked in 2. But it was the same story we heard every day for a year and so I thought it would be okay to dream for a day. She wouldn’t even notice, I told myself.

Agnes Aunty would assemble her cake, she made so many, and she would give it to her sons to go sell it to the bakeries. It was amazing to me how much money she made from Rs. 80 daaru and raisins. Every family wanted to some for themselves and then some more to gift to their friends and family. No one I knew practiced tradition but every year we got to secretly be part of it. The bakeries would take the cakes and cut off the edges and decorate the cake anew with an old man in a red suit, sometimes a tree and sometimes something that looked like snow and silver balls.

Rich-Plum-Cake

Now, I didn’t care about what the cake looked like. No one I knew did. We cared about the edges of the cake that were cut off. Some were burnt, some were apparently too dry, as if there was such a thing. Every year I thank god for our smriti because none of us like to waste anything. Not even the rich bakery bhaiyas. In fact, they cut the edges into nice square chunks and would wrap it up in plastic and sell it to smaller bakeries closer to our homes. Rs. 10 for a big pack of melt in your mouth, sweet and rich cake edges. And just after Amma leaves for work tomorrow, I know where I would go.

“Wipe your mouth, you’re drooling like a dog again” said Amma. I didn’t even lose my temper this time.

It was, finally, Christmas.

_______________________

Based on a colleague’s personal experience

The other side of goodbye

Either I only truly get attached to people who stay or … well, what else can it be?  Like a web, I’ve built a solid foundation from which I jump from place to place knowing that even when I fall, I can drag myself back because of that strand that binds me to my architectural masterpiece.

This, this is home. A place that you carry with you when you go looking for adventure in strange lands, a place where you can make friendships with people you never would have otherwise interacted with. A place in your being that reminds you that you can go where you may because when you come back, things will always be the same. People will be here. Waiting.

I’m not always here – on this side of a goodbye. The last two times I was, it was a blur of pain and tears and some dark place I never wanted to visit again. There’s no Doctor to rescue you in his blue machine. There are no smiling faces of children in exotic lands that’ll carry you through it. Just you and the them size hole throbbing inside you since they left. That and the urge to set fire to the airport and the harbour and the front door – just so that there is no place left for anyone to say goodbye.

 

Source

Lines on a page

We are empty words. Scribbled on napkins and on the back of movie tickets. A footnote at the end of a scientific transcript. I try to reach the end, to finish this but every time I try to read you, I lose myself.

Please, let me sleep?

I shouldn’t let myself sleep.

I don’t really know you and yet,

In my dreams we are in love.

Different places –

A turqouise ocean,

An old heritage building,

A volcano

Always the same story –

We are great friends,

We backpack together,

We realize we have always loved each other.

We kiss.

Oh that sweet kiss!

And when I wake it’s like I’ve lost you.

And I lose you again and again

Repeatedly.

It rips me to pieces and then,

I fall in love with you instantly.

All over again.

I should be laying awake and praying

That I do not see the light of day.

You have left me such a mess.

Will I see you soon?

I know that when the story ends,

The one that’s in my head,

I’ll be alone again

Why am I so terrified of waking?

You’re gone and I feel I’ve been forsaken

In sleep is the only place I get to see you

Get to love you

Be with you

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.