Heart Speak by RK Biswas
Her parents were too dismayed to think of a formal name. Her older siblings reminded her of her superfluity every now and then. At school, her teachers were disdainfully aloof. Her classmates were no nastier to her than they were to the injured and blinded-by-sunlight bat flapping in a corner. She could be chalk dust, coating fingers long after the blackboard had been written upon.
She married a dependable and busy man. He gave her a rock solid life with no surprises, and little time. He gave her children. The children grew up and apart. Perhaps for them this mother-child relationship thing was too cloying. She couldn’t understand how her precious appendages learnt to speak in alien tongues from the minute they could stand on their own two feet.
She cursed her heart, and left it to fend for itself. So it grew arms and legs, and went wandering all by itself, learning about things that barely registered with her mind. Independent of a heart, her mind ate solitary meals of thoughts, unseasoned with emotion.
Then one day, as suddenly as a flirtatious summer day, it was over. Her swollen ankles anchored her to places she’d rather not be in. Time walked around her as if she were a boulder in its path, the precious moments carelessly slung over its shoulder, making her stoop with the loss. Making her cranky, like a wire basket of pots and pans. A perennial grimace stuck to her face, seemingly at war with a frenzied creature within her.
She went out for long walks with only her prodigal heart for company, holding the wild thing fast on a leash. She never learnt what a blessing it was to be left to herself. To be solitary, unfettered by the needs and admonitions of others, free of a world that lobbed back empty echoes instead of responding to her. She went out on long walks, with her heart tugging at its leash, pulling her along, but she always stopped at the corner. She never craned her neck to watch the heart as it tugged and tugged. The leash frayed and began to hang by a thread of leather. Yet she hesitated, and hesitated until it no longer mattered...