Midnight absorbed the hour. I watched David as he lit the candle. Placing me on the table top, he laid me down, still and flat. Silent I remained. I still cannot forget the night. Every word remains absorbed in me.
The silence broke as the two visitors came. Removing their caps, they sat beside me. Close enough to touch my sides. I never felt so nervous before. I don’t remember their names anymore. All I can recall is that one was dressed in red and the other was in black.
As the wind blew, I tried to move away from them. But, like water absorbed by a sponge, the visitors rolled towards me.
David remained unmoved. Everything seemed normal to him. Finally he sat down and I was left alone with three.
All of a sudden, I felt something heavy on me. David, it was. Welcoming the one in black, he placed his hand on me. As he played with his fingers from left to right, the candle light danced on me. His sweat I absorbed.
“How are you?” asked the black.
Neither David nor I replied. The red one, positioned above my head, entered the absorbing conversation.
“I’ve been in London for the past three years. I never thought I’d meet you here. Not this way. Mother said you left us. Left us for another woman. Fortunately I’m a school teacher now. And luckily our school organised a visit to the old age. I was going through the list to count the number of members. There I found your name. I couldn’t recognize you by your picture but my mind was absorbed with those ripe old memories we once shared,” the red one replied as he swayed on me. David moved him gently.
“Could you recognize me father?” the red one continued.
Even in a room with members four, there was an awkward silence. Finally the black one made some design on my right foot. I felt tickled but didn’t move. The candle extinguished. The visitors put on their caps. David lifted me and held me tight. With his tightest grip we moved to the room next door. The visitors didn’t object.
Holding me close, as close as he could, David sat on his bed. Running his fingers on me, his tears ran down. Those drops I absorbed. He loosened his grip and I swayed to the ground. David moved away. As he covered himself with a blanket, I watched him fall asleep.
The red pen and black will dry someday and the letters will absorb in me. I wish I could do something but I’m an unsent letter hiding stories.
By Payal Dutta
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