Leaves of autumn

I perch upon my balcony

as I sip my hot tea,

watching over the birch tree

shedding away its leaves.

I watch as the wind sways

past your branches and twigs,

a chance you seize

to let go of your autumn leaves.

I cock my head on one side,

comparing life metaphorically;

wondering if we could learn

a thing or two from thee.

So I stand up straight

with a childlike glee,

pull my hands up on either side

and shake them vigorously.

I shake them until

all of my autumn leaves

leave.

Advertisements

The Exit

“My mother was a prostitute. But she found a man so smitten with her, that he decided to marry her. The man was my father.
Theirs was a love story filled with acceptance and new beginnings. Until there came a day when I was born. I had a name that my mother had given me, but I have forgotten what it was because I came to be known as a ‘liability’ by my father. I grew up hearing that more than my own name. Of course I later christened myself as Victor, after my mother, Victoria.

Truth is, father never wanted kids. Mother had already done four abortions. So she didn’t tell him when she got pregnant a fifth time.
And hence started all the abuse, towards her and me. He would beat us, call us names, humiliate us in front of his friends and shout as loud as he could to intimidate us.

I had always been an obedient child.
Somehow that was never enough for my father.
I remember one evening when I saw my mother weeping in her bedroom. Father was screaming out in the hall and hurling verbal abuses at her. I’d never seen her cry, it was perhaps because she never let me see her vulnerability.
But what happened next, changed my life forever. With utmost assertion, emphasising every word like she meant it, she said,
‘I hate people who shout.’
She looked up at herself in the mirror. Her eyes bloodshot and fiery, her posture beginning to straighten and her expression turning into something harsh. Something cruel. I’d never seen this part of my mother.
Within the blink of an eye she got up from the chair, and scurried off to the hall.
By the time I ran and reached the edge of our hall, I could see a butler’s knife stabbed fully into my father’s back and mother holding it. I don’t know what sound he made or did he even plead for his life; but I do remember her – stabbing him continuously after he lay dead on the floor, motionless.
‘I hate people who shout’, she repeated with the same assertion.

She killed herself the next day, out of guilt. And wrote a note to me which said that she didn’t have the courage to look me in the eye again.
And just like that, I lost a world of my own overnight.

Although, It’s all in the past now! I have learnt a lot from it.”

The bonfire was beginning to light out, the moon was right above our heads as I finished telling him my story. He wasn’t mocking me now, shaming me on being a prostitute’s son. He was alert now, rather emotional. Guilty of bullying me, humiliating me. His eyes were sorry for what he had done.

“This is my favourite place you know, this part of the woods. It’s quiet, subtle”, I said contently and looked up at him.
“I did not know-”
I cut him off, “that’s alright. That’s why I wanted to share my story. It feels lighter now, doesn’t it?”
“Yes. You are a survivor!”, he said, visibly proud of me.

“I will collect some more wood for the bonfire then”, I told him while I got up from the rock I was seated on, “it’s burning out.”
He nodded and I headed off.

I came back to find him seated exactly where he was, fidgeting with his walkman. He faced his back towards me. So I approached him without making a sound; and stabbed him exactly where my mother stabbed my father 20 years ago.

“You are a twat. A prostitute’s son. I bet if she were alive today, I’d be her customer”, he’d say that to me everyday. In front of everyone. He’d send me notes that said horrible things about my mother.
So I sent him a note one day, asking him to meet me at the end of Exit-7 of the woods, lured him with the idea of telling him my ‘real story’.

I dragged his body to a nearby spot and piled it upon the others I had stabbed over the years.
I walked on to the side of the pile of corpses to a tree that held a tombstone in front of it – my mother’s burial.
I looked down at my bloodied hands that held the same butler’s knife my mother held in hers that day, and sat down on my knees.
“I hate people who shout”, I heard myself resonate my mother’s words. Assertive and emphatic.
This was in her honour. You see, there was a part of her note written to me that I’d always omit while telling them my story. It said, ‘Do yourself justice. Do not tolerate abuse.’

And I had always been an obedient child.