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The Angel at the Window
I stare at her for hours…
Her tears have dried away. Only traces of the path they took linger on. She is lying peacefully now. She sleeps without a care in the world. I know because I watch. A gentle tranquility radiates from her face that perplexes me. So brittle, yet so strong.
I watch. It is all I do. I watch as her body shivers from the cold of the night. The night is unforgiving. It batters her with frosty winds. The frail pieces of cloth cannot protect her enough. They cannot keep her warm. I see the sheets lying barely feet away. I know if I extend a hand, I can hold them. But I do nothing. I cannot help, I can watch, only watch.
With the light of dawn I see her bloom like a flower, but this one has lost its scent. Her hazel eyes stutter open. With quivering hands she touches her face where the tears have long dried. I see a silent hush in her eyes. Is she sad that they’re gone?
She looks at the walls of her room. For a moment her eyes linger at the small window in front. They look as if they’ve caught something. Does she know that I am here? I dare to hope. But she turns away meekly. No, her eyes are searching for something else.
Her hands run along her arms and legs. She embeds them deep inside her shallow pockets where they wither around. Her breathing is fast and her eyes are wide. An urgency occupies her as never before. Her hands grab anything that they can and fling it away. Books fall to the floor with a heavy thud. Everything disappears till there is nothing left to throw. She screams like a wounded animal and grips her hair, tugging at it.
She is searching for a picture, the picture she holds close to her heart as she sleeps, the picture of a loved one. She cannot lose it. It is the only one she has. She cuddles her tiny body into a ball. Her eyes squeeze shut and fresh tears erupt as she rocks her body frenziedly. Her lips speak only one word again and again.
I hear her voice drowning in pain. She begs and pleads, clasping her hands submissively. Her gaze is fixed at the wooden ceiling as she recites a small prayer. I have heard many prayers before but not this one. This one is her own. The words are from her heart, they are sincere. She waits and waits but the miracle she expects doesn’t come. Her resolve falters and her eyes swell. She shrieks again.
The picture is still where it was, rested below the night lamp, where the wind had placed it in the dead of the night. Something inside me wants to point it out to her. I want to show that it hasn’t left her, only moved…but I do nothing. I cannot help, I can watch, only watch.
The door opens and a man rushes inside. He does not wait, he does not hesitate. He tries to hold her down but she resists. Her arms are flailing wildly. The faintest touch sets her off. He calls her name but she doesn’t respond. She doesn’t know who she is anymore. His eyes are moist. He feels pain. He brings her head to his chest and holds her till she is defeated. Her wails are softer now. Her breath is shallow. They cry. Both of them do. Somewhere inside me, I wish I could too.
So much pain for a body of clay. I cannot help but wonder if it belongs to her, if this melody is embedded inside. If it is love that causes so much hurt then of why does one love at all? There is much that I do not understand. I wonder his ways like I have, always. But I know that they are not mine to judge.
She is asleep again. She is at peace, in the sanctuary of her dreams. She cannot be hurt there. The world and all its sadness cannot reach her.
On the floor I see a book lying open. I see the blue ink scribbled over the paper. The words are bright and full of hope. Hope that has abandoned her now. It is a poem. One of the last she wrote in happier times. I enjoy reading the words. I wish she would write more. But I know she will. I know these times will pass. The flower shall bloom once more. Once more will the scent color the air. The sorrows shall dry up like the tears. She will not be alone for long. Those eyes will beam again, those salted lips shall smile once more. They shall laugh, they shall sing, she will be happy.
And as I look at the quiescent being, I feel the burn of an unfamiliar desire fill me on the inside. I know not why but I want to hold her, share her sorrows, tell her that everything will be bright again, show her the happiness and joys in store of her, make her see how beautiful she is…But I do nothing. I cannot help. I can watch, only watch.
I stare at her for hours…