Winged Muteness

Leena was quite restless once she reached home after the Sunday service. She didn't feel anything when the pastor preached about the silent - killer disease "Cancer" in his sermon that morning as it has become a common topic of the media as well as every social gathering to quote about this 'soft tissue destructing disease". Leena was listening casually to the serious chatter of the womenfolk gathered in the church premises after the service; discussing the number of persons who were suffering from this ailment. But suddenly a particular name mentioned set her mind alert. "Did I hear it right, did they mention the name Solomon?" She confirmed her doubts by softly enquiring whether Solomon was the son of the Deniz family. Yes, he was the same person! She couldn't digest the fact. Deeply disturbed and with slow strides she somehow managed to reach home. The breakfast she cooked was insipid but as her husband and two complaint-box sons were about to go for a party, the insipidity was condoned.

Seated alone in the lounge, cherishing the moments of stillness in her home she set free the rusted, coiled thoughts of her childhood to unwind. Since when did she know Solomon? May be when she was just eleven or twelve. When did she learn his name? No idea. Who is he to her? "No one", then why these thoughts...?

Those round haunting eyes seeking her from any crowd or gathering is unforgettable. But then why nothing was talked, nothing spoken, nothing written, nothing shared directly or through others, just a great big muteness. Yet it went on and on. From twelve she grew to eighteen but it was like an award film, No words, no music and oh! Sure no action even. Then what? Mere look! But it has prolonged for so many years. Until one day he vanished. Leena didn't dare enquire anyone, may be for years until one day she heard the list of persons who have gone abroad seeking job. He was one among them. She felt a pang of sorrow. "Why did he do this to me"? Atleast he could have said a goodbye before parting. Oh! May be it was her imagination that be sought her from the crowd with his round haunting eyes and felt that she was something for him. But she was sure he cared for her. There were so many instances to prove it. If she was with the last crowd to part from church, he was still there; waiting, watching for her to leave. Then what else? It took time for the rusty coil of this particular memory to unwind as it was not greased or oiled for three decades. A passing cloud hid the sun for a while and formed a shade; then the flowers looked more colourful. Seeing the cloud the weather forecasting country bird gave its famous long hoot, warning about the sudden summer shower. That bird with its red bright eyes looked pretty.

Slowly, "Solomon" the unprompted poetry filled her thoughts. Didn't he have sense of humor? Several times she had seen him watching her and then coming back with changed costume colour matching hers. She has tested this several times by wearing a red colour dress and he too did the same. But still not one word was exchanged. But wait! Had she left any part of the outline story blank? Could she read the expression reflected on his face when she last saw him? Was there any struggle to say something? Did his lips spell out that he was going abroad? Anyway she was too scared to pause or enquire.

Time flew; the story of "Mighty, yet nothing Solomon" was forgotten. Leena got deeply engrossed with her studies, career and family so on and on covering the various phase of life's solar system until that day she heard the name once again at the church yard. Leena got up from the chair and walked through the veranda for a while. She finally decided to do certain things. Then she felt like a pilgrim about to make a hajj trip, all debts and dues cleared. All obligations settled. She was not the naive little girl in her teens. She was a full fledged woman of late forties- Wife - Mother moreover a social worker of the church, "I have to visit him". That evening she told the entire story to her sons and spouse, though all three teased her for a while, their final opinion was common that she has to visit Solomon at the cancer centre. That following Sunday, Leena boldly asked his sister for the contact number.

When Leena dialed the number of his cell phone she was ready with the words she was about to speak, yet when a weak feeble voice at the other side said "Hello...." Leena quite forgot the memorized words. Finally, she greeted back and started after clearing her throat "I don't know whether you know me. I am your "CHILDHOOD FRIEND WITH WHOM YOU HAVE NEVER SPOKEN". The sick voice at the other side needed full strength to ask "WHAT?" Once again Leena repeated I am your childhood friend with whom you have never spoken, I will be visiting you tomorrow, can you please give me your ward and room number? A puzzled voice replied, "C Ward Room no: 303".

The next day Leena brought some fruits and energy boosting products and slowly stepped into room No.303. The scene was sickening. Solomon seated upon the cot with stretched legs like an old man of 70. Head shaven or hair loss? Those eyes which sought her once had sunk deep within the sockets and looked weird with powered spectacles. A figure of just skin and bones with black dark tan of radiation. Nothing looked real or human but like a specimen cloned erroneously by some eccentric scientist to look real and capturing like a human. Leena stood still not able to move until some stained teeth between gaps appeared within the parted parched lips and a bloated tongue prompted softly "Hello" smiling after a long deep mind - browsing frown which vanished slowly from his face when recognition filled his memory. His wife was seated beside him, weary and sad but gave a beaming smile and greeted Leena. Solomon couldn't speak much. So his wife spoke for his sake. "Last whole might we both were trying to fill up the puzzle as to who could be the 'Mute friend'. We are happy that you came". The most amazing part was the introduction Solomon made. It was almost like a whisper "This is my wife Leena". "What?" It was Leena's turn to get surprised. So his wife's name too was Lenna ..... what a tricky joke did nature play.

Leena poured out the story of her visit to her husband. It was a sort of flush out, the pathetic scene, sizzled up again and again in her mind. Her husband knew her sensitive nature, so to make her face things as it might happen he advised, 'Once a cancer patient always a cancer patient', "since it has affected his blood, the chances are meager."

Again the nature clock kept revolving; don't know how many months passed. The story of Solomon was stacked underneath life's filing cabinet of Leena, as other fresh files were opened until one day when Leena was busy chatting excitedly with a group of relatives who have gathered from far off places for a wedding. A not so familiar voice remarked "Hai, my friend WHO HAS NOT SPOKEN" Leena turned surprisingly, she couldn't believe her eyes. There stood Solomon with his wife beaming. He looked really better. Leena couldn't control the words, she just mumbled, "Are you alright?" "Yes somewhat", he replied ''and thank you dear friend". Saying so he slowly moved with his wife towards the reception hall. Leena wondered; Thank you... For what? For the fruits and energy booster gift or for the visit to the cancer center, or for the First Spoken Words.....
Nothing was discussed about it, nothing spoken; nothing passed or exchanged.... nothing. Yet, wasn't it something? Maybe or may not...........

Jacintha Morris
Welfare Assistant
AG's Office

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