It is a sullen day. The sun shone two minutes after I closed my eyes. I seem to have left my spirit behind and got in to work. Thankfully, it is not a lazy day in office. There are hard, neat tasks to do. My mind can focus. But after the first stint of completing tasks, there are the mop-up nitties. That is not something I look forward to. But wait, there is a welcome break. One of my colleagues wants to think of a few ideas. She seems happy. I like it when happy people want to discuss ideas. I venture a concept. She is a little doubtful about what I mean. I Google for an image and show it to her. Ah! She likes what she sees. Off she goes to play around with it.
That done, the heavy, sodden melancholy descends again. So, I think of another idea. I need not think of it now because the idea has already been decided upon, but still. I need to do it. So I close my eyes and conjure up a sharp mental image. I have the acidic taste of strong coffee in my mouth. I had made a trip to Barista earlier.
In my mind, I see a white limousine. The upholstery is fine leather and in one corner is a thick, brocade pouch. It’s midnight blue with a pattern of a pink peacock in an ice-cube. I love ice-cubes. I think they can be canvasses for some supreme art. Then, on the floor is a sandalwood casket. It’s small and wet. The scent is really sweet but the fragrance is slightly skewed. Inside the casket are coffee beans. They have a piercing smell, but they look soft, like they have been molted over a flame. If you held one with your index finger and thumb, it would leave a stain behind. The coat would get smudged like wet paint. I also wonder if there can be a carpet made of coffee. I wonder how it would feel if you walked on it barefoot.
Anyway, that was the image. Obviously, it cannot be used for the task I was asked to ideate for in the first place. But maybe I could use it in a story. Something deep and dark.
Let’s say there is a family that lives in a suburb. They are happy in a mediocre sort of way. They achieve their goals because they don’t aim hard enough. But one day, the daughter of the house aims high. She wants to find the connection between food and suicide. She figures that you could get a person to commit suicide by preparing eggs and sweet potatoes in a particular way. There are no variables. Suicide doesn’t depend on your medical history, or your family history, etc. You could come from a long line of adversity survivors and you would still commit suicide if you ate this dish. There is something in the way eggs are sourced and sweet potatoes are grown that would alter the brain’s self-preservation instinct. This notion grips her. She studies and researches and goes to bed with a jotty book under her pillow. Every time a thread of thought passes in her head, she jots it down. This way, over several years of carefully cataloguing her insights, she realizes that the dish must be prepared with a particular seasoning – Fitf. So, now she knows that she must find fitf but she doesn’t know where.
She moves to another suburb when she gets married and then yet another one when she gets divorced. Here, she finds fitf. One day, when she has gone swimming in the moonlight, she sees a fluorescent purple weed tangled around her toe. She knows this is it.
So she takes it home and prepares the dish for the very first time. This baked dish of sweet potatoes and herbed eggs with stewed fitf is excellent. The smells waft all around. She is tempted to taste it herself. But if the dish is any good, then she’d have to kill herself after eating it. She needs to have a plan.
And then she thinks of her ex-husband.
She calls him up and asks him over for dinner. To discuss alimony without acrimony. Ex is happy. He loved her a lot but couldn’t keep her entertained. She got bored and she left. Now, he hopes that the call is a guise for reconciliation.
He puts down the receiver and thinks back to the day she left him. She screamed and shouted at him for not being able to keep her back. She said that she was tired of waiting for life to pick up. She flung a magazine at him and said that she wanted him to make her feel like a princess. The mag had a picture of a white limousine with fine leather seats. The couple sitting inside was holding a pouch of brocaded silk and a small casket of some sort. She said she hated him. She walked out.
In the week after she had slammed the door on his face, he kept thinking of her. He kept wondering how he could be decent, loving, placid and yet hurt someone immensely for so long. The picture in the magazine. He could have managed something close to that. They had a car, after all. He could’ve taken her for a drive and bought her a blue pouch if she wanted. But he smarted over the abruptness of the end. There was hope though. She had said that she hated him, didn’t she? There is always hope when you hear that.
Like the time, his mother had said that when he was born. She had held him in her arms and said, ‘I hate you.’ She couldn’t be the dancer she wanted to be because of him. And after hating him, she went on to love and nurture him through thick and thin. And when the time came for her to leave him, she called him and gave him something – something to ensure that he lived a long and healthy life and always got what he wanted. She gave him a pouch with a weed – dried and brown – the kind that would become bulbous and fluorescent purple in water.
He had no need for it now. He just wanted his wife to be happy. He wanted her to have it. On the beach one night, he set it adrift in the sea and childishly hoped that if his love was true, she’d get it.
The cold breeze snaps him out of his reverie. He needs to dress for dinner.
Hmm. Now I only hope that someone with mucho moolah comes across my blog and offers me a script to write. I would do a good job.
No cold breeze here to snap my reverie, so I will get some coffee.