Dusk

By- Padmini Baruah.

“The pinpoints may have begun lighting the inky twilight sky; I have no way of finding out. Only days are my escape. Sunlight – pure, unadulterated; sometimes streaked with orange, sometimes covered with dirty gray blotches of cloud.  – is what I am free to perceive. You who look at me with disdain, perhaps at yourself with contempt: try not to whisper false nothings about the moon and the stars into my ears. Such words mean nothing to me. Dusk can only mean to me but one idea, one concept, one facet of life.”

“You, who are turning away, discomfited, look back at me. For is that not why you are here tonight? Is that not why you have poured lies into the heart of the woman who loves you? Is it not the reason why you wear insatiable lust on your face? Your morbid fantasies have proven too much for you. You need your outlet. You are here tonight, showering my world with those innocuous bits of paper. “Money is the root of all evil”, they say. I look at you, my client, and I realize exactly what they mean.”

“And now I can see fury paw its way into your mind. She dares speak to me thus! The words are written across your miserable self. You, who know nothing about love, have paid to come here tonight, hoping that I – a soul unknown to you, someone whom people talk about in hushed-awed tones, rumored to be so ‘skilled’ that men beg for her favours – will be able to teach you love. Despise yourself, my friend. Despise yourself for not understanding that love is a verb, a state of being, a sublime transcendence of mortal reality. Despise yourself for seeking hideous mockery as a substitute. “

WHORE! You scream. I laugh. I laugh like never before. Oh, the irony! The irony. Whore I am, for selling my body to cretin, night after night. True. With the dawn of dusk, one after the other, men make their way into me. For a few pieces of silver, I offer unto them that which they beseech; yet, somehow, never has even one man ever felt any sense of satisfaction or attainment. You, who are now watching me so warily, take note – you can only ever touch my body. You can do whatever you like with this fleeting, ethereal body of mine. Break every piece of me if you that give you pleasure. Tie me up and slice me into ribbons if that is what you prefer. But know this: my spirit is my own. There is no mortal power that will ever reach such heights. And so, my friend, I am far above you. For I merely put up for hire my carcass, but you have already sold your soul. You call me a whore, a hooker, a prostitute. I wonder what you call yourself. Ask yourself, if you dare.”

The curtains flutter, and I turn to look at the moon. It leers at me, in a thin, sickle-shaped smile. When I turn back, I see him walking out. I turn back to the moon, and my manic laughter echoes all the way to the sky.

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