Friday, 6 July 2012

smoked cigarettes

Staring into the eyes of the little girl in front of her, she was abruptly pushed back into her own childhood where these eyes belonged to her; full of fear and loneliness, craving attention and love. 

She stood at her bedroom door staring down into the hall of the great big mansion. The mansion, even though her home scared her; it was too big and too delicate, the opposite of a cozy home. She looked down on to the open hall her eyes skimming through all the people who looked similar to each other till her eyes landed on the one person she wanted to see. There were a lot of people surrounding her but she was nothing like any of them. There was a striking aura around that particular person that captivated the young child. Her eyes followed the figure careful not to lose it, she knew she'd loose her with just one blink and her eyes were already drowsy from sleep. The swollen bloodshot eyes that dominated the pale little face darted from figure to figure as she lost her mother in the party crowd. It was then that she realized the smoke from all the cigarettes and cigars was getting to thick, irritating her eyes and throat. Turning her tiny self away from the body she coughed and went inside, closing the door shut behind her, she opened her window and sat on it, wiping away her watery eyes and looking up into the dark sky she said a little prayer like every day and then called her dear old nanny.
'Would you call mama to come and kiss me good night?' she asked.
'I am afraid she's busy my dear!' the nanny replied gently.
'But won't you try, please?'
'I shall' she said although knowing that the mother won't come and the poor child would drift to sleep waiting.
It's late, very late, and almost time for dawn but she's awake sitting on the big arm chair gazing at her mother as if she was a diamond encrusted statue. Her mother though is unaware of her presence as she lies on the couch with eyes closed, smoking a cigarette. The little child doesn’t go near her mother afraid she'll push her into the table like the other day. She loves her but she wants her mother's love. She needs it. She looks at the carpet scattered with ash and ash-tray filled with cigarette butts. Her fearful eyes follow her mother's figure as it gets up and walks away leaving her behind alone. The poor child shudders at the hate she feels wafting at her!  She brings her knees up to her chest and rests her chin on them, letting her tears paint her cheek wet. 
Time has passed now but the scene is more or less identical. The endless promises she made to herself to not become like her mother have proved futile. She is the same as her mother, hateful, selfish and torn.  And the dear little child with exactly her eyes is her daughter, who even now sits before her with glassy pained eyes and rosy cheeks staring at her smoking a cigarette, very much like herself at a very distant time. It's another generation yet much the same. She has been ignoring the innocence of that child's face and she will be the one to make her like herself. As if hit by a revelation, she suddenly drops her half smoked cigarette that burns right through her beautiful sheer silk wrap that is lying on the floor and her white plush rug, normally she would have not let this go, even if her own fault, but right now it goes unnoticed.  The room is dark and dotted with candles, like every day. Light seem to burn her eyes so she lights candles in the whole house. In the dim light from the candles she can see as the tears slip past the six year old child's eyes. Involuntarily she, herself gets up and stands before her daughter, reaching out and grabbing her hand; holding on tight she gently wipes the tears  with her free hand and drags her along, walking the whole house with her. Blowing gently on the candles and saving that which should be saved, not just a candle, but an innocence for generations.


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