The monsoons have arrived late this year. The faint blue of the summer sky is receding fast under the onslaught of dark ominous clouds. An expectant silence prevails, only to be shattered by occasional gusts of tear-drenched winds driving the trees in the garden wild. It is with a deep sense of satisfaction that I look around my room, with its walls papered the colour of spring morning skies, the mahogany table before the wide French windows smiling down upon the neatly trimmed lawns below. A month from now, will my beautiful home remain? With a certain fear in my eyes, I behold the piece of paper in my hand — a letter. It threatens to replace my vivid dreams with an inescapable darkness. In the next room, my husband is preparing for a business-trip. I hear him drag his suitcase onto the hallway, stopping for a moment at my door. With the same old smile plastered on his face, he comes over to offer a peck on my cheeks. Shutting my eyes tight, I savour every fraction of this moment. “This may, as well, be the last time,” I realise , handing over the letter .
“I’ll be back the day after tomorrow,” he assures me. With a nod , I reply, “See you soon.”
The door shuts behind him. I hear my husband drive away.
The dark monsoon clouds have invaded the horizon- any moment now, it’ll start pouring.
How I pine for the dreamy blue of early spring! Will these dark clouds ever disperse?
In a corner of the town I grew up in, was a small bookshop, run single-handedly by an old gentleman. The books bore the musty fragrance of a long life, its yellowing pages thumbed at the edges by some unknown reader. The lonely gentlemen would speak to the books everyday, as he restored a loose leaflet to its rightful place. He’d serve the best coffee in the world and had a never-ending collection of stories from centuries past. It was inevitable that an ardent reader would somehow sniff out this humble non-descript bookshop . It was here that I met Agnimitra one rainy afternoon like today’s. We bonded over a cup of coffee and the magic realism of “A Hundred Years of Solitude”, as our aged host rambled away in the background. Over the months, our bond strengthened. A year back, we tied the knot.
A few months into our happy marriage, on our trip to Darjeeling, it first came to light . We sat in the deserted Mall late in the evening, his arms enveloping me. The distant peaks glimmered in the moonlight with an ethereal majesty. His soft whispers were nothing but an integral part of the silent night, as he asked, “Samaira, don’t you love me?” He tried in vain to hide his pain at our growing separation over the days. I squeezed his arm tighter than ever. The silent night, the silhouette of the Himalayas in the distance seemed a gentle dream- a dream that brought to light a terrible secret I wasn’t even aware of. That was the day I decided to begin my letter to him. My love is not the tumultuous outburst of suppressed passions the moment our lips touch or a strong current of bliss through my veins. It is, rather, the gentle blue of the morning skies, that of the small waves tickling our toes without sweeping us off our feet. He deserves to know this.
“What’s up, little-one?” she asks. I pause for a moment to take in the aroma of warm coffee and the bright lights of the café .
“I told you over phone, Didi,” I reply.
My elder-sister is a free-spirited creature- you can see that in her eyes.
“Come on, it’s just a phase, little-one.”
“No phase lasts a year, Di.”
The smile fades from her lips.
“Are you sure?” she asks.
“I’m. I love him the way I love you, Mom-Dad.”
I feel her eyes on me-sharp as a butcher’s knife.
“Ridiculous- are you asexual?”
“I think so.”
“ Have you informed him?”
“He returns tomorrow. Is it illegal, Di?”
“ Maybe. It falls within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Do get over it.”
My sister- my sole confidante through the turbulent years of adolescence was a free-spirited creature-a colourful butterfly. My confession, however, has painted her wings the colour of a moonless night. She is a moth now, shying away from light. Maybe, she always was. I just didn’t notice.
It seems only natural to break this malicious silence with a cheerful goodbye . All my frenzied anticipations over the past few days, have intensified into an eerie calmness. Is blood indeed thicker than water? Tomorrow, I’ll have an answer.
The headlines flash across the television-screens, “Supreme Court strikes down ban on gay rights”. So, they have granted me permission to live, twenty-five years since my birth. Along the lanes below, a group of youngsters walk , a riot of colours on their proud banners. They have a flag for me, in black, white and the regal purple*. Somehow, they have missed the milder shade of blue- the colour that represents my unique love#. Amidst its dazzling peers, my heart pines for the missing blue.
My reverie is interrupted by a well-known voice, “Samaira, I’m home!”. He stands on the doorway, a mysterious smile playing on his lips, a gift wrapped in blue in his hands. Gently, I unwrap the treasure . There it lies, in the glory of my new-found freedom, a diary wrapped in the colour of my love- the missing blue. With a squeal of joy, I rush into his open arms.
“I wish they’d put a little blue in our flag!” I complain.
“But , it’s there, all over the skies!”
He’s right. Up there, patches of white float about in an ocean of blue- that , I decide, is our life.
Author’s Note: 1. *
This is the flag the author is referring to. Other flags may exist but this , according to Wikipedia, is the primary symbol of asexuality.
2. #Not all flags have the missing blue, but many do.
3.Light blue is not the symbol of asexuality. The protagonist , however, feels that’s a colour representing her experience (or her love ) as an asexual person.
4. This is just to clarify that an asexual person isn’t necessarily aromantic. He/she isn’t necessarily averse to affection (like , holding hands , or cuddling).
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