Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Orphan

Spending nights on an empty stomach had become a habit to Pearl. She had been going through the same drill ever since she had joined the organization. She never complained. She just maintained her unwavering candle-like silence. Selfless, nonchalant and unassuming; but deafening nevertheless to the open mind.

The peon had switched off the lights. Darkness. Only dots of light on monitors fought on. They blinked like fireflies that could not fly. Probably they wanted to. But even if they did, they never told her. Nobody told her anything. Not even a word of appreciation. Not even a gesture of gratitude. Nothing. It was not as if she was unwilling to share her frustration or her dreams. But no one bothered.

The familiar sound of the creaking glass door was unmistakable. The peon was leaving. She let out a subtle sigh – one audible only to those blessed with that fast vanishing emotion called empathy. Like everyone and everything else, he’d also left without acknowledgement. It was one of those rare moments when she felt the urge to stray; to let go of her noble principles. Why serve such people, with utmost commitment and receive indifference in return. But why? It was probably something in her genes. Some sort of karma. Something she could do nothing about. She sighed again. The same old sigh.

As loneliness slowly overpowered her cynicism, she began to feel better. Her gaze slowly turned towards herself. She could see her reflection on the glass pane of the nearby cubicle. She looked at her sturdy frame. It was not completely devoid of beauty. It was firm. Though not as shapely as some of the new entrants in the office, she still had a thing or two left in her. The neat white cap, her only accessory, still reminded her of her glory days.

She was not the only new entrant on the day. But she was different. She was trendy and classy. As she treaded down the corridor, there were quite a few eyes on her. She had loved most of the attention. But a part of it, planted a fear in her mind. Those eyes green with envy. The ones that knew she was there to take their place. The realist in her realised that one day those eyes would be hers. But the optimist decided to enjoy the glory of the moment. An attractive young man who took more than a fancy towards her, decided to make her his. And as he carried her in his arms, she felt fulfilled; and wanted. And she felt all that beyond those eyes that had turned greener.

Sadeep, her new patron, was a tall, lean man. He was also her first. Beads of nervousness trickled down her spine as he approached her. As it turned out, he was also gentle. He treated her with utmost care and possessiveness. He would not let anyone else near her. She felt safe with him near her. They ate together. They went out for a smoke together. There were even times when they went home together. She loved his home. Home. It was a new world to her. Confined in the insides of giant walls since birth, the office was the only glimpse of the outside world she’d had. Home, with its warmth and peaceful, but not-so-lonely nights, was a perfect getaway. She loved Sadeep for taking her there, and opening a new dimension to her. And in return to all he gave her, she quenched his thirst, through day and night.

Sadeep did not come in the next day. Might have fallen sick, she thought. She could hear whispers. Jealous bitches, she uttered under her breath. But as the whispers in the office remained whispers no more, she realised with a shock that it was sympathy, and not jealousy. Sadeep had left the job. Her formless heart broke into a million formless pieces. She felt pain – in an inexplicably excruciating way. She later realised that it was her heart breaking. But at that time, it was new. It felt as if her virgin innocence had ruptured. The peon had left her by her patron’s desk. She was full and brimming as she waited for him. All for nothing. Then, it began to sink in. The same damned feeling. Déjà vu. Again. Without a word. She looked around. She felt like an orphaned zombie as she sat on his desk. And then, she noticed. Those eyes; they were not green anymore.


usha said...

you should be doing more posts in this genre, i say! pretty neat!

Ms Cris said...

blinking...blinking more...
What was that all about?

Maya Reiss said...

nice :)