Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Glass Heart

(To know more about this Duet, click here.)

Art by Rukmini Poddar

Art & Words Duet: Day 3

There's a man who takes walks in the morning with a giant red ball of silk sashes. He whistles and smiles at the neighbors who jog by. They don't smile back. When he sits to watch the sunrise, he sits on his anger and pushes it down into the sand. The ball cushions his body, and the vibrating pulse of it keeps him awake and alive, humming and whistling. 

A boy is walking by with his dog, playing a game of fetch with a blue rubber ball. The man waves at the boy with a smile. The boy frowns back and throws the ball for his dog in the opposite direction. A sash of red slips out of the man's mouth like silk smoke, and he catches it from the air like a scarf and stashes it in the pulsating ball he's reclining on. 

The ball begins to rise from the sand, threatening to push the man off of his seat. 

Push it down. Push it down. 

He wrestles with the ball, but that last sash of red seems to have disturbed the balance. The man grits his teeth, sweat drips from his brow. Almost there, the ball seems to be going deeper into the sand. The rising sun over the ocean shines on the man's face and the scene. Some passersby stroll by, staring at the struggle. He gives a strained smile. "Everything is fine," he calls out. People scurry on. 

Control, must control. This ball is almost... almost... under control.

A voice whispers in his mind: Who is controlling who

Suddenly, the pulsating ball of red sashes goes still. The man tentatively gets to his feet. Strange to step away. Before his eyes the sashes unravel and unwind, unravel and unwind, falling out into the sand like a giant lotus flower. 

In the center of the sashes, the opened flower, is a most peculiar object. A glass object. The sun flashes off of the surface and momentarily blinds the man. He shades his eyes and steps forward for a closer look. By now, passersby have gathered in a growing circle, albeit at a distance, their faces betraying their fear, awe, and curiosity. 

The man picks up the glass object, which is surprisingly warm. It's pulsing. He realizes that the pulsing of the entire ball of red sashes came from this object. He holds the object up to the light and sees that it is an exquisitely sculptured glass heart. It has four ventricles, the veins are delicately raised. The glass is translucent and glimmering in the sun. 

The man peers more closely at the heart and sees a fissure running through its very center. He touches the fissure and the heart in his own chest twinges with the pain of a thousand needles. He drops to his knees, surrounded by the red sashes of anger that all come from this fissure in his heart. So much pain. He weeps. The tears fall from his face onto the glass heart and enter into the fissure. The pieces of the heart become one, the fissure vanishes.  

The man holds the heart up to his chest and pushes in until with a jolt, the glass heart enters his body and becomes one with him.   

An ocean breeze suddenly sweeps in and the red sashes pick up and whirl into the sky like a flock of swans. The spectators watch the scene unfold and cheer and cheer. They descend upon the man and embrace him one by one and in groups. 

The man feels a warm rasp of a tongue on his face, and he is greeted by a quivering dog. "Hi there," says a boy. The man is astonished. "I'd like to give you this,"  the boy places the blue rubber ball in the man's hand. 

"Really? For me?" 

"Oh geez, not only for you. It's so that you can play with my dog." 

So the man throws the ball to play.

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