By Bhaswati Ghosh
“Coffee?” He exclaimed, without waiting for my reply, then jived his way to the kitchen, a song on his lips. I smiled. The rugged terrain and the daily dance of death had failed to harden him.
I finished the painting with a smudge of blue. He joined me, holding his drink. For an infantryman fighting seven thousand miles away, a four-day trip back home was luxury.
After discussing his health, the kitties, and the weather, I told him about the divorce and Mark remarrying. Was he upset for being kept in the dark? His lips clipped with unsaid words. Was it the heat when he yelped at gulping a large sip of coffee?
Caffeine over, he was back to his ebullient self. “Let’s see how the masterpiece looks.” He placed the canvas on the wall. “I’m gonna steal this one once I start living on my own. Make sure you sign it.”
“It’s yours,” I said with a weak grin.
“Well, aren’t you a sweetheart?” He hugged me.
Then, he gave me the gift; two beautiful crystal lights. He positioned them at the ends of the chest, just below the painting.
Three days later, a day before his nineteenth birthday, I received his death notice. Today, he would have been twenty.
I stepped into the room that had remained unlit for a year. I turned on the two lights and glanced at the painting.
“May the light shine for you, my son,” I whispered, before a lump blocked my throat.
[Bhaswati Ghosh is a freelance writer, living in New Delhi, India. Her work has appeared in electronic zines such as Chowk (www.chowk.com), Runes Magazine (www.runesmag.com), Seven Seas (www.sevenseasmagazine.com), and in the newsletter of the online writing forum, Writers4Writers (www.writers4writers.com). She has also been published in Teenage Buzz, a U.S. publication. Her debut book, Making Out in America is slated for release in 2006. The book is a humorous, anecdotal account of the author’s experiences with American slang and colloquialisms as an outsider. Bhaswati’s other interests include singing, cooking, and traveling. Visit her by clicking the link above.]