Friday, August 14, 2009
Aim (Part 2 of 2)
She burned herself on the handle of the teakettle. Her mistake. She shouldn't have let the handle fall into the heat.
She poured fast, but the burn still set in. She pressed her palm against her stomach and let the pain fade.
He didn't speak. He hadn't spoken since he stomped his feet at the door and brushed the dust from his clothes. She glanced at him across the table, but his eyes hid behind thick eyebrows, downcast. He contemplated his hands. Or the olive wood pocked from three generations of meals.
The ceramic lid of the honey jar clanked. A thick ribbon of orange folded into the steamy cup.
A splash of milk. Almost too little to taste.
Milk soured his stomach.
She set the cardamom tea near his hands and took away the empty cup. She changed her mind. She didn't want any for herself.
"Will you sit with me?" he said, voice quiet. Not the usual ice. Not the usual deception and walls of the insurgency.
No explanation. Just the ghost of something in his voice.
Her fingers worked into the fabric of her dress. Nervous.
"Will you have some tea?" he said.
She looked into eyes now meeting hers. Unaccustomed, she quickly gazed down.
She flinched at the sound like a hollow slap.
Someone slashed a knife pain across her shoulder and hurled water in her face.
Her hand snapped to the pain, and she choked out a cry.
Why did he throw the tea at her?
Why did he throw the cup?
But the room floated in pink mist, and the tea didn't scald her. The liquid felt felt warm. Like a thick, salty bath. Red snaked down the fabric of her dress.
Terrified of his rage, her eyes shot up.
But she didn't recognize the thing she sat with.
It clenched its left hand on the table next to spilled tea. Its right hand perched on a leg, as if to lean and speak.
A pulse of red sprayed up the walls from a chin and a jaw. Nothing more.
As his body tension eased, the hands slipped from the leg, slipped from the table top, and her husband melted down and took his repose on the floor.
She opened her mouth, but the scream came from far away.
Beyond the ragged hole in the wall where the bullet continued on.
Somewhere in the bustling street beyond.
(Go back Part 1.)