Thursday, November 15, 2012
The Taj Conspiracy Flash Fiction Contest
I could never forget the whisper of the scarlet silk when it fell from her shoulders. It would slide down in a graceful arc, loathe to part with the elegant line of her back. I would follow the curve of her spine with my finger. A tattoo of a lotus in bloom marred the turn of her shoulder and I was glad for it, because it meant she wasn’t perfect, ethereal but importantly, she was here, she was mine. Our days would be filled with art and poetry. She wrote impassioned, if not mediocre verses on the injustice of the world and I painted landscapes that would be hung up as impersonal sentinels of hotel hallways. She would recite from the Les Fleurs du Mal and talk in a rhetoric that inflamed and instigated. I was certain that I could change the world with her. Three years after we first met, we went to Taj Mahal. She breathed in the tangy odour of the summer air, chafed and burned and complained about the world. I talked about the history and the polity of India, but nothing worked. At the bottom of the world’s most majestic monument to love, she left me with eyes full of sorrow and tears trickling down the curve of her cheek. The tall, marble domes looked down with indifferent regard as I broke down and cried. I was haunted by a sense of inability to attain the artistic merits she aspired to.The world became a bleak place and the fumes of opium funded dreams of apocalypse in the nights. She had bound me to her in ways more mysterious than love and I would wake up, sweating, dreaming of arched necks and flashing eyes. She wasn’t mine, but she was there in the world and I lived because of it. And I would visit Taj years after she left me on those steps. It consumed my desires. I burned the oil night after night, searching what went wrong only to end up in the same place, looking in vain for the tears she shed.