Updated: Jun 3, 2021
By Ranudi Gunawardena | Sri Lanka
August 26th 1998
He hasn’t come to The Hut for six days now, almost for a full week. Last day I saw him, he told me he was sorry for my loss, before turning away and leaving the bar. A cool gust of wind swept over the bar as he opened the door and stepped outside. I stood there motionless for a few minutes, in the cold with my arms crossed over my bosom, full of sighs before climbing the stairs to the stage again and gripping the microphone in my hands.
He didn’t offer to give me a lift that night but watched me get into a taxi at two o’clock in the morning sitting in his shiny Mercedes-Benz. He had the shutter rolled down, his eyes gazing far away at a distant dimension. I had the feeling he was tired of me, that he saw through me – who I had become, what I had become. There was shame crying in my heart as I sat in the moving taxi, scared to look at him yet longing to look at him. That same shame encompasses me still, wrapping my mind in a thick blanket of grief.
I stare at my bare ring finger for a whole of ten minutes, remarking to myself how empty and thin it looks without my wedding band glistening on it. My skin, which lay protected from the cruelties of the harsh sun beneath the ring, is ivory in shade when compared to the rest of my sun-kissed body complexion. “Vinuk is in the past, he’s gone” I repeat for the hundredth time, hoping that maybe, maybe this time my stubborn heart would stop acting with such arrogance, leaving my words unmarked. “Vinuk is the past, Hassan is the future-he loves you, he will take care of you”,my voice sounds strange in my ears, it reminds me of a helpless creature from a movie I once watched, who elopes with a rich man jsut so she could enjoy a lavish lifestyle of grace and luxury.
I look around me, the broken shelves of the little cupboard, the unmade bed, the walls with fading paint, the little room I rent for myself to keep away from the memories of Vinuk and the love we once shared. “No, my child. You will have a better life. You will be a stranger to pain.” I lift my oversized shirt up and place my hand upon my pregnant belly. After a long time, I feel warm.
I put the ring in a little jewellery box and place it in a drawer. Then I pick up my little mirror from the dusty table and hold it in front of me, trying to recognize the woman I see in the reflection – she has messy hair and pasty skin, but most unattractive of all, a fake smile on her lips.
“His Angel” is a seven-chapter story. Click here to read Chapter 3.
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