Friday, February 25, 2011

Nana Maria's strange day

Nana Maria knew something was amiss that morning. For one thing, she took a leak standing up. At seventy-four, there just wasn't any reason for her to explore new and challenging vistas in taking a piss, for thrills. Second of all, she said, "Holy Fuck!", when she realized that she was taking a piss standing up. Now, she never said Holy Fuck! There was nothing holy about Fuck - which in her mind, was a thoroughly disgusting act that had to be endured to conduct God's holy decree of making more Catholics. "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth."

So that's how Nana Maria knew that something was amiss. So assured she was about herself, that it didn't even occur to her to be scandalized at herself. You're only scandalized with yourself when you aren't sure about your morals and the ways of your conduct. Which she wasn't. So in Nana Maria's head, this strange turn of events, was exactly that. A turn of events. a sleight of circumstance. It had nothing to do with whim. Something, had altered in the universe. Something vital, like the something vital that had caused other things to behave differently from how they normally would - like the parting of the Red Sea, for instance, or the immaculate conception or the lions uncustomary behavior with the prophet Daniel. The Bible was filled with such events. Manifestations. Yes, Nana Maria believed that this was nothing short of a manifestation. The end of the world had to be near.

Next thing she knew, she was craving for a smoke. Her tongue itched for the coarse taste of tobacco. Oh for one drag, one blissful drag! She felt her lungs heave with want - the distinct pull that twisted your stomach into a knot. The last and only time, she felt like that was before her first child - back when she was still treasured virginal hopes, when she was still in love with her husband, when she was silly. Desire that once, made her clench her insides. Gasping and staggering, like from the impact of a heavy blow. White, hot passion scalding the inner walls of her body. Wasn't she disgusted with herself for that! As penance for such unabashed weakness, she spent the entire afternoon dragging her knees across the cemented floor of the outhouse, one rosary bead after the next. That's how, for the rest of her life, carnal hunger came to be associated with excruciating pain - helping her stick to the narrow path with plenty of success. Until today. Her innards begged for the lusty feel of a cigarette between her lips. Body drawn in, cheeks taut with tension, lungs full, chest caves in and then, like a bow setting an arrow free, the sweet release. Wanton desire tossed inside Nana Maria's body like a ship in a storm while her mind tried its best to rein in this rogue, but potentially catastrophic, situation. Nana Maria had to get to the church before this demon, that seemed to have possessed her, cost her soul.

So to the church she fled, while litanies followed one after the other like ants on parade. Inside her, the craving grew spherical and physical in certainty, till it was heavy as a cold, massive, marble in her stomach. The devil touched the small of her back with icy fingers. Shivers and goose pimples. Bringing to life the huge, cold marble inside her. Unmentionable, involuntary responses from her body. Slowly it uncoiled its serpentine being, till it stretched along the length of her spine. She was certain that her desire was right there in plain sight - there for all to see. On her face, on the surface of her skin, between her nails. The dogs could smell it on her. It attracted flies like an open ripe fruit would.And it made her skin peel with the ignominy. Fear of being judged turned her face a sickly shade of green. Bile in her mouth. The midday sun turned the folds of her skin moist and sweet with sweat. And inside her, her heart skipped beats like a clumsy awkward dancer. She stumbled blindly into the somber half-darkness of the chapel.

The smell of burning candles gave her the comfort of being in one's own turf. Fervently making the sign of the cross, she hoped being in God's house would help quell that unholy feeling that still grew inside her. And yet, the need for a drag jostled in her head among the joyful, sorrowful, luminous and glorious mysteries, like a fat person in a crowded bus. Thankful for the darkness, she cringed with the ache that nearly throbbed inside. Hot. Wet. Alive. And, then, he walked in.

All of twenty-four, lithe, cherub curls and coral ears. Beautiful. Nana Maria took in Brother Peter's beatific countenance with the raptures of an epiphany. His hands, his hair, his mouth, his neck where it disappeared into the collar of his cassock, his ears. This is what it was like to be a dirty, old woman. "I'm a dirty old woman, that's what I am. A filthy hag." Nana Maria blushed for the first time in forty five years. "What's happening to me?"
There was no way Nana Maria would know, or believe even if she did, that her psyche, weary from feeling nothing, had swapped half of itself with that of her husband's. She had no idea that inside her, a mutated androgynous entity had taken form. Nor did she know that her husband at that very moment, was feeling terrible repentance for the very first time, after leching at young Cynthia's tits a million times before, and was as confused as a pygmy in the city about it. "Why suddenly? What happened? Such a sin to God - she's but a child!" All Nana Maria knew was that something was amiss!

2 comments:

anoopa said...

I really really like this one!

MissAnnThrope said...

thank you so much anoopa :D