The lights were turned off, and they retired to the comfort of darkness-pure darkness, which mitigates awareness, vanquishes all inhibitions and impairs the senses. However, the sense of touch prevailed, annihilating the self and linking the bodies. His inquisitive lips explored the places of her body; all familiar places visited again in a unique and unprecedented manner. Each kiss has its own story to tell; in its own language at each zones-that of urgency at the lips, tenderness at the neck, reverence at the bosom, coyness at the navel, guilt at the groin and aloofness at the foot. Being a man of routine, he stuck to his own methods, not wanting to malign the sanctity of the ceremony with futile derogations. He persevered in his act, with a sort of stoic dedication, undergoing familiar feelings. She did not seem to mind. Though the process was predictable, the outcome was unique each time, and was not marred by tedium. It stirred up novel sensations within her; induced new feelings. One may light a matchstick the same way always; but the course of the flame would be unique each time. Thus, he set her body aflame and opened the gates of unseen paradises of pleasure to her. Therein lay his craft-in creating novelty out of routine.
He nibbled her earlobes. She swerved her head, unable to bear the tickle. The whirr of the ceiling fan was the only thing disturbing the holy silence of the room. The curtains of the window swayed frantically in the nocturnal breeze, thereby letting the moonlight to encroach upon the domain of darkness. They could faintly see the contours of each other’s body in the intermittent ingress of moonlight. He caressed her shoulders gently. The brownness of her arm was glowing in the moonlight. He looked at it keenly. He found it intriguing. Its charm had escaped his scrutiny until then. There was a mole on her upper arm, about two inches above her elbow, floating like a black pearl in a sea of brown. It looked very familiar, though he was seeing it for the first time. It was like a reminder of his past; of his idyllic days of childhood. He kissed it with devotion. He held her upper arm and rested his head there. His lips tried to pluck the mole out of her. He felt something new. No; not new exactly. The feelings of his distant past, which had sunk into the abyss of oblivion, were being salvaged. His childhood was beckoned upon again. That sense of security a child feels inside his mother’s womb, that feeling of comfort a child feels when he is drawing milk out of his mother’s warm breasts-he was experiencing those feelings again. He felt that his quest had reached completion. He held her arm tightly. It was a shore of solace for him. He felt immense love for her; for the first time. What was it until then? Maybe raw lust masqueraded as love; or a relationship founded upon pretensions and half-truths, which witnessed frequent bare acts of bodies but not of minds. But then his mind was surging with a newfound love which was pure and innocent; which did not seek to possess or to control; which did not demand reciprocation or loyalty. He looked into her eyes and said with utmost sincerity. “I love you”.
She looked at him with astonishment. “Will you…will you say it again?”
“I love you.” He whispered into her ears. As his breath entered through her ears and got registered in her mind, she felt that she had been transformed to a new person; that she was not a mere body in his life, but was someone wanted, someone desired and loved- this understanding made her proud and happy. She expressed it with a peck on his cheek. She could sense genuineness and some sort of intensity in his words.
He reverted to his pose. He wrapped her upper arm with both his arms and lay on the bed in the foetal position. His face was resting on her arm. His eyes were closed. A sense of tranquil was very palpable on his face. She looked at him lovingly; keenly observed the feminine features of his round, cherubic face. His thin angular eyebrows, long nose which could be termed as aquiline, pale yellow skin which turned crimson red on excitement and fleshy lips-these would have looked gorgeous on a woman’s face. Traces of innocence and sensuality flashed across it. It was his bushy moustache, which rendered some semblance of masculinity to his tender face. But she disgusted the way it bristled against her mouth whenever he kissed her. On her insistence, he shaved it off. She ran her fingers over the thin stubble on his upper lip. She could sense his breath, his warm moist breath on her fingers. He seemed like a little vulnerable boy to her, who was seeking comfort in his mother’s body. She too felt immense love for him.
Her arm was aching from the weight of his head. She tried to pull it away. He moaned in protest. “Please dear, let me lie like this for some time. It’s very soothing.”
She chuckled. “What’s the matter with you? You are behaving quite strange today.” She said, alluding to his deviations from his usual acts.
“Well, I made a discovery today. That I love you.” He mumbled.
“Today? So what was it till now?”
“I don’t know. Anyhow, it is a fact now. I love you. Don’t care about the past.”
She smiled. Her mind was pulsating with great joy.
“You’ve really made me happy today.”
“You too have made me really happy. Your arm, it is…it is so marvellous. Holding it feels like heaven. I wonder, how could I not notice its charm before. You know what. When I was a young boy, I used to sleep holding my mother’s arm like this. It was so comforting. All my worries, all my fears would be banished by that touch. She also had a mole like this. A bigger mole in fact. And, of course, more beautiful too. I used to think that it was some kind of burn caused by my father, and often tried to bite it off, which made her laugh crazily. It was some sort of an ambiguous laugh. It was ecstatic and poignant. I don’t know if she was doing it of happiness or pain. But I loved her seeing laugh like that. I still miss her.”
He sat up on the bed and lit a cigarette. The pungent odour of burning tobacco filled the room. She watched the red dot between his fingers moving close to his lips, getting bright for a while and moving downwards. Fumes emitted out of his nostrils, giving him a fleeting resemblance to a baby elephant with fine ivories. He had assumed a reflective pose.
She climbed up his shoulders and placed her head on it.
“Hey, go on.”
He turned to her with raised eyebrows.
“You were taking about your mother. Tell me more.”
He shook his head.
“You haven’t told me anything about your parents. I want to know about them. Please tell me.” She said toying with his chest hair.
“Because, I don’t have much to say. What can I say about my mother? I don’t know much about her. She was gone when I was young. She died. I must have been about four or five then. I don’t know how. Some say she had some illness. Some say she killed herself. Some say my father killed her. I don’t know. I just remember that I used to sleep holding her arm and kissing her mole. That’s my only concrete memory of her.”
He threw the cigarette into the ashtray and continued. “My father, he was a devil. Bloody drunkard! He used to come home drunk and used to beat and abuse my mother. He treated her like dirt. I’ve often seen the markings of his leather belt on my mother’s slender arms. I would caress and kiss it, seeking to relieve her pain. She would sob. She would also smile. Both sorrow and joy could be gauged from her face. I loved her. I still love her. Despite the passage of years, I haven’t completely come to terms with her loss.
I never liked my father. He too never cared for me. After my mother’s death, matters got worse. He was drunk all the time. He used to bring home all sorts of nasty women. He’d no remorse or grief at his wife’s death. On the contrary, it was like a good riddance for him. It was sickening.
After a while, he got tired of me and packed me off to a boarding school. I used to meet him only once or twice in a year. That too was very unbearable. Time could not heal my wounds. My mind was always simmering with anger at him. When I was a teenager, I used to harbour thoughts of killing him. I know it’s quite revolting. The thought of killing one’s own father, thoughts of parricide- there can be nothing more reprehensible than it. But such was my hatred towards him; towards that wretched man who robbed me of mother’s love and care.
Anyway, some years back, he died. He was having his usual nocturnal drunk stroll. Some vehicle knocked him down. He died on the road; like a stray dog. A befitting death! My faith in cosmic justice was, thus, reaffirmed. “
“Hey, stop. You are getting very morbid. Don’t speak ill of him. After all he was you father.”
“Father! I don’t have anything good to say about that beast.”
She was shocked at his vitriolic outburst. Silence prevailed there for a while.
“Was your mother beautiful?” She asked, breaking the uneasy silence.
“Yes. Very much. The most beautiful woman according to me. People say that I’ve inherited her features I’m like a male replica of her.”
“Was she more beautiful than me?”
“Why? Are you getting jealous of her?” He smiled.
“No. I’m just asking.”
He took her arm in his hands. “Your arm, it’s exactly like that of my mother; smooth and tender. And also with this beauty spot.” He pinched her mole. “On seeing this, I fell in love with you. Can I tell you something?”
“I’ll marry you.”
She was perplexed. “Are you serious?”
“Can I trust you?”
“I know why you are asking me this. I know that I’ve a notoriety which precedes me. People gossip that I’m a womanizer or a bed-hopper and all.”
“Even I’ve heard that you are quite a ladies’ man.”
“See, I can clarify. It’s just that I’m more comfortable in the company of women. Men, all of them are like my father- drunkards, hypocrites and perverts. They disgust me with their rancid jokes, drunken antics and superficial discussions on politics and business and sports and whatever. I’m a misfit among them. In fact, I’m scared of them; of their boorish nature and double-talk. However, women, they give me a sense of security. And those losers, jealous of my numerous female connections, spread rumours that I’m a womanizer. “
“I think you are making sweeping generalizations about men.”
“Maybe. But that has been my experience.”
“So, have you not loved any other women before?”
“Well…I admit that I’ve had relationships with certain women in past. But I don’t know if it was love or not. I’ve never felt like losing myself to any other woman before. Whatever feelings I had, they were not sincere. They were contrived. After a while, I would feel disgusted at my own pretensions and would put an end to the charade. Perhaps, I must have been looking for my mother’s tenderness in them, and on not finding it must have assumed those pretensions.”
“What about me then?”
“I love you. Sincerely”
“Just because you like holding my arm and I’ve got a mole like your mother?”
“I don’t know. But the comfort which I used to feel at my mother’s presence, I’m feeling it now with you. I want this to remain a part of my life. I don’t want to lose it. Please trust me. I love you. I don’t know to express it in any other mode or words. I won’t leave you.”
His words made her joyful. She hugged him. They reclined on the bed.
“Will you bear me a child?” He asked.
“So early? Maybe at the appropriate time.” She replied bashfully.
“I need a girl, who would inherit all my facial features. She should be in the image of my mother.”
She laughed. “How can I ensure that? What if she inherits my features? It all depends on the permutation and combinations of the chromosomes, right?”
“I would not mind if she gets that mole of yours on her upper arm.”
She laughed out again. “What is this? Some kind of recipe for child making? A bit of this, a bit of that….You are really weird.”
“I know it will happen so. I’m sure. I’ve faith in cosmic justice.”
“Damn your cosmic justice!”
Thus, they continued their playful banter. Then they made love to each other, like never before and their souls experienced inexplicable joy.
22°C- the electronic display of the air conditioner blinked in the dimly lit room. Even that moderate temperature was too chilly for her. She hid her bare body in the comfort of the blanket. The door of the bathroom clicked, and she saw him coming out of it with a smile dangling on his lips-an ugly smile; a hungry smile. His eyes were twinkling. Within no time, he dived into the blanket. He pulled her face towards him. Her round cherubic face, with its thin angular eyebrows, long nose which could be termed as aquiline, pale yellow skin which turned crimson red on excitement and red fleshy lips which always invited a kiss, looked very gorgeous. Traces of innocence and sensuality flashed across it. He kissed her lips. He forced her to open her mouth. But she kept them sealed. Kisses and touches- they held no meaning to her. The rhetoric about the merger of bodies being symbolic of merger of minds seemed the most senseless proposition to her. They were nothing but exercises of restless bodies, which gave everyone the delusion of pleasure and contentment.
He got down from the bed and started to undress himself impatiently. She looked at him with disgust. Within her young age, she had known many men. All seemed the same to her. Once they are stripped off their pretensions of civility and layers of sophistication, all of them are unidimensional creatures driven by lust whose vision had been blindfolded with passion. What was love? What was affection? She didn’t know. All her life, she’d been searching for it. She was aware of her beauty which enchanted a lot of stupid men. However, their love stopped where her beauty ended. Had she not been suffering from the burden of beauty, she would have received true love.
He pounced upon her and ploughed her body like a wild boar. She submitted herself to his lust, with a sort of stoic detachment. For a while, they experienced a sort of numb pleasure. Just then, something unprecedented happened, when he decided to impart some tenderness to his rough act. He took her arm in his hands. The brownness of her arm was glowing in the dim light. He looked at it keenly. He found it intriguing. Its charm had escaped his scrutiny until then. There was a mole on her upper arm, about two inches above her elbow, floating like a black pearl in a sea of brown. He held her arm tightly and kissed her mole.
She experienced a new kind of pleasure. It was not like the mindless pleasure which physical acts gave. It was something soulful. She was revisiting the idyllic days of her childhood. That feeling of comfort a child feels while sleeping on father’s shoulders; that sense of security a child feels while taking the first steps holding father’s hands- she was experiencing them again.
“Kiss me again. There.” She told him as he was about to withdraw.
“You like it?”
“Yes” She sighed.
He kissed her again. He looked at her. Her eyes had welled up.
“Hey, you are crying? What’s the matter?”
She shook her head. She placed her hands on his cheeks and blurted out. “I love you.” That was something spontaneous; right from the depths of her heart. She had mumbled it out with utmost genuineness and intensity. Her mind was pulsating with immense love for him.
“I love you too.” He replied.
Waves of passion lashed against the shores of her soul.
“Make love to me.” She said.
He smiled obligingly. She ushered him in. As he was complying with her wish, thoughts of her past regurgitated within her.
“The custody of a young girl cannot be entrusted to man who is knows for his erratic behaviour, chronic alcoholism and questionable morals”. This was the decree of the family court. She must have been around five or six then. The dejected expression her father wore on his face after hearing the judgement was still fresh in her mind. He was granted with weekly visitation rights. Whenever he visited her, he used to kiss her on her arm, and on the mole above her elbow. That was his peculiar mode of expression of love. She was used to it right from very young age. She liked him doing that. It made her feel happy and secure.
After a while, he stopped visiting her. He was unheard of for some time. Then one day she came to know that he had died. Out of sheer depression, he killed himself. She remembered the way his body was lying in the coffin without life. She placed her arm on his frigid, frozen lips. The last kiss- a cold, lifeless kiss.
She recalled that he was very handsome, though his soft features made him look feminine. She was moulded in his image. She knew that she was a female replica of her father.
Her mother never spoke anything ill of her father. Once she asked about the reasons for their separation.
“He didn’t love me.” That was what she’d said.
But she wasn’t convinced with that reply. On persisting, she was given a vague and abstract explanation.
“He couldn’t accept me as myself. He was seeing someone else in me. I could not cater to the image which he’d formed about me. I couldn’t pretend as someone else.” She didn’t understand what that meant. Anyway, the matter was not discussed again.
Her nerves were carrying the signals of pleasure to her mind. Thoughts were dying. They were driven out by the smoky haze of ecstasy. Mind was numbed and soul was annihilated, for a while.
Completely drained, he lay beside her, caressing her navel. She looked into his eyes with deep love.
“Will you marry me?” She asked.
He looked at her with astonishment.
“You are talking about marriage? I’m really surprised. Haven’t you told me before that you didn’t want to marry anyone, after all that had happened with you parents?”
“Right. But now I’ve changed my mind. I’m feeling orphaned. Disowned. I want to belong to someone. I need to get over my feeling of insecurity. “
“Dear, you should not feel orphaned or disowned when I’m here. I will make you feel happy and happy. I won’t leave you ever.”
“I want to have a child.” She added. “A boy.”
“Oh, you have thought so far.” He smiled casually.
“Yes. A boy in my image; like my father.” She felt a lot of happiness when she said this. Her face beamed with a soulful smile. His mind was lit by it.
“Sure. You will have one. Why one? You’ll have a lot of them.”
Thus, they continued their playful banter. After that, they slept in each other’s warmth and their souls experienced utmost peace.