The light’s a dim yellow. Just the way you liked. I leave it that way. Each night. For seven hundred and thirty one nights. Exactly two years. I stare at the ceiling, and then some at the walls. They stare back. Blank. They’re lost too. At times, they move. The window panes on the ceiling, sway. One opens gently. The wind blows in. It is an invitation, I know. But I lie at the corner of my bed and watch. This lostness is more real than the darkness around.
Last night, a dog started barking. It was 4.15 in the morning. I am a light sleeper, you know it. So I was instantly up. Then some other strays joined him. Their barks were not ferocious, but meek. Painful, like moans. Like a woman in labor. What could affect them so? I’m tempted to walk up to the window. But I don’t. Gradually, the moans subside except a few. I ponder and somewhere between the ‘why’ and ‘how’, I drift off.
There’s general chatter. I wake up to the noises in my window. Level two always feels staying too close to the ground. Feels like everything’s happening just around. There’s a gathering. I scoff. What now? I put on my mask, gloves, cover up my hair, take the stairs and reach down. There’s a dead dog. She is covered in blood. She dies in labor. Her litter moans around her. They are huddled around her breasts. Trying to suck onto life.
The van arrives and takes away her corpse. The pups are prised away. A young man picks up the pups and walks away. ‘He runs a kennel’, I hear someone say. I have been crying behind my glasses, under my mask. But I only realise after I reach my door. I had always fed that bitch. Unlike other dogs who pounce for food, she would lick. You always warned me about ticks on strays. I open the door and there she is sitting on the hind legs, upright on the front. She is bleeding and so is my heart.
I wake up with a start. I am crying still. Beyond the window, the sky is waking up too. Its blanket of black is smeared with tinges of pale blue. Was it crying too? I open the window for fresh morning air. But it is stifling. It has rained. But it is stale. Not a leaf stirs. I fail to mark a difference, you know. In today and those other days. Over the past two years. The sun rises, crosses over. The moon rouses, crosses over. Aren’t they bored?
But my mornings don’t crossover. The nights are endlessly asleep. They are all stuck in time. To that hour, we were last together. It’s all the same, dad. For two years today. And I doubt, if this will ever change.