Waiting for the Next Bad Thing to Happen. . .
Orwell says somewhere that no one ever writes the real story of their life.The real story of a life is the story of its humiliations. If I wrote that story now— radioactive to the end of time— people, I swear, your eyes would fall out, you couldn't peel the gloves fast enough from your hands scorched by the firestorms of that shame. Your poor hands. Your poor eyes. To see me weeping in my room or boring the tall blonde to death. Once I accused the innocent. Once I bowed and prayed to the guilty. I still wince at what I once said to the devastated widow. And one October afternoon, under a locust tree whose blackened pods were falling and making illuminating patterns on the pathway, I was seized by joy; and someone saw me there, and that was the worst of all, lacerating and unforgettable. -(Memoir by Vijay Seshadri from 'The New Yorker')
I love the afore-mentioned poem, and it inspired the following piece of FLASH FICTION:
She doesn't know how its comes to pass Maybe it's because she fought with her brother Her mother lost her adored father and beloved cat in one fell swoop; Is that why she can't stop waiting for the next thing bad thing to happen. . . "Rahu is in your ascending house. Beware of the surges, the ebbs and the lows in your life over the next six months," the Hindu horoscope warns. She tests her husband's scathing words at dinner "You don't cook for the family anymore. Is it because you're too busy jaunting in the evenings with your girlfriends? Flitting from book club to painting class. With n'er a care in the world?" "I think I may move to Australia after my daughter leaves for college," she tells her personal trainer the next morning. She recounts to him the humiliation of the night before. "That's nothing," he dismisses. "Spouses fight all the time. Why is it weighing upon your mind like that?" he asks. Maybe its because she's constantly at odds with her mercurial 16-year-old daughter, she ponders. Is it what they call "karma's a bitch" or "what goes around comes around" or some new-age philosophy or old wife's tale like that? All she knows is that her own teenage rebellion, her full-of-yourself years set the tone for her latter-day years Her mom clutching her shaking hands piteously, her voice breaking, "Get married, Meena. So that you become someone else's problem and not mine." (All this because she wore a short, short skirt to the school dance. "You look like a Christian," her mom screamed, "and not a pious Hindu.") She closes her eyes, and attempts to empty her mind of all negative thoughts like her yoga teacher has taught her. The thought darts in like an unwanted, pesky fly buzzing in from a slightly ajar window— "Maybe if I can go shopping today. Buy the fresh goat meat my husband likes. The spinach pasta with alfredo sauce my daughter desires. Maybe, just maybe, I can tilt the stars in my favor. Prevent the next bad thing from happening. . ."