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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Sreeja Chakraborty


I stood below the stooping branches of the old bougainvillea and waited all alone. All alone but for a few sisters watching over the hostelers who were cleaning the playground of the Convent. I would have been bored, had it not been for him. And the moment he came into my line of vision, I shrieked with joy, running as fast as my little feet could afford, towards him. And then he lifted me up in his arms and tossed me in the air. As my laughter rang through the autumn air, he held me close and kissed my forehead, smiling affectionately as he did so. That was my first hero. The man whom I first admired. The man whom I first loved. He was my best friend, my most favorite companion—my Dad.

Soft cotton clouds,
Cheerful delight–
Candy floss.

The coffee grows cold, and sunshine doesn't make it sparkle anymore. We live under the same roof, but the distance is ever increasing. However much I try, I just can’t find out how our conversations have found their way into extinction. The thin line between ‘being together’ and ‘living together’ grows wider and wider each day. It’s hard to believe, but I am no more the Fairy who can make toffees rain just by making a wish. When was it that I ceased to be his Princess? I wish I knew. All I am left with is the memory of strawberry flavored ice cream, and the smell of those watercolors that Dad used to buy me.

Broken color palette
Red paint dried on a paintbrush;
All I feel is blue . . .

Perhaps I've not been a good daughter. Perhaps I've made too many mistakes. But still, I can’t help the fact that he was—and he still is—my first hero, the man I first admired. I wish I could be his Princess once more, though it is near to impossible now. It hurts a lot to realize that I've grown up, because I find myself in the debris left after the fairytale met its Apocalypse. The more I deny, the more those shadows flicker before my eyes to tell me—the Fairy has lost her magic. The Princess dwells, but in the deserted streets where nobody can hear her cries.

A million miles away
Sunshine sleeps on empty swings
The smell of Sunday.