There is that sound again, in a tempo, almost like a clock work, beating against his chest. Lub Dub. Lub Dub. Lub Dub. Its compelling. Like a shamanic music resonating against my ears to my mind, calming me down.
And there is that touch again, filled with need to possess me, own me in a compassion that blinds my cautious soul. Sensitive, my skin traces his hands to the pulp of his pressure points, his fingers digging in my flesh against his palms, as he burrows himself in me and moans.
‘Carem, Carem’. Rose wakes me up, slapping her chubby hands on my face. ‘Momma. Momma’. She points curling her stubby fingers and pointing towards the door. I rub my eyes, sitting up. ‘What was i doing, having wet dreams on board day light, on a kitchen garden next to 1yr old kid?. I am utterly ashamed.
These are the times, I am really angry. Him entering my mind without control. At myself for allowing it to happen and on him, for screwing my life up.
‘She is a little gangster’. Aunt Marish chuckles, handing me a glass of juice and picking up Rose on her arms. ‘Yeah she is. She probably would have left me with panda eyes if i hadn’t woke up’.
‘Bad girl. Why did you hit Auntie? ‘. She asks, pointing her forefinger on her little daughter, appearing stern. ‘Ah hah’ Rose squeals in pure pleasure, hiding her face away from us, overjoyed at being centre of attention.
Someone coughs. Across the fence. Again. And again distressingly, with more bouts of poor effort in a row. I stand up to look over.
‘Ah poor Ross’ Aunt Marish sighs. ‘Why don’t you go over and say hello Carem. He will be very glad to see you’.
I stare over pityingly to the man. In his 60’s, slumped on a wooden chair, with a thin rubber tube running across his nostrils connected to a small portable oxygen cylinder, Ross’ did not look at all like a man i used to know. He was tall, not athletic built as such but quite a fit man. Always vibrant, full of energy and life. But now, it looked to me as though, life has been sucked out of him and all that has been left behind, is an empty case of emaciating muscles, shallow eyes and hollow bones.
‘Hello Ross’ I prod him gently on his shoulder.
‘What?’ Ross flinches scared , suddenly awake from his sleep. His expression horrified seeing a stranger stand upfront on his house.
‘Its Carem. Marish’s cousin’. I reply, trying to calm him down. ‘Carem. Remember me?’
‘Oh. Oh Carem’. He narrows his brows, looking intently at me, his hand pulled across his face, fingers drawn together on his lips, trying to think. His eyelids twitching now and then, still sedated with lorazepam, a file of which is thrown aside.
His eyes lightens up, when he remembers. ‘Oh Carem’. He exclaims with a delightful smile.
‘Look at you. You are a woman now.. How long has it been?’
‘3 years’. I reply.
‘That long huh?’. He makes a sad expression. ‘Ever since i have been like this, i cannot travel you see. How are your parents?’
I raise my voice to a louder tone, almost like shouting in single word answers. He adjusts his hearing aid and nods.
‘Do you still have the budgie at home?’ I ask.
‘Aunt Marish says to me, you are allergic to budgies. So its not good for your health’.
‘We tested it. It does not have any disease’ He answers calmly. ‘Tell Marish not to worry’.
‘Of course the budgie does not have any disease. You have the disease because you are allergic to it’. I try to explain.
Ross has Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. My aunt is a nurse at the district hospital, where these past three months alone he had been admitted twice, with severe worsening of his condition. This was because he was allergic to birds feathers or droppings. They had done some test on him, with avian para proteins that was positive. It has been four years years since the diagnosis now and in that time, Mrs Jones and Ross has had 3 sessions of one hour counselling with three different consultants. But the damn Budgie still prevails!!
‘Its either your husband or the your budgie. Thats what the consultant told her’. Aunt Marish confided to me that morning frowning. ‘She really doesn’t care about Ross’.
I saw a moment of sadness cloud in his eyes. ‘It talks you see’.
‘And it calls everyone by name. Its actually very smart. But it calls me stupid’.
Doctors think Ross doesn’t understand what is going on. Same does aunt Marish. They don’t think he knows, how dangerous it is to be in this house, with a bird in a vicinity and to be in the same bed with a wife who is constantly exposed to it. But i think, Ross exactly knows the situation. He knows this will cost him his life.
‘Are you okay? ‘ Aunt Marish squeezes my hand when she sees me playing with the remote, switching on channels to channels constantly.
‘Oh i’m sorry’. I apologise. ‘Its just that i can’t help thinking about Ross. He is really very unwell. Is there nothing anyone can do to help?’
‘I know hon. It is frustrating to know all this. And we have raised safe guarding concerns. But thats the best we can do for now.’
‘Then why is nothing happening?’
‘It takes time. ‘ Aunt Marish tries to calm me down. ‘Beside Ross not doing anything about it, not understanding the main problem isn’t helping’.
‘But he is not on his right mind Aunt Marish. He knows Mrs Jones would rather choose the budgie over him, but he is on denial. He needs mental health team, psychiatrists whatever anyone who can help him to see him’
‘Carem. Carem. Look at me dear.’ ‘Take a long breath.’ ‘Yes. Take a long breath’.
I inhale. Then exhale a long breath of air, deflating all that i could from my chest in one go.
‘Its his choice’. Aunt Marish continues. ‘Its his life. Whether he is prepared to be smart or fool about it, in the end we cannot control his decisions’.
‘Yes he could be on denial. Many times, people are comfortable avoiding truth. Especially in relations like this, where a partner is emotionally abusive. Manipulative. They cannot see their way out. Everything that happens. They are willing to face. What may seem like a obvious easy way out for us, may not be for them. We are not in that box. He needs to come out of it. It will be a struggle. And if he can’t make it….’
‘lets just hope the budgie doesn’t live a year more. That shit is fucking 9 years old!’.
I gape my mouth open.
Its not often i hear Aunt Marish swear. Especially in front of her 1 and half year old daughter, who is just learning to pick up the words.
‘You did not hear what i said’. She plugs both ears of her daughter and looks at me, smiling halfheartedly.
Is it that love is blind? Or is it our ignorance for truth that is blind? What makes us love anyone more than us and what makes us hate them to their death grave? Why do not people have a fair share of what they deserve? Why is the balance so unjustly tilted? Is it really love that is blind or our ignorance?