Oops! It All Happened in My Night Gown
Volume 1, Issue 3
Have I lost my memory? I thought while strolling in haphazard direction to get towards the main facade.
I felt a cool wave of gust touching my skin; I became cold and began to shiver. I didn’t want to wake up, not now, and I began probing for the duvet in a half sleepy, half awake state. But I could find none, so I cuddled myself more tightly. There was another thud, and I could hear the panes of the casement open and shut, and this time the chilling breeze entered with greater intensity and woke me up. I rose shivering badly, sitting on the edge of the bed still unable to open my eyes properly. Languidly, I slipped my feet inside the cloth slippers, and wrapped my upper body with the Cashmere shawl that I found lying on the bed.
I tried to check the time on the wall clock, it was clogged. Not ticking. Again I have to change the batteries, I thought and shook my head in exasperation few times, then headed straight towards the kitchen. It was dawn and I had to make tea. I found a huge pot of milk already sitting on the stove; the milk was on simmer, it seemed fresh and its aroma had filled the entire corners of the house. I made two cups of tea out of it but soon wondered why did I make two cups of tea? I looked around, the dwelling seemed hollow. There was no one there, except me. I began to probe everywhere inside the house. I went to the bedrooms but all were empty. Yet, I could feel the presence of someone who had slept in those rooms. The beds were unkempt and there was warmth of human body that I felt strongly.
I was then standing bewildered inside my neatly kept living area, when all of a sudden my eyes fell on the cracked mirror holding my reflection. I barely could see my face in it. Is it night or dawn? Did I wake up in the middle of the night or at early dawn? I wondered.
It was getting difficult for me to find out the time. All the wall clocks in the house had stopped ticking. This gave me an uncanny feeling, and I began to hear my own beats louder. Lub-dub... lub dub... lub-dub. As I was still in that perplexed state, I heard the doorbell. Half remembering, half guessing where the main door was, I ran to open it.
Have I lost my memory? I thought while strolling in haphazard direction to get towards the main facade. At last, I did found the main door, and hastily opened it wide.
A blaze of white light made me cover my eyes with my right arm. As I stood like that for some seconds, I heard a voice of a man calling me three four times, “Ma’am...Ma’am, are you alright? Ma’am...”
His voice was deep and alluring which made me remove my arm from my face, wanting to see his. I slowly tried to open my eyes to see who the man was. His face remained covered within that blazing light, still appearing like a shadow. As I was still getting hold of the view outside the door and that man’s figure standing in front of me, he suddenly came closer and announced. This time in a heavy commanding voice, “The Master wants to see you.”
“Master?” I asked, much bewildered.
“Yes, two days from now. Be there,” he added.
As he had stepped a little closer and stood on the facade while speaking, I noticed he was a handsome man. Dressed in a white chemise and fitted pair of pants that was sitting nobly over his brawny structure, he looked much appealing. He had fair skin, chiselled jaw line, big eyes, slightly thick lips, and a face that was making me drool over. I was glancing unstoppably and blatantly at him, half listening to what he was saying. Perhaps he noticed as well, and thus repeated his words again to make sure I listened this time.
“Please Miss; you need to see him as early as possible. Time is running away and you need to hurry.”
‘Time!’...My eyes became wide hearing that word, and I suddenly recalled that all the wall clocks inside the house were clogged. I had no idea what was the time now. In fact I didn’t even remember which day it was. Seeing the light outside I could only make out it was dawn. As I was about to ask the man standing on my doorway the same thing about time, my head suddenly began to spin and my eyelids became heavy. His face became blurred and I could only see his lips moving and saying something that I couldn’t hear anymore. I was about to fall down when I felt that he held me by my waist, and lifted me into his strong arms. I was unconscious, I suppose. Was I? As I could feel his gentle touch, his holding me into his arms and carrying me somewhere I had no clue about, and honestly at that moment I didn’t care a bit. I was in a strange slumber where my mind was still working and aware of the things happening with me. I felt my body being carried away through uneven paths, the jerks were much disturbing but in his arms they seemed enjoyable, as I could feel he was trying to take care of me well, and was often checking on me and my youthful face, which I was liking a lot. After sometime I guess, in his arms I fell asleep and don’t know what happened afterwards. Where did he take me to, I didn’t come to know!
I woke up to a warm and slightly rough hand caressing my cheeks gently which disturbed my sleep, and I hastily opened my eyes. It was him, the same man who was at my doorway in the morning. Seeing him again, I straight away sat upright on the bed, and began to rotate my eyes all around in sheer confusion. The place seemed like a small cottage with wooden ceiling, wooden floor, and a fire place where there was fire still burning. Though I loved the warmth inside the cottage and that woody smell in the air but I was still confused. Where was I?
“Where am I? Why have you brought me here?” I asked, demandingly, with a loud voice.
“Shhhh...You don’t talk like this, you never had,” Heh said, coolly, while gliding his fingers over my nape gently.
That made me uncomfortable and I became stiff and slightly scared too.
What if he kills me right now? May be he doesn’t have good intentions. How will I save myself from him? He is such a strong man, I thought.
Understanding the vulnerability of my situation, and since by now I had guessed that I had lost my memory because I was not able to remember anything at all, I tried not to show him that I have forgotten everything about me and acted smart. I acquired some courage to speak up, this time in a gentler manner while his hands were already gliding over my entire back, “Look... Mm...Mr... I...I appreciate what you have done for me but I have to go home now...my family is waiting for me. My house is not very far. I...I will go on my own.” Having said this, I carefully got down from the bed, stood straight on my feet, and tried to escape his gaze, as he stood tall in front of me.
He made me sit again on the bed with a jerk by keeping his heavy hands on both my shoulders. I was shaking badly now with fear. He sat right in front of me, and took my hands towards his brawny chest and placed them above his heart. I felt his gentle but louder beats, and somehow I don’t know why they felt known to me. That sound of lub dub...lub dub, felt familiar and I was staring at him with questioning eyes. Suddenly his eyes became watery and he said in the most dramatic tone, “You need to hurry before it’s too late. You must go to him,” and he kept his palm against my left cheeks, his touch was warm and rough at the same time, but it stirred something inside my gut that went down till my spine.
Agitated however by this statement again I asked him rather haughtily, “Why... you keep saying the same thing? Why I need to see him, and who is this Master? Do I work for him?”
He didn’t utter a word this time. Instead he asked me to finish the food that was waiting on the table with smoke rising out of it.
“Eat something, you must be starving.” He spoke in few words but his tone was authoritative this time. But yet I liked it, and his gesture towards me, uncouth yet caressing. He reminded me of someone. By now I have guessed that I had lost my memory, I didn’t stress my wits any further and followed his words. Besides, I was starving.
With a nod I went towards the wooden dining table next to the fire place, and sat on one of the chairs. There were bread loaves, omelette, and hot latte on the table.. My stomach grumbled and it echoed up to my ears. Keeping aside my table manners for some time, I almost jumped over the food and began to gulp fast. Within ten good minutes I had finished everything and wiped my face with the soft white napkin kept neatly folded on the table. The food was simple yet delicious, the bread was soft and spongy, the omelette was huge almost of the size of the platter, and the latte was creamy, and I could taste that divine milk, something that I had never tasted in my life. And I couldn’t resist myself from enquiring.
“How do you make such big omelette, and where do you get this creamy milk from?” I questioned, staring at his handsome face with the most curious eyes. What a stupid question to ask, I have lost my memory he doesn’t know that. Now he will think that I am the biggest bamboozle around, I reprimanded myself. Feeling kind of foolish, I slightly curled up on my seat.
“I don’t think you are a fool, absolutely not. In this situation anyone would behave like this.” He was staring back straight into my eyes with great buoyancy. And I admit that his glance almost made me skip few beats. I was still gazing at him, with mouth agape wondering how he read my mind, when he muttered again, “We have ducks and hens for eggs. And milk oh! That’s plenty we have a rivulet flowing of it.”
“What?” I shook my head in amazement.
“Ahh...come on I was just mocking,” he responded, and laughed languorously.
Barmy! I thought staring at him with fiery eyes. Suddenly he came closer, took my hand, and almost started dragging me from within the house. I couldn’t resist his strength; he had such a strong pull. It was happening all fast and within few seconds we were out of his cottage. He then stopped on the threshold and I bumped on his hard back. Agitated I mumbled, “Hey easy... where are you taking me now?”
He stepped out of the threshold and climbed down from the wooden staircase. I followed him, and climbed down as well. I noticed the stairs were painted in white. I kept my feet on them and came out to the open wide space that made me stand mesmerized for many unknown minutes. I was standing in the middle of a place surrounded by abundant green meadows, hillocks and trees whose boughs were falling down with the weight of huge fruits growing upon them. I saw rows of cherry blossoms, and they had covered the ground with myriad blossoms that had fallen upon and had created a bed of flowers. The whole air was filled with the mild fragrance of flowers, some of them I had never seen in my life. I turned back towards that man who had brought me here, staring at his intense face with a baffled yet a delighted look.
“Go along now, it’s time for you to leave,” he said and grew quiet.
I kept staring at his serious, yet attractive face for some time, and he again made the gesture with his hands, asking me to move to the fore. I did that, I started walking ahead. While doing so my eyes fell on my feet. I had bright saffron hued nail paint on my toe nails, which I didn’t remember applying at all. In fact I didn’t remember anything, not even my name - all I knew was that I was lost and didn’t know where I was going. Maybe I was headed to some place or someone known, perhaps whom or which I would recognize. But somehow, the most bizarre thing was that I felt free and happy not bothered much of being lost in a place that I had never seen before. In fact I was enjoying the things that had happened with me till now, particularly my experience with that man, and I didn’t know why I felt sad leaving him behind.
I turned back once to see him, but he was gone, and I felt even sadder, as if I was drifting apart from someone my own and I began to feel this twinge in my heart. For some moments I felt breathless with heavy emotions, and began to breathe heavily. I realized, I was crying! There were many tears that were rolling down my cheeks as I walked through the green meadows, and reached towards the precinct of cherry blossoms. I was wiping my face with my palm, when suddenly a soft mellow voice startled me. I stopped and looked around and my eyes fell on a woman who was sitting on a flat rock, a little far from me. With unhurried steps I went closer, not sure whether it was her voice I had heard, when the woman called out at me, “Come darling I was waiting for you.” Extending her left arm in the air she seemed like inviting me.
I stood amazed and confused again. I was staring her with dubious eyes. The woman was elderly, seeming to be in her mid-sixties or more. She had all grey hair, which looked like white thread of silk flowing from her head till her waist, and a radiant skin wrinkled near the eyes and lips, sharp features, and a serene face. She was in white flowing attire, and there were few pallid stone necklaces around her neck. She had an eye-catching persona and I slightly envied her whole being. Moving a bit near, I asked her most politely, “Do I know you?”
“Yes...sort of,” she replied with a smile.
The moment she told me this, I felt relieved and bombarded her with questions that even I was looking answers for since this dawn. Where did I live? How was I supposed to go back home? How was she related to me? And most importantly, who was I and what was my name?
“Calm down, dear... these things are not important right now. First, you need to know why you are here.” The lady, instead of answering any of my questions, threw me into another puzzle, and, as careless as I could be, I wasn’t listening to what she was saying. I was into my own world of tangled thoughts feeling very strongly that I knew her from some place; I had seen her somewhere, but where?
Darn! I cursed myself for having lost my memory. I was still in a bewildered state of mind when she, with her fair, wrinkled and jewelled hand, made a gesture of inviting me closer. I obeyed her. I sat beside her on the same rock that she was sitting upon. I saw a small pond behind her with the most lucent water. I could see the fishes beneath the surface and the top of it was covered with cherry blossoms floating on it.
How dumb of me, how come I didn’t notice such a beautiful pond here. But was it really here a second ago? I thought. Strange things happening around me were now making me even more baffled.
No sooner did I sit down beside her, the lady in white whispered to me, “You are lost, alone, and want to go back. You are here early, dear. Why did you come so soon?”
I remained completely dumbstruck, unable to spell a word. So I simply nodded and kept listening to what she was saying. Yes, it was true I was lost and wanted to go back, but where? I still wondered. She smiled at me with a sigh; then, keeping both her hands on her lap, she spoke with a serious voice, “I will ask you three questions. If you could answer them wisely, I will take you to the master myself.”
“Who is this master, everyone keeps talking about here?” I interrupted in a swift manner.
“He is the keeper of all the lands, the gardens, the trees, the rivers, and the birds and animals here. As far your eyes can see it all belongs to him. Everything from one leaf to that tiny ant that’s crawling upon your feet now, he is the owner of it all,” the saintly lady replied with an intense voice, seeming to be slightly annoyed by my question.
Maybe he is someone very rich, or perhaps some kind of a sovereign, I thought, but asked nothing further about him. Now even I was eager to meet him. I was thinking that he might be someone known to me, who would tell me who I was, as that handsome man I just met a while ago and now this old lady both want me to meet him. So I became quiet without any further questions and decided to be humble and a calm listener. I then replied in a soft mellow voice, “Sure...I will answer your questions.”
The old lady nodded with a smile and asked me the first question, “Who are you, a man or a woman?”
I was staring at the old woman now with sheer agitation. What kind of question was that, can’t she just see who I am? Oh come on now are you going to ask me these silly questions, I thought, but kept calm on the outside, and answered her in a gentle voice, “I am a woman.”
She grinned and whispered, “Yes, you are indeed; a beautiful woman. God has created you that way. Delicate; vulnerable with soft bosoms upon which your gown is falling gracefully. Any man would fall for you out there.” And she pointed her finger at the direction from which I had just come. I blushed and smiled back at her. I was wondering why that old lady was praising me. It had been long since I had seen myself in a mirror; the last time I had seen myself was on that kaput and mucky mirror that almost showed nothing of how I looked. I began to look around, perhaps to find a mirror or something, when suddenly I realized that we were inside a cottage.
Wait a minute, when did we come here? Weren’t we by the pond side some time back?
I began to glance at the old lady with bewildered expressions, still cursing myself for having lost my memory.
Shame on me I don’t even remember coming inside the cottage.
The lady was observing me with her somnolent eyes. She soon began chanting something, with her fingers moving on the bead necklace that she wore around her neck.
I kept staring at her calm, serene, and radiant face when slowly my eyelids began to become heavier and heavier. I was trying hard to keep them open, but soon it was all black. I was in a dreamy state perhaps, as I was seeing myself wandering again in an open precinct, and I had a feeling that someone was waiting for me out there. I knew it was a man, perhaps my lover, and I was in a joyful state, keen to meet him. I was moving fast. I was not walking but gliding towards him. I was enjoying this dream. With earthly desires rising high I was so anxious to see who it was! The essence of his musk odour was filling my nostrils, and I began to follow it blindly. Soon, I saw his tall and broad silhouette a little far into the woods. He hid himself behind a tree trunk, and I smiled at him as I began to go near. The keenness to meet him was growing stronger in my inside. When I reached near him, I saw that same man who took me to his cottage this morning. Oh! I was overjoyed to see him; I had begun to like him already. He smiled at me and without saying anything he drew me closer and placed his lips on mine. I closed my eyes in ecstasy and was lost into the moment for some time. But suddenly I began to feel I was not able to move anymore and my whole body was being squeezed badly. There was something all around my body pressing it harder. I was almost choking when I hastily opened my eyes and was terrorized to see a huge serpent that has wrapped me in its long vertebrae and was about to swallow me alive.
I vanished that same night from the old woman’s cottage; and I began to search for that man. After that repulsive dream, I wanted to meet him badly. I knew I had fallen for him. I kept wandering, clueless of where to go, which direction to follow, and how to find him.
I found myself inside a huge mansion, where I was tied to a chair with ropes. Who brought me here? Why was I locked inside a room and tied?
I had again forgotten everything; my mind was losing hold of many moments that were happening in between.
Yet, I wouldn’t call that place a prison, because it was a huge room with a vintage decor. The huge wooden carved bed, long falling silk curtains, abstract murals on the wall, soothing white paint on them, and everything inside there seemed oriental.
Just the way I love to decorate if it would have been my house. But who brought me here and why am I tied with ropes?
I was still thinking while struggling on that chair which I was tied to. I heard few noises outside the door. I could recognise the voices - it was the same old woman, whose cottage I had eloped from, and of that handsome man. I became calm and tried to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“Let her go, I know you want her. It’s going to be dawn soon and very late for her to go back. You know the rules here...Oh! For God’s sake, she is a wife to someone.” She was saying it all loudly.
There was no reply from his side. I could feel it inside of me that the man wanted me to stay, perhaps that was the reason he had locked me inside this room. My heart was thumping in delight and I blushed in my solitude. The feeling was good, a man wanting me to stay with him. I don’t know what kind of bonding it was going to be, but I felt it more like infidelity and that is what seemed more charming about it. Suddenly, I heard heavy footsteps coming towards the door.
I sat still and closed my eyes pretending to be asleep. The sound began to grow louder and my heart beat faster. The whole air grew uncanny, and I began to tremble as if there was something ghastly behind the doors. This feeling I didn’t like much. I closed my eyes in fear, waiting for that moment to pass. Soon I felt a warm touch over my shoulder and opened my eyes. I saw the same man standing in front of me. He untied me and pulled me towards himself with a jerk and filled me in his wide embrace. Then whispered into my ears, “You are mine...I won’t let you go.”
I smiled in delight. Suddenly I began to feel a strange pull that was tearing me apart from his warm embrace. And the man was trying harder to not let me go. He said in a deep voice, “You can’t go, I need you. I am your lover for life.” Slowly his voice started fading, and his face blurred from my vision.
I opened my eyes and sat upright with a jerk on the bed. I was breathing faster, perspiring profusely. I wiped my face. My neck that was all sweaty and shaking badly.
“Do not fall asleep my child. If you will sleep here...how will you go back?”
I nodded to the old lady’s advice not sure however what she meant. She offered me a glass of water which I began gulping unhurriedly. “Do you believe in love my dear?” She asked me the second question with twinkle in both her eyes and a warm smile resting on her face.
Glancing at her angelic face for quite some time I mumbled, meekly, “Yes, I do believe.”
“I knew you do. My child, your soul is as bare as you are, beneath that silken gown and it tells me everything. I could see that light in your heart. You have a loving heart; only you are not loved enough”. She gushed, and coming closer, she pushed me with her wrinkled hands and that moment I began falling from greater heights. Again I felt a jerk.
This time I opened my eyes to a dark room. I was lying still with my eye balls rotating in all the corners of that space. Slowly I realized it was all a dream and I was back to reality. I turned my glance towards the other side of the bed and saw his back turned towards my face. He was sound sleep.
I began staring at the roof thinking about the dream I just had; it all felt so real - that man, the old lady, and that hideous serpent trying to eat me alive. I kept thinking about them and all of it for some time. I then checked the time piece by switching on the night lamp; it was 2’o clock, and it was still dark outside. I looked at his peaceful body and thought how easy it was for him to sleep with all the blue marks that he often gave me on my body. This brought tears into my eyes and I tried to sleep again gently cuddling myself within the duvet.
I opened my eyes to a harsh patting over my face this time. “Hey wake up... have you taken those pills again? You dumb piece of dirt. I am late again for office.” He yelled at me like that every day, and that would feel like a squall from the front door. I had taken those pills last night a little more than usual, so that I could sleep. It was my only way to beat insomnia and the abuse I was living through. It gave me the peace I needed.
Slowly after gaining my senses, I still wondered why I saw the same dream the whole night. I then languidly rose from the bed, and ran to meet the day’s errands within the four walls. I always waited for the whole day to pass away and nights to arrive. Because sleep was the only way to leave behind all the bedlam; and my pills was my companion in this. They lulled me into the arms of slumber with ease. I loved this numbness, after years of waking up and crying the nights away, this was the way I had found out to gain some peace. He knew about my physical condition, but didn’t care. I was just a doormat for him.
The dream from last night made me stay in a blissful mood whole day. Somehow, I had this feeling that perhaps I had died last night and came back again. But whatever I saw and felt last night, I was still in awe thinking about that man.
He would really love me forever; wish I could be with him. But what could be the third question? I was talking to myself again.
I began to wait for the night to cascade. After satisfying all the needs of my husband, and making sure that he was lost in his deep sleep, I took out the bottle containing my pills and consumed whole of it. Soon my eyelids were heavy, and somehow I managed to come and lie down on the bed. Heavier...heavier and heavier my eyelids got shut. I could hear that man’s mellow voice in my ears again. Deep, full of love...
“Yes, because till then I hadn’t fallen in love with you. But now I want you by my side forever. You look beautiful in that night gown. This makes you even more desirable and attractive. I want to love you like this forever,” he said pointing his finger at me.
I looked down upon myself. Oops! I was still in my silken night gown, but I didn’t care anymore. Slowly the images and his voice disappeared. I was in a void; with an absolute black out and soon that numbness of being in nothingness began.
I was free, I chose him...
Monalisa Joshi is a writer and a poetess. She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of an online Blogazine Plethora Blogazine (plethoramonalisa.wordpress.com) She was among the top fifty winners for Times India Write Contest Season 2. She has three poetry books under her credit “Stirring Spoonful of Emotions”, “Terracotta Dreams” and “The Devil’s Wife with Words Beneath her Cranium”. She is presently working on one of her fiction book and few short stories side by side. She enjoys blogging and is quite active on social media platforms.