Queen of Hearts

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

She frowned. Inner words played on in her mind, “Yeah! The sea. It is still. It is at peace. Almost like metal. Molten, flowing metal. Perhaps like me on the surface. If a fisherman throws his invading line into it, maybe a few fish will be foolish enough to bite. But that will disturb the serenity. That’s like blasphemy. Frowned upon. Taboo.”

A dazzling white sun attempted to hide behind layered masses of lead-gray cloud. It did not succeed, giving away its presence in a splash of white-hot metal in a crack in the clouds. Rays of light radiated from this towards the sea, widening ever so slightly as they painted the shimmering sea with silver, perhaps adulterated with a soupcon of gold. Dusk was slowly approaching. The sun would eventually bed down. Night would soon draw its dark shawls around the gleaming glare of day.

Sitting alone on a joli on the beach, the woman let her thoughts run, “That is how it is. No matter how bright a lamp, it will someday burn out. Just like the day and its sun. There will always be a welcome night. Night is the unknown for many, the dark of the ghostly creatures for the afraid. Night is peaceful for sane people like me. It is the veil of privacy over our thoughts and deeds. Oh, I have my resting place here and later in my beach bungalow. It will be do for tonight and perhaps for every night to come. But first, my battle.”

Up in the twigs of a dried branch of a banyan tree, bats and crows competed for roosting space. Taking strength in numbers and noise, the crows attacked all together, startling individual bats into flight. But when the crows set down and began preening themselves into complacency, a bat here and a bat there swooped down at select, target birds in near-silence. Huge flapping wings spooked the birds into abandoning their chosen spot: This aerial ballet repeated itself, even as other perfectly good trees nearby appeared to offer perfectly good perches.

Her thoughts commended the flying beings, “Tactics! Tactics for space is what nature is all about. If I see someone in a position I suddenly begin to covet, even if I were not aware of the position in the beginning, I will certainly try to topple that person by force of guile, which I am good at. I will look for his or her Achilles’ heel and strike hard. I shall overpower, overcome, and prevail. I, the winner!”

Feet approached. They left perfect negative copies of themselves in the sand for all the world to see. But just before the young guitarist to whom they belonged began to whistle his favorite song in tonight’s repertoire, he saw the woman. He stopped, ducked into the shelter of a nearby beach bush and took a good, careful look at her. She looked familiar. She was familiar. He exclaimed to himself, “Heck! It’s her! There she sits. She must go and sit on that concrete breakwater and not on that woven joli seat. No, no! It has to be the breakwater. One heavy slab of hardened cement, granite and sand, frozen for ever around a cage of twisted iron. Just like her heart. She knows it well. She calls herself a breaker of hearts. She calls herself a store of broken hearts. And is damn proud of it too. Bloody crow! Cardiac deep freezer, my foot!”

The young man turned around and beat a hasty retreat. He had to find the other members of his band and tell them that trouble was at hand. Walking fast, but appearing to be as sedate as he could so as not to offend the sense of peace and calm so solemnly advertised in the travel magazines, the young man made his way towards the bar. His guess was that the leader of his band would sit there with his usual tall beaded glass in hand, ostensibly savoring the fine flavors of exotic mineral waters.

Sure enough, the drinker of exotic waters was at the watering hole. Slightly out of breath, the guitarist whispered, “Guess what! We have trouble. Your favorite dark queen of the early evening is here! I don’t know what she wants but I have a feeling that our guaranteed booking here is under threat. I don’t know whether she is plugging another band, promoting a bunch of magicians, or wants to become a visiting native troubadour….. And speak of the devil!”

Stepping smartly into the arena, serene smile on her face was the object of everyone’s immediate attention. The very picture of island civilization at its high-class best, she beamed at everyone. After all, she has arrived! Just like she arrived one night at the home of the band leader to attempt to annihilate his heart and win an audio album contract. Just like she had attempted to seduce the young guitarist into playing for free. Quite unlike her reality of a dark, enveloping ,suffocating evil spirit.

Soon, the night soon drew its velvety shawls around the orange-red remnants of the day in the sky. It was time for the band to play and for people to begin saying that the night was young. It was time for the drinks and the conversation to flow liberally. It was time for the hunter to hunt, and the hunted to surrender. It was time for action. Time to attempt to topple the reigning. Time to compete for the perch. Time to try to charm the foreign owners of the resort to terminate contract with the local band and hire the exotic dancer from Bali. With the local dark queen of hearts as the manager. Of course!

And she knew where to hit; ersatz philosophy for a hungry soul like the hapless manager who spent most of a month away from his family, “Look at me, for example. I am like the sea on a calm night. Still. At peace. Almost like metal. Molten, flowing metal. If an uncaring fisherman throws his invading hook into my sense of peace, that will only disturb my deep serenity. It will be almost like blasphemy. It is better to love me. It is better to allow me to heal broken hearts. And like you, lonely soul, I am also lonely. ”

Perhaps a lot more was probably said over a late lobster dinner that night. More philosophy was possibly appreciated around two exotic cocktails served in hollowed-out pineapples. Perchance, more soul-searching sharing took place on a secluded beach with only the moon for company. Maybe more than a few sweet words flowed between two understanding, placid, serene human beings comforted by a warm bed.

Another day, another sunset to watch. She smiled, thoughts of her achievements played on in her mind, “Yeah! The sea. It is still. It is at peace. Almost like metal. Molten, flowing metal. Which can burn and singe, sometimes painlessly. If a fisherman throws his invading line into it, there will always be a few fish foolish enough to bite. It is not blasphemy to follow the inevitable course of nature…. Ah, no more self-inflicted philosophy. Time to get my dancer ready for the show! ”

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  • mysterystar  On March 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Very beautiful….
    “It will be almost like blasphemy. It is better to love me. It is better to allow me to heal broken hearts. And like you, lonely soul, I am also lonely.” I just heard someone saying.And then what a coincidence? I just heard the song called “Queen of hearts”.

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