machinations, intrigues, schemes that people hatch for their interets
| Though this young boy was brawny enough to mangle any anybody, his naïve school of thought, childlike dialogues and gullibility belied his sturdy appearance. A man among men…I doubt! Yet he merited the room and all the credit goes to his artless behavior, at least he appeared to have no bent on bullying or roughhousing like the typical hunks. I made him alert to his tasks of paying rent in time, not hanging about for too long at night and he hung over to my all directions and nodded like a child to my every instruction…quite gratifying.
Life had glided on high ebb with my mom, after a long wait, unchained from dreary troubles and papa, still grave, managed to conjure few giggles and chuckles. Mother would gleefully banter our new tenant who would in turn season the whole play by acting out as a laughing stock.
At the break of dawn she would be out for her morning walk. Her polished, pruned and jolly manners warmed our neighbors and she developed a good social circle…something I emulated like anything. How much knack was there that people from every walk of life began warming to her. Many, ignorant of her past life, painted her to be a lady immune to grief and sorrow. But as noble men have reflected, “Great griefs are mute”, who would have thought that this lady has endured tempestuous days without passing the agony onto her family.
One day when she didn’t return from her morning rambles I went out in quest of her. Afar I could see her comrades and other familiar strangers coming in my direction. Anxiety grew around me when I observed their panicky actions, hysterical voices and the strange swarm of people buzzing around something. I got paralyzed with dread when I couldn’t trace my dearly loved among them. Agaped I listened to what they cried, “Martha! Your mom has been shot dead. A masked man came out of nowhere and fired at her. Why couldn’t we divine that? Martha we feel badly for you…” While their words wrung my soul, the air scented with the murder of my sole friend caressed me to hopelessness.
"From my perch I saw people contemplating at length of what had come to pass; their prying eyes, shallow sympathies and scandal mongering traits ripped my heart apart.
God had shut me out; mom was no more, my irrevocable loss…
All was ugly again after a brief bout of cheery times. Police had begun investigating the case and their habitual interrogation was taking its tool on my father. He grew frightful and his composure was not reposed anymore. He became something of a paranoid. The moment police would unearth his past life he would turn epileptic as if being accused of the murder. Many a times he would make me sit beside him and talk of something better disclosed sooner but couldn’t mete out the courage to do so. He could be so meek and timid did not come as a surprise because since his split-up his valor had eroded to an extent of no return.
At sundown, when papa was upstairs, our tenant, Joey, walked in. On seeing me puzzled at his odd time entrance, he hastened to express, “Martha Di I haven’t come to grieve you by rewinding all that has gone by…I beg you to lend me your ear.” Moved! I got up to offer him a chair and he thought I, being upset already, might throw him out, blurted out, “Di I can’t swallow what I saw. I don’t intend to infuriate you. I can’t conceal it for long. My head’s been throbbing since the day your mother’s death.” while knitting his brows he added, “Don’t refrain me from telling you something akin to your mother’ untimely deaths…don’t “