artwork by Christine Wu
The sound of the rain evokes memories. Nostalgia hitting my bleeding body. The moon starts to get vague. Every drop gets heavier and heavier. Just like breathing. A train down the memory lane. Memories are as fresh as the pool of blood I lay in.
The smell of the wet soil takes me back to the days when I secretly ate the moist soil in our backyard. Maa wouldn’t like me doing so and she didn’t allow me out of the house whenever it rained. But after the rain, I would secretly go to the backyard to inhale the smell of the moist earth beneath my feet. My fingers played in the wet soil and when it was dirty, it was good to go into my mouth. I would suck on to the tiny fragments of soil grains. Juicy and ticklish. The wet sea shore sand tastes the best, but I secretly satisfied myself with this.
Everyone were fast asleep. Maa never let me play in the rain and it was raining cats and dogs and all other animals that night. I tip toed to the terrace. Danced to Bollywood songs in my mind. I was afraid I would wake my parents up so I laid down on the cement ground. It was cold, wet and hard. Something I’m not used to. It was then that I first explored my sexuality. Neither did I intend to nor did I realize; other than the fact that, down the lane the rain drops tingled more and more-- an anticipating sensation. I twitched and turned on the hard cement ground. I shivered. Only my legs shivered. A sweet torture. Breathlessness never felt right until this moment. I thought it was the chill breeze of the rainy night. I thought it was nothing. But I liked it. An eight year old would like anything that satisfied her. I wondered why Maa never let me play in the rain. That night I realised forbidden fruit tastes delicious. Today, I hate it.
The ten year old me, couldn’t fathom the concept of shame. My siblings and I would run, dance and play in the rain naked. Shamelessly. It was considered “cute”. Now, ten years down the line, it’s wrong when your drenched clothes stick to your body. It outlines your body figure and could sexually arouse men in the street.
“Take a pullover or a jacket.” I thought mother’s words were verses from the Bible. And acting accordingly will keep me safe. But today it got me thinking, “Are all mothers wrong?” It’s not us who needs to worry about shame after all.
Memories of making paper boats and sending them off was great fun! The hot pakodas mama made with chai and watching it pour while we sat in the balcony mocking each other… makes me want to back to days where I actually enjoyed rain. I always liked rain. Why do we consider memories of rain to be fun and happy? Even I thought so. Until now.
Tip tap tip tap…the sound of rain reminds me the sound of a clock ticking. The wheel of time drags me back to the cherished days in the rain for one last time. Isn’t that how our mind works? Isn’t that how we repress bad memories? Pretending to believe that it never happened and we wait for one day, when good will prevail over the bad.
How can I think positive when I can still smell the wet stinky breath? How can I pretend that this never happened? My body aches. Aches to go back to the happy days in rain. Aches to have listened to aunty when she asked me to go after it stopped raining. Aches to have never thought of a group study. Aches to have never worn a hoodie. Aches to go back home and snuggle in my blanket and dream of all the good things.
Every drop is burying me slowly into this filthy ground. The rusting pungent smell of the blood and soil brings back the horrid memory of being rammed into, again and again. By monsters, again by poles, again by monster, again by the whisky bottles…again and again.
He got tired. He went way. Without knotting me loose from the tree. Without giving back my hoodie. It’s cold. He went away without taking the whisky bottle out of me.