Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life is what we make of it - part 4

A red dress for blood spilt,
Torn blouse for flesh rent;
Ladders in the stockings –
A rung for every callous blow landed.
Scuffed shoes winked about the kicks –
After all, bruise-gorged eyes can’t –
Just permanently closed.

Burning tears were scant warmth
Against a chill from ugly cries.

Lipstick smudges on the chin to
Nullify all vestiges of beauty –
Those that constituted rare patches
Of purest cream skin, from
Days of feminine joy, telling once
Upon a time there was an angel…
But now, a battered doll.

These lines by Mark R Slaughter describe Magda, just as she was the day Alanah first saw her. battered and bruised she lay on her kitchen floor, helpless and in pain. They were new to Lipsi. Magda and her torturous husband had just moved into the neighbourhood from Santorini. He ran a bar up on the hill and she mostly remained indoors. And so inspite of living on the opposite sides of a road, Alanah had never really met Magda before.

A terrible husband, very violent over nothing, always imagining that Magda was flirting with people. But the truth was that she tidied her house, cooked her husband's meals and kept her head down, bent over her embroidery. This was said and this was believed. Beauty has strange powers, it makes people blind to rationale, it gives men as well as women no cause to dig further, but to accept willingly what the tender mouth utters. Beauty accompanied by pain is a haunting combination. But who knew it then?

Pegaso was kind to her and Alanah liked her, well initially that was how it was! A lovely, gentle woman with a heart wrenchingly beautiful smile that was always brushed with a hint of sorrow; Magda had a hard life - no children, and a man who was unreliable. Sometimes she had bruises or a cut but she said she was clumsy. Pegaso played lute and also the tavli most evenings at the bar with her husband. He never wanted to delve into these stories. But Alanah had always shared every detail of her routine with Pegaso and so she did even now.

"Its their life, Alanah, their marriage, we should not interfere... come to me now, let me hold you close, its been so long since you let me come near you." Alanah was tiring easily these days. The pump, the household and little Stravos took up all her energy. But that night she went to her husband with a happy heart. She felt good about the decisions she had taken in her life, she felt blessed that her husband was a good man, she thanked god for the family she had, and silently she prayed for Magda.
Then, one morning Alanah went over to Magda's cottage to collect a table cloth. She found her sitting on a chair, the blood dripping down onto the white material. Alanah ran for the doctor. The doctor patched her up and said that this must not go on, that strong men like Pegaso should do something. And so Alanah told Pegaso, once again the travails of the beautiful and sad Magda. and this time Pegaso listened to her attentively. The next day he alongwith a couple of his friends went to Magda's house and held her husband down on the floor for a while and told him what would happen to him if there was another incident.
There was a change after this. Magda stopped being clumsy, and walked with her head high and looked people in the eye for the first time. That was when everybody noticed how beautiful she was, upto then they had just thought she had beautiful hair, only Alanah had looked her in the eye. And yet this time alanah failed to notice what the rest did.
love, when you are young is brave, it helps you to shoulder responsibilities, it helps you to take courageous decisions. Love at a later age is sly, is timid, is lost in the labyrinth of morality and guilt..
to be continued....
PS : dear readers, believe me I am in a hurry too..but just cant write more than this in a day!!