Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Bouganvillea Sang While I Waited For You

It started as a balmy, every day Sri Lankan day when the araliya flowers in my gardens were in bloom. The days were hot and the nights were hotter, the muslin curtained windows were thrown open to coax in the slowest of breezes. The balmy days of a Sri Lankan spring slowly turned into the characteristic humid summer. My parents were cutting mangoes, and the golden juices pooled lazily at the bottom of the plates almost beautifully as we watched a sneaky fly or two trying to get into it. 

Who would have thought that you'd come along? 

My days were slow, sad. Only paced up with those days at the Barefoot Cafe where my friends and I spent hour upon hour reflecting on the shallowest vagaries of life and drinking liter upon liter of beer and in my case, iced tea. The balmy Sri Lankan spring turned into a humid Sri Lankan summer. The beat was slow, temporal. Out of sync, out of place. Summer hardly felt like summer, but it's always summer in our little island paradise. The birds were too tired to sing, it was far too warm. The butterflies couldn't step out, the sun would have burnt their wings into fairy dust. 

Who would have thought you'd come along?

The bright pink Bougainvillea in my garden, violent shades of magenta and orange; they blossmed in full stilt in the harsh sunlight, sining out their colours like an all too eager show choir. They were my mother's pride and joy. I'd spend the days fanning myself in the verandah with a battered copy of the Hi magazine dated three years back and my dogs would be at my feet, so lethargic in the warmth to even raise their heads up from their paws. The spring dragged on into the heat of the summer. My days were punctuated by cold faludas from Bombay Sweet, ice cold Cokes from the college cafeteria and cold milk chugged out of the carton at midnight. 

Who would have thought you'd come along? 

Ice creams melted just outside college as we walked out of the kade that sold Jumbo Jolly. Just when we though the heat wouldn't end, the first drops of the seasonal rain began to hit. A little to early in the year, it was true. No complaints, the heat was unbearable. Warm, cozy Sundays cuddled up in bed, a cold pillow to keep me happy, watching the plant world through a rain streaked window and drink ginger until it almost ran in my veins. The days were cool and beautiful, the streets were rain streaked and full of utter senesless joy. The nights were cold and blankets were soft. The fresh smell of the Earth from my garden as the summer-browned grass drank up the water was intoxicating. The Earth was rejoicing, as was I.

Who would have thought you'd come along?

The Indian Ocean frothed in front of us. The lights on Marine Drive were iridiscent blobs of the prettiest colours, blinking along the coastline of our beautiful Colombo. Back to the summer days of the hot days and hotter nights, with occasional patches of rain to keep us happy. The waves broke on the rocks like crystal breaking into little shards of diamonds, a million glittering points of utter wonder. We watched as the sky is a shade of mostly royal blue with a traitorous patch of tangerine, pink, purple velvet, Barium green or red, showing that the sun isn't totally gone. The lights of Colombo blinked merrily, and seated near the rail tracks of the beach down Marine Drive, we kissed just as a train passed behind us, our bodies shuddering at the thundering noise and impact, your grip only getting tighter.

We kissed.

I was waiting for you to come along.
All through these beautiful summer days.
All my life. 

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