Saturday, June 18

The Wooden Heart - II

Click here to read this story from beginning. 


This sudden entry startled and frightened the lady so much that she even couldn’t scream, though she opened her mouth the way as about to utter to a loud scream but couldn’t dare to say more than “Who are you?” in a trembling voice almost equal to a whisper.

“Don’t worry!” Boy tried to make his tone as soft as possible. “I just came to say something to you.”

This helped to diminish her fear: “What do you want to say?” She asked.

“I hope you remember me!” Boy began to say, over-optimist, as of his peculiar age when all boys believe that no girl, once casted a glance at them, can dare to forget them. “I’m the boy that was with farrier at that day when …….” 

He told her about his lost heart that he believed was still somewhere around her damsel, probably listening to the story that consisted his own beats. He told her of how he talked of her to planks and logs of all kind of timber from forests, gardens, roadsides and yards of people’s houses. He told her how much empty place of his heart ached and how this ache didn’t let him sleep at many fine nights when sleep is dearest jewel to any worker weary of day-long toil. He told her of dreams he dreamed when some fortunate moments allowed him to sleep.

Lady listened to him silently. By the time boy finished his monologue, she had fully recovered her confidence. “So he is just another of annoying lovers those can’t stop themselves from declaring love with every beautiful and rich girl!” This was her assessment of situation as per previous experiences.

“Look at this!” She raised her hand. “Look at this ring; do you know which gem is this?”

Poor boy was not ready for any such question and he didn’t know anything about gems, he got nervous. “No, I don’t know …” He said slowly when he couldn’t find any other answer.

“This is called diamond!” She said, a sarcastic fury waving in her words. “How much such a diamond costs? Can you tell me?”

“Of course, not …” Boy had no other answer again.

“How can you know? After all you have not seen anything but timber and carpenter’s tools. Listen to me, you can’t even imagine price of this diamond. Even if one thousand carpenters and one thousand farriers work day and night for complete one year, all their income can’t suffice to pay the price of this diamond.” She paused for a while. “Do you know from where this ring came?”

This boy even didn’t speak, obviously he has no answer but even if he had an answer he couldn’t speak. His tongue was dried like sand of desert. He just noticed that lady has worn the same dress that she wore the day boy saw her first. This was a pretty dress with fine golden embroidery, indeed a dress that suited a lady like her.

“This ring,” Said lady proudly “Is a gift from Governor’s son. He’s going to propose me soon and I’m eagerly waiting for that …” She looked into boy’s eyes. “He will be governor after his father and I’ll be most honorable lady in all cities and towns from here to one hundred and fifty miles onward on all sides. Do you think I’m that stupid to give my heart to a chap whose best dress is shabbier than uniform of my servants? Or do you think I can afford to take care of all hearts I’m offered many times by fools like you?”

These were moments when boy found his heart again at the place where he was used to see it. It was a crying out aloud, it was trembling vigorously from an inward earthquake.   
“If I call guards, you’ll spend rest of your life in prison but I’m in a good mood and don’t want to spoil it because of a moron.” Damsel went on.

Boy saw fine little crack appearing everywhere on surface of his heart, like the cracks and chasms those appear on face of earth during severe earthquakes.  
  
“So consider this to be utmost favor to you that I allow you to go back. Jump out over the wall from where you jumped in.” Lady’s voice became as scornful as it could; boy’s silence and glimpse of a begging helplessness in his eyes had fully assured her that poor creature that crept in to spoil a pleasant after noon was completely harmless.

Boy opened his mouth to say something but he didn’t knew what to say. He opened his mouth and closed again, fine little cracks on the surface of his heart were growing; earthquake was getting more intense and cracks bigger and wider. His head was swirling like a piece of paper swirls in a windstorm and hands and feet were getting cold.

“Before thinking about me again, think one hundred times about what you are and what your status is. So, would you like to go on feet now or do I need to call guards?”

Boy managed to rise on his feet somehow and walked towards the wall of garden like a mechanic toy. This time, wall was 100 times more difficult to climb. To climb this simple height of seven feet, he had to use more power than he ever used to split hardest log in carpenter’s workshop. He climbed somehow and fell outwards like an axed down tree.

He laid there as breathless as a dead person or to say, a dead tree but he was not dead anyway. He could see big deep cracks everywhere on surface of his heart and streams of blood gushing from those cracks. He could wonder at the finding that heart has its own blood, not the blood that it pumps to whole of body but a blood of his own that gushes out when deep cuts are made on the surface of heart. He could learn the fact that while heart bleeds and life drips out from heart with every drop of that blood, ordinary red blood that nourishes the body is still pumped to arteries with same vigor and thus human is forced to stay alive by same bleeding and dying heart. He could wonder why his eyes have refused to spill even a single tear when he has lost his whole universe and when life has became such worthless flow of passing moments. He could do all this, despite being chopped down by fate, he was not dead.

By the time when boy rose up and walked slowly on the road without knowing or care to think where he is going, afternoon was turned into evening and sun was descending down into west. Boy arrived at the bridge of river and stopped there, last rays of sun were glimmering on the surface of water like golden columns of house of God. He leaned on the railing of bridge and gazed at restless water, then at sun, then again at the water and then again at the sun. “This is my heart” He said looking towards setting sun “It’s descending down in river of sorrows and I have a dark night ahead, a long dark night that got no dawn” Then he looked at river. “This is my fate, a never ending flow of sorrows and grief that swallowed my sun and left me helpless to wail the loss at bridge.”

Boy spent another hour there, motionless, leaned on the railing, he gazed at water and then at sky again and again, with an empty mind and a heart soaked in its blood. Sun disappeared gradually, setting darkness free but before darkness could take reigns of heaven, Venice appeared at a corner of sky and many more stars followed her, then moon appeared like a king in court and darkness retreated to dark places it could find on earth, admitting that even in the darkest nights light has a share that darkness can’t take away. Boy tried to fit the moon in altered map but he could not find a suitable name for it. “Well, I can’t understand why moon is here, what purpose it’s serving and what name should I give to the silver column in water that has replaced golden column, but one thing is for sure, it’s a very dark and cruel night. I’m supposed to go home now, there is nothing left for me in this city and perhaps there is nothing for me in this whole world.”

It was early midnight when boy stepped back in his small town. How much world has changed within a span of less than a day, he left for city as a hopeful, excited and cheerful boy and returned from city as a desperate, broken and lost person. On the way home, many times he felt like bursting into tears any moment but there was a lump in his throat and his feeling were tied at their places inside him. Tears in eyes, grief in heart, laments on tongue, all were squirming to get out and sympathize with lost dreams of boy but an invisible hand had tied them at their own places.

He didn’t want to go home but was unable to decide where to go if not home. He roamed about aimlessly and didn’t stop until he found himself in the front of carpenter’s workshop, his day-long home for years. “So is this my ultimate destiny?” He asked himself “Am I supposed to slip wood and swallow down carpenter’s scolding forever?” Of course there was no answer. Only time does know answer of such question and we all know time is a silent worker, it doesn’t like to make noise, just keep working and changing everything , turning questions into answers and answers into new questions.

Without any specific intention in head, boy jumped over wall of workshop. Seemingly carpenter had a hard day without boy’s assistance, it’s not easy to do without a privilege once you get used to it. There were unfinished planks and half split logs scattered around in workshop, even the box of tools was not locked.

There was not much light in workshop. Boy sat at a log with head in hands and began to utter name of damsel of her dreams again and again, without any purpose, like a dying sailor chanting name of destination he wanted to reach at. He wanted to cry. It seemed as if he didn’t cry, his heart will blow up and poison of grief swelling inside will burst out, making his blood and breath poisonous and leaving him dead in the end. But he couldn’t cry. The lump shackled in his throat had still pretty much blocked everything, leaving the grief to swell and swirl more and more at its place.

He rose up and reeled around restlessly for a while before turning to work bench and picking a small and fine handsaw from tool box. He spent another half hour in cutting and trimming pieces of wood aimlessly, making small blocks and arranging them orderly on the bench as though performing a sacred duty. He picked an even smaller and finer handsaw. Then he took out all gouges and carving knives and with them turned rough, curvy and queer shaped pieces of no apparent use. Night passed slowly, pile of queer shaped wood pieces gradually scattered all over the work bench until there was no further space for even a hand sized block.

Boy began to throw all pieces away one by one. “This is the small hut I live in and I hate it” He said, holding a triangle shaped piece in hand and threw it away.
He picked another piece whose shaped have no clear definition. “This is the carpenter and I hate him” He threw that away more violently.
“This is tower of rich merchant’s palace and I hate it” This was a long round shaped wood piece with a cone at the end. Boy picked handsaw and cut it into many pieces.
“This is governor’s son” This piece of wood was by no means likewise a human, boy held this in hand for a while, reluctantly picked the saw then threw it again in tool box. “No, I can’t cut you into pieces even if I want” He said to wood piece “She loves you. You are lucky but at least I can't throw you away like I threw away carpenter but still I can throw you away.” He threw away the governor's son lightly.

Then he picked a piece of wood with smooth and fine curves. “This is my heart” He said. “But it needs to look exactly like my heart before deciding what I should do of it.”

He had never imagined that he can use these tools such skillfully and successfully. He carved the piece of wood very carefully exactly into shape of a heart, a wedge with two fine half-curves at the top, a sleek corner at the bottom and skillfully crafted slopes at both sides.

“But no, this is still not my heart; this heart has a smooth surface and fine curves while my heart has scars, bruises and cracks everywhere.” He murmured. “This heart needs bruises to look exactly like my heart.”

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