His grained abnormalities gracefully glided over the colored compendium ,capturing each pixel by his aged neurons. His placid woolen habiliments covered his freckled weak derma along with his undead pliable nails. His shriving arm turned each page with his left strength. The bell of the nearby ice cream store distraught his connection with the book in front of him to reality outside his private space. He noticed little tots running into the artificial sugar factory dragging their fighting parents. All sorts of flavours were available nowadays. The new generation kids would be like ‘I want Butterscotch and Mint covered with blueberry syrup ,along with chocolate sprinkles and grapes on top’. Long before it was more like ‘I want the red one’. Watching the young humans licking ice cream made his mouth water. He averted his eyes to a young girl and boy flirting in front of him. Something about them made the old man smile. He did not know why he was smiling. He was delighted about something he forgot about. He tried his maximum to remember but in vain. He tried to trace his mind back to the colourful pages in front of him. He never read the books. He just looked at the pictures. He noticed a buzzing mosquito targeting his fragile body. He was too tired to kill the evil tiny devil spawn , so he paved the insect’s way towards the window. Through his drained grey iris , a shadow of a timber frame imprinted on his rods near the window. He grabbed the handle of his cane and entrusted his weight onto the wooden stick and left gravity to root him down to the ground. He approached slowly to the newly discovered framed photograph. The attire of the photograph seemed alien to him, maybe something before BC. They both wore gown-like clothes in the photo. The black and white picture consisted of a sobbing male entrusting his fist into a wall and a female, who was being dragged away on the other side of the wall.
“It’s a dramatic representation of Pyramus and Thisbe. ” came the uncharted sound from above. It was one of the new assistants. He was not familiar with the old man’s face.
“Ovid’s metamorphoses .The lovers were able to communicate only through a crack in the wall between their houses. They both sucided in the end after a failed eloping attempt. It’s a tragic love story. Our old owner put it up. She had some emotional attachment to this picture. There is a rumour that it actually happened in her life. She was forced to depart from her lover too when she was young “
The old man was slapped on his face with the years gone by all at once.
There was a moment of realisation. He went back fifty years into the past. He relived the moment he saw her for the first time. How they fell in love through the wall blocking their fleshly union. Castes were the villains in their love story.Their exposed plans of eloping made the family shift villages overnight. Their love was murdered. Before leaving for the unknown location, they promised to find each other. She was a seamare and he was a seahorse. As their souls mated for life.The photograph embodied their romantic felicity.Tears almost filled the old man’s eyes.
“It is time for us to close the library for the afternoon, Mr Varkey. Your son is here to pick you up.” interrupted a youthful librarian. He stared into oblivion for a whole minute. He felt sad and overwhelmed but he didn’t know why? What did he forget to be in such a condition he wondered. Soon he forgot about the wondering. The old man examined his pocket watch to know it was late for his lunch somewhere.
“Young man,Would you guide me to the entrance?” requested the old man. The librarian guided the senile gentleman through the pathways of large mahgongy shelves. The intense smell of cellulose and lignin pressured into his decayed nares . Flashes of memories and dreams glimmered inside his head. Fading slowly what appeared. Remembering her again , not knowing when it would be the last time to do so. Every section of air that surrounded each book had a story to tell. Stories like Parvathi’s and Varkey’s. Every ceiling,walls and floor had an emotion to share. They are all abstract and private. Only existing in one’s own perspective. It is said it only takes three generations for people to forget who you are. Soon a person’s last presence will depend on the dying memory cells of a person. The old man was transferred to a young man on the road and they parted ways.
“You know the old guy?”,questioned the assistant to his boss when he came back after dropping his favourite client.
“His name is Varkey. He has been coming here regularly for the past few months. His son drops him here almost every week for half an hour or so. We usually keep an eye on him. He may wander off and get lost here. He reads the same few books again and again. Maybe he just looks at the pictures. He often stares at that photograph and cries. He does not remember much. Alzheimer’s. I thought he remembered something from his head which he related from the picture in the frame. His son told me that he apparently knew our owner when they were young. Poor guy didn’t meet her before she passed away. The library helps him remember. Not always but at least sometimes. He is seen very happy after going home from here. He does not even remember why he is happy but he is happy. The son tried to create such a similar atmosphere at home but the man didn’t care. It was not the ambience alone then. It was the place .That’s why his son drops him here unsupervised even though his father is sick. Oh God! Is that the time ?? Come, Let’s close up for lunch ”
They locked the old furnished library named ‘The Seamare’s Siren’ ,leaving the memories to swim in the darkness. Concealed and Silent.