Ecstasy

"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive." ~ Jack London

"Cover me, Madam. Cover me. Cover me."

His wife spread her blanket and her arms around him. And held him. Tight into her bosom. No questions asked. Until his fever abated and his words flowed.

Then he told her that he might have seen a demon. But it was not a common demon, he would have known that by now. This Being had an uncommon, eternal grace. And that it held and spoke to him in words that jolted his sanity.

"You told him that?" She smiled, amused that her husband, despite his fears, managed to reply thrice that he could not read.

"It's the truth, isn't it? I can count, ride a camel and sell at profit. I can do a lot of things, but I can't read. Why should I admit otherwise?"

Her smile broadened, "What else?"

Then, he said, the being held and filled him with endlessness. Like something inside him, his very soul was torn and whitewashed with infinity. He thought that it was never going to end, or that it was only for a minute. And that he was losing his mind.

And she laughed. And he thought she was mocking him, but her laughter rang with kindness.

"Darling, if it's any news to you, then it is that you would be the last of all people to be cursed with insanity. Come, let's ask for counsel. I don't think that you would take my word for it, but I'd rather take this as good omen."

*

One the way back from the counselor, he asked her and his voice heavy with grief. "Do you still think it's a good omen?"

And she offered him her brightest smiles yet, "What, that you have got your life's purpose defined for you? You realize that men your age are usually struggling with middle-age crises, while you just got promoted. What's not good about that?"

He halted, and tightened his hold on her hand and searched her eyes. The longing crushed them both. "It will cost us everything we have ever had and known. Every. Thing."

"Then,” said the good wife, “It's a good thing that we do have that much to give."

5 comments:

  1. Wow... I just love it when you do this... simply beautiful..

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like that there is warmth in this story, and they are both very human. I would have preferred reading this to the traditional version taught to me in middle school.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1st post for #Cerpen29Hari . We hope more people inspired by your short story this February. As usual, we will always be your supporter. Well done @Angsar :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Should I add my applause? Or shall I first spend some time on looking at the text, take it in, chew on it and enjoy the taste? And shall I ultimately, after having swallowed the delicate substance, call the 'maitre de cuisine' herself for another dish?

    Okay. Done. Please Maitre, another one.

    (And I'm not even acquainted with the ingredients of the Arab cuisine :))

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mustafa, Masyhur, G30HM and of course, Coles,

    Can I be honest and vent? These stories make me nervous.

    I'm nervous when the inspiration comes, a wreck while working on the wording, and reduced to typing with just one finger when I'm done.

    But your kind comments, oh my, they take me a long, long way and make it seem worth every rusty knuckle I'm groaning from.

    So here's my biggest, happiest, gratefullest hugs to y'all.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete