Dark Coffee Boat

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
The crying was overwhelming. The sound rung in my ears like when the church bells sang. Laughter flowered out of Her lips, blooming into the jubilant sound I hear. Her hair tangled like a bird’s nest from the lack of sleep she got, yet the dark clouds that were under her eyes disappeared. The tears continued to flow down her face creating streams of briny water to shine her cheeks.
She never cried in front of me. Her emotions were always trapped inside her blue eyes. I yearned for them to pour through, but they remained imprisoned, unallowed to show themselves. Sometimes they bang against the bars, as the corners of the prison redden. Sometimes they escape through the bars, as the droplets cover her lashes. The Imprisonment was to shield me she whispered. “Because as the sun rises in one place, the dark haunts in others.” She would always tell me. The Light held my happiness, but her happiness was taken by the dark. Stolen. And so now she imprisons the remaining feelings she has, to protect me, but really. To protect Her.
But now she cries, and frees them. They burst and splatter her face, full with beautiful colors of emotions from her anguish, worry, relief and joy. She’s delirious, high on her own happiness which was nonexistent to her and the world. To think this jubilation came from her simply rowing on the stream. It’s Taking Her, away from Me. My Home, that did not belong to her anymore. She rowed away in her dark coffee boat. Chipped away by all the fail attempts to conquer the same things she is trying to. Trying to free herself. From the chains of everyone’s Expectations. Expecting her to marry. Expecting her to be a mother. Expecting her to be a daughter. Expecting her to bear her child. Expecting her to stay Quiet. Silent. And so she did. She hid from the world and imprisoned her mind to protect it from the subjection of others. And as the seasons turned, she grew quiet. Her silence screamed, as she stared at every person. She stared as if she knew something everyone else didn’t. She knew what Freedom tasted like.
She felt Freedom fly through her fingers as she raised her fingers to touch the sun. She heard Freedom as the cool water swished underneath her boat. She saw Freedom when she viewed the infintless horizon staring back at her. Waiting and waiting for her arrival. They were on the same frequency, separate from the world.
She never knew I saw. I saw her white dress slip through Our doorway. I saw her trembling hands grab Our dark coffee fishing boat. I heard her laughter through the brittle walls that surrounded me, trapped me. Her tears could be seen from miles away; her flushed cheeks had never been visible to the public eye until now. The salty water glistening off her cheeks. I opened Our door and stared at her running to the river. Thump, thump, thump, thump her feet hit the dirt ground. Her feet hit the ground faster, time sped up with her. I kept staring at her hair that flowed with the rhythm of the wind too fast for me to keep up. I only got to stare at her back in her white dress carrying Our dark coffee boat because not once did she look back. Her laugh echoed as it cut through the silence of the morning, but that doesn’t matter to her anymore. Morning, noon, night: are all synonyms to her now in Her own world. And to get to that world she had to liberate herself from Ours. Our house. Our country. Our family. Me. She had to be free from Me.

• Inspired by the book God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy