(Photo Credit: Sue Vincent)
The brooding clouds in monochrome haphazardly blotted out the blue sky lending a somber veneer to the entire landscape. Even though the sun was bravely trying to dispel the surrounding gloom, it efforts – as encapsulated by the bare branches of the tree behind which the star seemed to be hiding – were turning out to be an exercise in sincere futility.
Venky stood on top of a promontory that lent a spectacular view of the landscape. A herd of restless antlers had just streaked past the grasslands. There was the unmistakable smell of rain in the air. Besides where Venky was standing was a small wooden table atop which was placed a half empty bottle of Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whiskey and a pair of high powered binoculars. Scotch and scenery were two favoured companions of solitude, especially when such a solitude was involuntary. Venky had thought more than just twice before making this journey. The memories attached to this place were too numerous and too scarring. Yet he had to come.
The setting sun, the dark clouds, the irregular spread of trees and the unspoken but beautiful wilderness all had the inviolable imprimatur of Ash. His very own Ash, with whom he had laughed, lived and loved. A free and restless spirit; a bird with expansive wings meant for soaring towards great heights; a soul which was a prism of dazzling colours; and a music whose chords were maddeningly unpredictable. If he was the silence she was his sound; if he was the reader she was his words and where he was order she was chaos. They always said unlike poles attract. Yes, attracted he was, irresistibly, inevitably and impossibly. Her appeal lay in her unpredictability. She could drive him to the brink of frustration and exasperation, yet drawing him dangerously close. But it was a matter of time before the bird has to fly away. And fly away it did. But not before leaving him with a burden of memories that was both bitter and sweet.
As Venky took yet another generous swig from the bottle, he concentrated on the setting sun harder than usual.
Some portraits were best left unfinished. Some stories best remained unsaid.