She sat there, white as snow, in the balcony of our house in Pali Hill, gently swaying in her rocking chair. Had her long needles stopped moving in her wool, one could have mistaken her for dead. She hardly moved or saw anything else – I do not remember when I last noticed her doing something else. When I went to office, she would be knitting and when I came back she would be sleeping in the chair. The only other movement would be of her nostrils when the able hands of my wife would lead some delicious smell onto the balcony. Someday, I feared, she would be dead and I would just not know it.
Mrs. Hudson had been staying with us since time immemorial. My earliest memory of her was still as good as new – she was the same white woman fiddling with her needles and her wool. Sometimes, I wondered what she was exactly trying to stitch – I had never seen anyone in my house wear something made by Mrs. Hudson. I did not particularly hate her, but I could not say I loved her. She was an antique piece in my balcony – a family heirloom. That she was my grandmother was another matter altogether.
“There are fucking rats in the house!” she yelled. When she shrieks, my wife sounds like a farting old dog. I hated her…really.
“Why are you shouting at me, woman?!” I shouted back, “Why don’t you do something about it?”
It was the not the kind of Sunday morning I was expecting. I wanted to go to the church and catch up with some old friends, but I was afraid of leaving her alone with my grandma.
“I will poison your white statue in the balcony”, she retorted, “Then you’ll understand why I am shouting at you”. Her voice now had that sharp tinge; a woman scorned was pure hell.
“Goddamn you! She is my grandma for God’s sake!” my voice was faltering. I was never a strong man and she took full advantage of that. Over the years, the fights between us increased and I would have thrown her out of my house had it not been the stupid pre-nuptial agreement that I had foolishly signed.
I walked out of the house, slamming the door behind me – that was the only thing I could do.
At the coffee shop near Pali Naka, I sat sipping café mocha with my old time friend, Shawn. I said nothing, for I had nothing much to say.
Sometimes, the loneliness inside me reflects on my face – the outflowing, extrovert I pretended to be hid behind unknown veils that
“So how’ve you been doing, pal?” Shawn wasn’t smiling today. He sensed something was wrong.
“Nothing man, just too much work these days” I replied. I could hear excited giggles from a group of teenagers who were sitting some tables
ahead. Stupid oafs, I thought.
“I have to tell you something serious, mate…”
“Shoot” My voice was almost a whisper now. Last time when Shawn had uttered those words was to tell that my brother had run off with a
“What about my wife?”
“She is having an…..” he paused, “affair”.
“Don’t you FUCK with me, Shawn” my voice was quivering, I could almost kill, “How do you know?”
Shawn hung his head in shame. “She is having an affair with my brother. He told me himself” he blurted out. It was as if he had known for a long time and could muster courage to speak up on this godforsaken day.
“It has been more than six months”, he went on, “I found out yesterday when I saw him myself, going to your home after you had left…”
His voice faltered, I knew he knew details I wouldn’t like to know. I walked out of the coffee shop.
Life had turned upside down. I loathed her – Grandma must have seen both of them coming yesterday. “Why was she silent, stupid old woman” I was angry to the point of breaking down. Thanks to my stupidity, I could do nothing about her infidelity. The house was on her name, my car was on her name, I would be on the streets if she wished. And it would all be legal.
My phone sprang into life. It was from my home.
“Hello” said the gruff voice on the other end.
“Yes?” The fucking bastard calls me from my home now.
“Its Officer Abhishek from Pali Hill police station. There has been a
murder at your residence.”
The phone fell from my hand. Poor old grandma. The bitch had finally killed her – The rat poison… fucking hell….but how did the police
know?….the neighbors must have heard….but then…. Questions, answers, questions answers – I could hardly reach my home
fast enough. I was panting, years of smoking had taken a toll on my lungs.
A man dressed in green stood in the doorway. I could see my grandma silhouetted against the beautiful background on my balcony. I moved past the man. I could hardly walk. For so many years she was there with us- I just couldn’t imagine her gone.
Her eyes were still open. There was a blank stare in her face. She didn’t move. Snow white, my dear old Grandma. I sat at her feet and
held her cold hand after all these years “I am sorry” I whispered, my voice breaking with tears.
“Sir,” the officer muttered, “In the kitchen, please”
So the bitch was in the kitchen. “Take her and throw her in the dungeons, hang her from a street lamp post”, I thought. I slowly
walked over….almost tiptoeing.
The kitchen door was ajar.
The officer made way for me.
She was sitting by the sink. Her mouth was open in a silent scream.
And then, she had a knitting needle pierced right through her left eye and back through her skull.