“Let’s Not Talk About AB” by Sabyasachi Nag29 min read

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Photo by Shalvee Jodagee

Jordan said you had a rough night. They would’ve put you on antibiotics by now, the pain should ease. Tomorrow we will know what’s wrong, maybe all this blood and sweat is for something better, maybe they will let you have visitors, we will see.

A storm is on its way to pummel the City. You don’t know this. I have been driving for XO Limo. It has been over a year. Now waiting outside Sandman’s in a Porsche Cayenne Premier for Beena K. Tired. Still, I would take this any day over night security at 301 Bloor. Pays better. Besides, I needed something regular. Beena K has been my regular for the past six months. Although she never told me, I think, she hit someone. I think something’s cooking inside the hotel. I can tell. She has needed a Limo every week the past six months, every day this past week. I like Beena K. I think we are more than regulars, friends. I think so. Or we were, until last night. Last night was bad. I have been out in the cold for some time. I don’t know.

You could say she’s pretty, if it weren’t for those grey eyes – they are terrifying. I am not saying this just to make you squirm in your bed. Your eyes are not really grey.

Jordan said the doctors were hard to find when he got you in. He turned out good for you – Jordan Welsh – playwright extraordinaire – made for Broadway. I envied him when he moved into your suite permanently. I envy him now. I could have done that, you know, but you never asked. I never asked. I am not complaining. We were regulars, in our own way, I think. I kept coming back with my stuff, you kept me hooked – where’s the heart? Only you could say that. You could have said go away, do something else. Then I had to go, I could have stayed, that’s all I am saying. Anyways, it seems the doctor on call told Jordan distraction is good for you, it might help the pain. So, I started writing this.

It has been over half an hour since Beena K went inside to meet up with this man whose name is Amar or Amal, I don’t know for sure. Let’s just call him A. He is not my type. After what happened last night, I am actually worried about Beena K spending so much time with him, alone in a hotel room. Worried like one worries about a lover one has yet to ask out. I know what you are thinking. No. There is no sex involved. Not yet. Although we did come close, really close. I think so. Not once, several times. But, when I thought she was asking for it, she looked so wasted, it would have amounted to something else. It’s a different kind of loving with Beena K – whipped cream and sugar. If you are running on empty, it fills you up real quick and you are no longer empty, but you have a dry mouth.

She’s some kind of Medusa head. She looks at you and you turn to stone. You’d say Bata, it’s just a story, no one can do that. Even after what happened last night, she calls the boss early in the morning and says it has to be me driving her, or she will  go somewhere else. It’s that kind of loving. But right now, I am worried. I want to reach her and don’t know how. I don’t know if she is fucking him or if she is in danger. Maybe I will ask for  her number tonight, even though that alone can get me fired. I will take the chance. I sure will. At least next time I will be able to call when I need to. Like when I am worried. Don’t worry. Do your fucking job. I used to think this gig might go long. Year, more than a year. Longer. Who knows? Everything seemed perfect and then this A washed up. Perhaps it had all been planned.

I realize I write faster in longhand, or maybe it’s just because it’s Monday. I think its fear – the dread of being  yanked out of power – all of a sudden – a flat line. That’s what I worry about. Jordan says you are still unconscious. They are getting ready to take you through tests. He says don’t worry it will be fine. He says they are just taking precautions. They have shut down the Emergency Department, converted two full floors into wards – precautions my ass, you might be dead by the time I am done writing this, or not. I hope not.

Once you wake up you will be surprised how much space they have given you. You wanted space all your life, now you have it. I know what you’d say – who needs what you already have. Hopefully, you will be able to read this, or, I could read it to you. When I see you. I don’t mind. That is, if they let me in. Just me alone. Not with Jordan hanging around. He says I should call back in the morning. My thoughts are all antsy-pantsy and I don’t want to read this aloud with the world watching. I know this will drive you mad. The form is brutal, Bata, look ahead, stay in your lane. Damn that. Last night I was looking ahead, staying focused, and tonight, I can’t. You know what Beena K said before she got into the hotel?

“Don’t park near the entrance.”

“Why?”

“Someone might see me.”

She likes being invisible. But I need the light. I’ll write something quick and get back into hiding. Before she gets here.  Hope I will be able to read it out to you aloud, without anyone  watching. There, I am repeating myself. I think it’s because I can’t concentrate as hard as I have to keep watching out for Beena K. I don’t want her sneaking up behind me, all of a  sudden. If I see her, that’s it. I will have to stop. And that will be that for now. She’s full time.

I think I’ll see her when she comes out, if she comes out. There aren’t many cars in the lot. Mondays are slow. Slower than Sundays, and Saturdays. I know that. I was here, not last Saturday, the one before that. They were having some kind of a party at Beena K’s. She won a major grant for her film. She’s making a four-act bildungsroman – climax and then something  else. She had me read it. It’s about this brown girl who wakes up one day to find both her parents gone in the crash of Flight 182. You don’t know 182. It’s a brown thing. Anyways, the girl finds out she’s bisexual when a woman elder in the foster family touches her and they go down in a spiral. The girl finds her sex then she finds her body after an early cancer diagnosis deals her a double mastectomy, then the girl finds out she is in a triangular marriage involving her movie mogul husband and his ex who he couldn’t ever shake off fully, then she plots revenge and  something happens to the car they are driving and her husband is dead and she becomes the prime suspect. It could be based on true events. I don’t know. You don’t know. No one can know everything about people you seem to know.

As I was saying, Saturday before last, I was right here when Beena K had me taxi two of her guests back and forth after the party. Two brown girls, in their forties, one with a permanently pursed duck face. First, they asked me to drop them at a Keele Street house – a French style manor with columns and a hanging balcony. The house had a red Ferrari by the front door, parked crooked. The porch lights were on, the house lights were on, a shadow against the white sheers on the window by the balcony was moving about frantically. Something was going on. The duck-faced woman noticed it as we got closer, perhaps she was expecting something, she said, “turn, turn, turn around.”

“Where now?”

So, I carted them back to Beena K and something happened there and they wanted to get to a hotel and I brought them here. I like this hotel, especially the parking. There’s always room  for the big car. Then they had me stay back.

“How Long?”

“It won’t be long.”

I could have gone, you know, but I stayed. Beena K wanted me to stay. Don’t worry about the billing, just stay. She wants me to stay every time she has a house party. She likes me doing errands – weed, booze, smokes, tampons, whatever. That’s not my job, but I don’t mind. They usually have their food taken out of this fancy Indian place around the corner. I like the food. They make it taste real spicy, but it’s a total rip off.

The party shift follows the usual arc – I stay in the car for a bit before Faye calls me in, on one pretext or another. Faye is Beena K’s live-in maid. She imported her from Calcutta.  Beena K was born here, but she and Faye and I, we speak the same language, even though Faye says she is Anglo-Indian. Now, Faye has a thing for me, I know that. She’d go – Beena K’s looking out for you. I know she is not. I know Beena K’s enjoying  herself at the party with her girlfriends. But Faye would say something like that just to have me come in. I like Faye.

Faye got flown over here about the time Beena K moved in with a man who would later become her husband – Wazz Khan. He owned the studio where Beena K apparently interned after school. One thing led to another and Beena K got pregnant. Then they got married and then she suffered a miscarriage and then she ended up adopting the two-year-old daughter from Wazz’s previous marriage. The daughter is now twenty-five and according to Faye:  ruined like a peach. She lives with Beena K when she is not in rehab; Faye stayed on.

At the party they were doing some kind of weed that goes with mangoes. Where would I get mangoes after midnight? Luckily the Convenience had it. Faye is naïve, you know. Once my hand brushed her thigh and she gave me a scared look, as though that alone would make her pregnant, the next moment she wanted to do it in the back of the Limo. I am not exaggerating. I am not trying to tell you something you don’t want to know. It would  have cost me the job. We went to her room instead. She has the entire basement to herself. Lots of space. She made me stay the night, she went: Beena K madam is throwing up bad, she needs you to stay. Of course.

At the party, Beena K had much to drink, smoke some. She’s smart. Not me. She needed me to drive her guests, like I said, home, or wherever else they wanted to be. The weed they were doing smelt like the Blueberry Cheesecake stuff we were doing  back then. All of them in fancy spring coats – so bright and blingy, and moonstoned – you’d want to put them on. The last two guests I was talking about, they  had me stay right here at Sandman’s until morning. That’s when I noticed the empty lot. Hope it won’t be that long tonight. I can’t be sleeping all day tomorrow. I want to get back to the  regular beat; see you tomorrow. Jordan said they might let in visitors tomorrow. I am tired. It’s a tiring, fucking, job. Last week was horrible. Last night was terrible.

By comparison, last Saturday was a piece of cake. That’s the thing with being a regular. You have a good week and then everything turns bad, all of a sudden. I was back in my apartment – dead, or almost – in the shower stall washing up, when Beena K called again. No shit. Just work. She was reminding me about this man A, who I needed to pick up at the airport. That was last Sunday when A showed up.

Sunday is when I visit my mother at Paradise. A week is enough before she forgets me again. You don’t know her, but she did remember, or at least she said she did, when I showed your pictures – the last ones I still had on my phone back then – the  ones from the terrace party at 301 after they made you the City’s Poet Laureate. You were up there reading from “Athena” – in Medusa’s voice. Your face flushed. Raising your eyes to turn everyone to stone. Arguing for Athena – how her curse was actually twisted mercy. Fuck that cliche. Everyone looks stoned in that picture anyway, everyone, except the person on the podium – you – singing your anthem – unrecognizable from the woman I was with at the apartment not even an hour back. Athena transformed you.

Sundays, I also drop in at my daughter’s school. See how she’s doing, who she’s dating. She keeps me raw, you know, she reminds me of something – a lack, I think; rewires me to something – not youth, not even innocence. I think it’s a kind of raw unknowingness. I used to have that easy, not anymore. Not that Sunday before last. That Sunday I had to get A from the airport and wait around in her driveway because He might need something. 

Beena K said this man A was some kind of god – Poseidon?  Must be. You are the scholar of Greek Classics, you will know. Beena K warned me to get there on time. A was flying all the way from Mumbai to premier his film at some film fest here in TO. Of course, he has to quarantine first. But he doesn’t care. He has been at her place for the past week, been the friend with benefits, I suppose, and now he is in this hotel fucking her. Or dismantling her. After what happened last night, surely that. And I know, he is finding it hard just yet to mutt back to Beena  K’s mansion, or he would. Wazz had it built after Beena K refused to leave the Italian villa they rented for their honeymoon. Some story like that. Faye told me. But it’s hers now, the house and the daughter and the movie studio.

Faye keeps telling me, Beena K is long-term, keep her, while she keeps me. Unlike you, I find it hard, keeping. This friend A is the hot shot who’d make her next film. Her funding got approved, I told you. There will be a film. I told you the story. I told her mine. She said pitch it to him.

Soon as he popped out of the airport gate, I knew it was him. Soon as he got inside the car, he unbuttoned right down to his shirt – hairy chest, oversized gold chain, cologne that smelled like leather. Why didn’t I have a pickup sign for him, he asked. I  said it was for his own good. People might go nuts finding him here. Of course, I was joking. On our way home, I told him about my CBC short. I had to. I told him about the stories I have written up since. He said he was tired.

He seemed tired. He got the joke late, believed it, even though he knew it was a lie. Lies are all right, so long as they are believable. Yes. Wonder how it feels, hearing your own shit played back years later. I am sure you meant it then. Does it still hold good after all those lies about you wanting to be alone? Of course. Truth is, I hate pickup signs. I find them demeaning. I must be vain. Anyways, the manner in which this man A shut me up, I knew I was doing alright, lying.

Waiting is all right too. You just have to find something. Jordan just texted – they put you on a liquid feeding plan. They are not allowing visitors anytime soon. I know you have your cell phone. But I don’t want to waste time calling. Beena K might come out any moment and start yelling. Like last night. They were doing an interview for an entertainment channel, I was outside, then she came out flailing her hands, yelling. Apparently, someone said something at the party, someone called Lisa who used to live with her. Then something happened. Then she sat inside the car, looking straight ahead into the snow and she wasn’t yelling anymore. It was so quiet inside the car, you could hear her breathe, hear my stomach growl past the swish of the wiper blades. Then she fell asleep. Sometime later when she woke up, her body shook against the seat, she kept whispering as if she had to tell herself to stay solid – breathe, swallow, don’t  die.

403 was deserted. I didn’t feel anything looking at the snow. Earlier, I used to feel something – a kind of light. I felt something inside me had ended, as if I needed to start all over – the long dig – out of one winter hole to another. It was a slow crawl on the highway. In the rear view, I saw Beena K take off a glove, touch the edges of her mouth, touch the white v-neck sweater dress she wore, touch the ripped knee leggings under her shearling coat, touch her wig, now frazzled after the long day, touch the gold pin on the left lapel of her coat, casually revealing the black and purple of her dead husband’s brand – WAZZ. Something from the past. She kept that, too. She wears it everywhere.

You said Athena was right about Medusa and wrong about Poseidon. Or was it the other way round. I forget. Suddenly the storm got worse, we were on 410, dead slow. The car ahead, a black Silverado, it had a tail light missing. I remember looking at A, at his dark hat, contrasted against the snowed window. His face turned away, looking out. You could tell something had happened.

The car ahead was braking oddly. I remember that. Wondering. Who else was driving in this storm? For a second, I wanted to know, to confirm my intuition – I wasn’t the only asshole fighting a storm. Then the Silverado slowed down, stopped completely. I could see the rotating flashes from the salt truck ahead. Everything came to a standstill.

A said I had one minute to make the pitch. I launched into this story I had been working on – this character modeled after Asifa Bano. You know her. She’s the one you asked me to cut out, frame and forget. Let’s not talk about AB, you said. Who cares about that here? Let’s just say I do – she is working the fields when masked horsemen come and grab her, like your Medusa. AB is taken into a temple. She is raped eight days by eight men. This part is true. They come to her dressed like gods. They come on high horses. They leave when they are done. They come back. They keep coming. AB is a ruined peach – she is eight or nine or ten, who cares – she dies. But AB’s mother – who put her there in the field – she is outraged for her being there when these men came by. Now Act 2. We see her body disowned, now she is the snake-locked Medusa, hanging down from mulberry trees, haunting the country, waiting for revenge. But who would she go after? The gods that came on horses? Or the mother that disowned her? The townsfolk worry about retribution, mythology. They think there will be war. But there is no war. Instead, a song pervades the country. A song so enchanting, you must shut your ears or it will take you in its power. Those that pay no heed are forever lost, mind-sucked inside a dark cave where they meet others like them. The cave is dark but they can see light like a  pinhole at the far end from where the song seeps in like opium. They keep walking towards the crack in the cave. One by one the town is taken, then the valley. Police, military, clergy, the whole country, they look for the dark cave and when they can’t find it, they blame it on AB. She is cast in stone like Ahalya  – the eternal infidel – worshipped for beauty, or rather, what beauty can do. And in the temple, where she was raped, they draw a thousand labia-shaped eyes.

Right after that, A cranked up the music as if he wanted to flush out what he had heard. His phone, paired to the car stereo, played Three 6 Mafia. He started singing along – “that’s the way the game goes.” Then he started slurring.

“Look ahead. Stay in your lane.” Beena K said.

I noticed the traffic ahead of us had once again ground to a standstill, brought to a crawl by the salt truck. She thought I wasn’t looking. Her voice – razor sharp. In the rear view I could see wiper blades, like little arms clearing furry eyes. It was ten after one.

“And then?” A looked out the fogged window one second, before leaning forward, answering his own question. “Say the film gets made, say the film goes back to the haunted country. What then? The filmmaker is asked to get inside the cave, bend over, BAM, he is shot in the ass and that’s the final take on Medusa, act four, after vampires suckle her dry.”

I saw Beena K darting a glance at A, who let out a chuckle, and they burst out in a laugh, as if to fill the void in the car with something more familiar. A couple of police cars were stationed on the shoulder of the highway, doing nothing, the red and blue from their beacon flashes fell on the road, slick from the frozen ice the plow couldn’t scrape out.

“You thinking what I am thinking you are thinking?” He said, before pulling her towards him and kissing her, passionately.

After a while she said, “Stop.”

I regretted making the pitch at all. I realized I had slumped over, as if I was drunk. I straightened up.

“Stop what?” A asked.

“I don’t know.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I don’t know.” Beena K slid up to the edge of the seat. The cars ahead had started moving at a clip.

“This music’s hurting my fucking head.”

Now 6iX9ine was playing. A tried to sing along “She wanna fuck, fuck, fuck.” It was clear he had a good sense of the beat. I kept driving, you know, for a long time. It felt like a long time. I felt stupid. A said, his face turned toward Beena K, “Here, now listen to my pitch.”

“No.” she said.

“It will take a minute.”

“Not again.”

“It’s an alternative story.”

“Alternative to what?”

“Don’t you have one minute?”

She didn’t reply, so he started.

“Consider this character – Q. She is chasing Karla Homolka. Q is like you. They had an item on Karla last night, that’s how I know her. But you are from here, you already know her. Right?”

“Turn it off.” Beena K pointed at his phone.

“Calm down,” he said. “Listen.”

She looked at the mirror to check what I was doing.

“The movie starts after Karla’s out of jail. She has gone missing. She has changed her name. But someone spots her at a childcare centre in a small town. It’s all over the papers.”

“How does she look? Still the same, pretty?”

“We don’t know. They got a profile shot. The town is close to the border. They have a lot of strangers in that town. They can’t believe a serial killer could come to live with them. Not until they see this ad in the papers. This ad – requesting information about Karla, the pretty monster. Q placed the ad because Karla is her story. Fifty dollars for any leads on Karla. This has everyone in town worried about everyone. But something else happens.”

A truck sped out of nowhere, splattering the windscreen with slush. Then we passed Bramalea. I was happy we were moving.

“Go on,” Beena K said.

“Q starts getting calls from the townsfolk. Q meets the potential informers, she pays the price, they feed her stories. Oh! We saw Karla at the church, at the cemetery, at the theatre, outside the school. Yes, Karla was with a teenager. Yes, she was kissing someone really young. She’s the pretty monster who has returned. Now Q is not sure what to believe. She realizes she has been taken. And then the real Karla shows up with someone called Raul. And she is no longer pretty, just old. And she is no longer strange or menacing. No longer a monster, and Q can’t do Karla anymore.”

“This is not even believable.”

“Why would you believe that gentleman and not me?”

Beena K said nothing. A turned around, kissed her again. His hat fell to the floor as he tried pinning her to the seat. It was hard watching them and watching the road at the same  time. I would have rather pulled over to the shoulder, let them finish. They were down there for a bit, before Beena K floated back up. I had taken my eyes off the road. The Silverado ahead swung abruptly over the shoulder and started flashing emergency lights as if trying to show me what I  should do. It was half past two. Then A said something into  Beena K’s ear.

“Show me,” she said.

“You sure?” he said.

“Show it,” she said, louder this time.

“Forget it. Let’s talk about your film. Why don’t you want to talk about your film with anyone?” He looked away, his voice tined and dry.

“You think you can flake out at will and come back?”

“I didn’t flake out.”

“Of-course you did. I would believe you if this wasn’t the only time.”

“Everything would be OK if I was coming to you now?”

“It’s humiliating. Just fucking stay awake.”

“Can we just pull over?” he said.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked.

“Yes. Please. Sir.” A said. I remember that. Because that was the first time he said anything to me after I made my  pitch. That was a bad idea. I know. You have said it.

“Pull over on the shoulder here.”

“Keep driving,” Beena K said.

It looked like she had had enough. She looked drained.

“Right here.” He rolled down the windows.

“Keep going.” Beena K forced him away as he tried sliding close to her again, her wrist striking his face. Then she began to cry. Then they remained silent for a while before he managed to edge back up and put his arm around her again. And they remained like that.

The roads were finally clearing, I exited 410, now on the final stretch. No one said another word. I sneaked up quietly behind a line of cars built up at the ramp heading to Heart lake.

After a while, I saw them kissing again. Passionately. Like Chekhov or Gurov, kissing the lady with the little dog. She said nothing, except to dart a glance at me, as though it were not my place to be looking at them making out. I noticed she opened her bag, popped another pill, must be Percocet. He dragged her down again. He was doing something down there I couldn’t see.

“Stop,” she said.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you want it?” he whispered, letting her go.

Beena K said nothing, except to make sure I wasn’t watching. I looked ahead – at the ice-pelted side roads, missing one turn, then another, hating it inside the car, not knowing what. I could feel my eyes, my throat – hungry for a shot of sugar; a stabbing ache shooting through the right side of my body. I couldn’t bear driving anymore. I knew I had to hurry. So, I started driving faster. I looked out the window. The storm dead quiet, between the dark windows on either side of the high rent neighbourhood.

They went down again.

“Stop,” she yelled again. And it was no plain shout. Almost a shriek, incoherent, laced with venom, rising from the depth of her belly. He was doing something to her I couldn’t see. Perhaps sliding his hands up her shirt in a manner she didn’t want. Perhaps holding her chest in a manner she didn’t want. I wanted to see what he was doing, but it was dark. Stop. Stop. Stop. She didn’t want him touching something. Maybe a scar. I don’t know. Then she struck his body with force and he let go.

“You don’t want it then?”

“You do that again I will have you thrown out the car.”

“Is that what you want tonight?”

Beena K kept her jaws clenched, ready to strike if he came close.

“Is that how you want it? In a heap?” He tried once more to take her hand in his, leaning in to draw his face closer to her face. She seemed cross about whatever he had done earlier. I  don’t know. I had never seen her this mad. She hit him again, on his chest, harder this time. And then something got to him – his  face shook, his jaw clenched tight, his teeth drawn out like an animal gone rabid. Fat, twisty veins popped up on his forehead. He enlarged himself like a monster, grabbed her, dug his fingers deep into her neck, deep and hard, until she was lost in the dark under his body. It seemed as though he were taking her right there.

It seemed like a gag, at first. It seemed like he would stop, unfreeze, let go any moment, and it would end in a laugh. Until he kept going into her, I think, forcing himself, deeper, so it seemed. For a bit I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t know if I needed to stop, do something.

Then I saw her fending him off, striking him viciously with her legs, hands, digging her nails into his flesh through the unbuttoned shirt. I kept watching while the car gathered an awkward speed in the slick, swung off the street, ratcheting into the snow bank before spinning back, scuffing past a parked Cherokee on the curb.

“Fuck.” They both yelled as I waited for the spinning vehicle to stop.

“Watch the fucking road.” Beena K said as I stopped the engine before rolling the window down to check the damage. The sharp chill slammed into my face.

“Turn. Turn. Turn. Let’s go.” She said, leaning over, trying to look past the dark. My car was facing the opposite way.

“It’s nothing,” she said. “Just turn around and we will be fine.”

When we reached Beena K’s home I noticed she had to wobble her way up the long driveway to the main entrance. I reasoned it was because she was drunk. Or maybe, something was wrong with her new dress shoes, or something had happened to her. I couldn’t tell. I watched her fumble at the door, taking her sweet time to  slide the key into the hole. Then she stood like a ghost under the door frame for A to walk up to her, and then she slammed the door shut in his face so close it must have got his nose.

I didn’t know what the heck to do. I waited. I saw him banging on the door, working the doorbell, working his phone, working the cold, blowing steam into his gloved hands, before he kicked the door a couple of times and ran back to the waiting car, back to where he sat earlier.

“What are you looking at?” he said. “Let’s go.”

“Where?”

“Just drive.”

And then I drove him here. To this hotel. And I don’t know why, somehow, I knew I had to get back. To Beena K. I dropped him and drove up to her house. I looked around, into the  snow-lit street – calm, serene, undisturbed – as I waited. At the far end of the crescent, I could see the flicker of moving images on a dark window. I saw a frayed wreathe stuck to her door, from the holidays, plastic and well-set. It was half past two.

For a moment I thought I would call Faye, then I wondered, what if Beena K opened the door right then, what would I say to her? Did I have something to say? In a few hours it would be morning. I knew that. I headed back home. I could have stayed.

Now Jordan says he was able to get you fresh clothes. They are not allowing anyone past the front desk, not even he can see you. Hope everything will be all right by tomorrow. Hope they let him in. Me too. I will bring real cheesecake. I feel you might want it.

Now inside the car, the cranked-up heat has fogged the windows, everything’s gone fuzzy. The lot is empty. Through the snow, the hotel entrance – shining. There is no one there. Everyone’s home.

Beena K once told me about Wazz’s ex-wife. She told me of her breasts, gesturing with her hands – the size of pumpkins, it was around Halloween. She said their eyes locked on each other – the ex who had now returned – looking at her chest, and she, glaring at the ex’s cleavage. Both moved slightly towards each other to see if the other was for real. All of this moments before she was escorted out the back door of her own office into a waiting car.

She felt anxious, she said, suffocated, convinced she had been taken in her own chapel, watched over by Athena. Sound familiar? But she was done with that bit, she said. She wasn’t confused anymore about anything. She said it a million times. Look straight ahead, you are driving up a storm, you said.

Wonder if this is it or if there will be another storm. Wonder how much longer they will keep you. The spring head dog on the dashboard just moved. Beena K hasn’t called yet. But she might. She didn’t want me to stop waiting. I want to call now, find out. Maybe they are fucking. Who knows who’s fucking who? I will find out. Faye will tell me. It’s late now. Jordan will tell me what to do. Maybe tomorrow everything will be fine.


Sabyasachi Nag is the author of Uncharted (Mansfield Press, 2021) and two previous collections of poetry, Could You Please, Please Stop Singing (Mosaic Press, 2015), and Bloodlines (Writers Workshop, 2006). His writing has appeared in ANMLY, Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2, Grain, The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, and The Windsor Review. He is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and the Humber School for Writers. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia. He was born in Calcutta and writes from Mississauga, Ontario, the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

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