– 3 –

Peter was right. Nature had bestowed Rose with boundless beauty. Her full-bodied rosy lips concealed perfectly lined teeth that were a marvel to watch when she laughed. It was like only a flimsy pink layer was holding the gush of blood. If lips had a life of their own, Rose’s lips would appear scared. As if they were afraid to go out, to try out new things. As if they were trying to hide themselves, so that nobody hurt them.

Many a times Rose’s smile took Peter’s breathe away. There was something in that smile that endeared Rose to Peter. Rose was an innocent girl, and her face did absolutely nothing to hide the fact. If anything, it only enforced her innocence and laid bare her vulnerability to the observers. And she was never more innocent looking than when she was smiling.

When Peter paid her sincere complements, Rose’s smile made her rosy cheek blush. Her skin wore a perfectly tanned golden hue that was a fit match for her golden blonde hair. It was probably her open hair seen at sundown that prompted Peter to remark that her face was ‘like moon shining through dark yellow clouds in the twilight’. And the moon had eyes the color of blue sea.

If her face oozed innocence, her eyes made her look even more vulnerable and helpless, like an unsuspecting baby. It was not so much as that she had big eyes but the fact that they were covered by long eye lashes and that she had bigger pupils that she elicited unsolicited attraction from those looking in her eyes. Her pupils didn’t contract much, due perhaps to her long eyelashes foreshadowing them, so that when she looked at people with expectant eyes she gave the impression of a baby looking at an adult.

Rose didn’t laugh much. She wore a melancholic disposition that wouldn’t go away even if she was offered a billion dollars or was crowned ‘Miss Universe’. This disposition persisted despite the fact that she was the blue-eyed girl of her social circle. It had something to do with the way she looked at the world.

She was like Peter in that. It’s curious because their melancholic attitudes made them ‘siblings in disposition’.

***

They called him nosy monk. Monk because he lived the life of a hermit; nosy because he was always asking ‘why’. He never left his black leather Jacket.

He never told anybody anything. And nobody bothered to listen to his incoherent mumblings even if he was making some sense. It’s very slow living in the mountains, still… life has its own pace. It never stops for anybody. ‘Life goes on!’ like they say.

‘I wanted to… wanted to… make you happy… happy. Why? Why? You just never… just never… get it bitch? Get it? You better… get it. Why? Why… a day after… a day after… you were born… bitch, get it? Get it, bitch?’ mumbled the monk.

He had queer mannerism. He walked like a toddler, except that he took even shorter steps. And he was always looking down and not up. Even if he had to mend the roof he’d be looking down. It was as if there was a knife over his head that would strike if he looked up. 

His hut, which had been his dwelling for the last couple of years, ever since he moved in after that episode in his life, had started to leak from the roof. But he didn’t care; probably afraid of the knife. Like he didn’t care if the local kids tugged at his clothes when he went out to the local grocery store; like when people called him nosy monk within earshot for him to miss it; or when the water tap went on all night a few nights ago; or even when a fly went into his soup, and he finished it with the fly still in the empty mug.

He was a curious being. It was as if nothing perturbed him. Yet… he was the most perturbed man.

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