Fifty Six

No wonder it’s called a vanity bag.

There is no better trove in the world that could showcase a woman in all her splendor.
Size, material, the number of straps, buttons, ink stains, the number of zippers – functional, defunct but held up by safety pins, hidden, visible, fashionable, irrelevant.

Every seam bursting to tell.

Each bag has a variety of secrets. From sanitary napkins, to tattered bank statements and love notes that are well-worn along the folds. Organizers both digital and outdated. Books of poetry, music that needs updating, SIM cards, visiting cards, loose change, loads of neglect.

And each bag, holds what a woman thinks is most beautiful about herself. Kajal to spell her eyes. Muted and bold shades of lipstick to trace her talk. A hairbrush for the most beautiful tresses. A dab of heady perfume to punctuate her aura. A utilitarian deodorant, to avoid being obvious.

Sometimes, a tiny pouch with all of the above.

Her good luck charms and mobile memorabilia also come in varieties. A few adorn the zippers as key-chains and totems. Some find way into the wallet – movie ticket stubs, earrings with partners and parts missing, currency that functions miles away from here and now. Given by, bought for, with, or in the name of mothers and other long forgotten friends.

Everyday, she loses something to the great blackness inside the bag. Keys, names and numbers, falling tears from fleeting moments of shame.

Her dumping ground. Her consort. Idle pet on her lap during a long bus ride. Odd distraction at her fingertips while she confesses. Security she clutches through a deserted street. Quiet company at the coffee table she occupies alone.

The unconditional partner that comes in the size, shape, texture and colour of her choosing, standing gently and humbly by her side.

white.

i watch sunlight.
golden embers of the dying sun.

i squint. i smile.
pleasant warmth that gently wakes me from my lull.
seeking out weariness from every dark trench
with great tenderness.

red afterimages with white-hot cores line my closed eyelids.

i inhale, smile. deeply.
fill my being up.
with light.

black.

i am an appendix.
the harvester of your corruption. the conduit that collects your poison.

you notice me when i cause you pain.

so,
you cut, tear, wench, clinically saw me away. with local anasthesia. and plenty relief.
discard me, like the vestigial organ i am.
and tell me, i have the gall to call myself an organ.

you sit alone.
nursing the diminutive, pathetic wound i’ve left behind.

you heal.
all that’s vile, black, toxic,
gone for good.

you.
a whole human being, with just an appendix missing.

and yet, i remain an appendix.
an addage.
to you.

there are no profundities to spout today.

no lights, or shadow play.
but bright, white lights that force wakening.
wide-eyed wakening.
it’s the loud voices. the excruciating pain between shoulder-blades. the ringing phones. the foreign tongue that lashes around. the ever-present something-to-do, like an impending cold scratching, knocking, nagging, ever so slightly, at the back of the throat.

everything here forces wakening.
weakening.
withering.

the auto-pilot has gone wrong.
we’re crash-landing, folks.