By Marlon Bute
Dusk fell and the train passed a forest. Music drifted from a log cabin in a clearing in the middle of the forest. Inside the cabin was Seetha. Her long black hair was wrapped in a white towel. She had just washed her hair and was humming to a tune on the radio as she prepared dinner.
So, the story goes that Seetha was not missing and that she had, of her own volition, decided to run off with her lover. I wasn’t surprised that she did such a thing, having remembered that she had instructed her previous lover, Boysie, to destroy Ramnarine’s crops and to poison his animals so that Ramnarine would be forced to migrate to Canada.
And, lest you forget, Seetha had decided from day one that she would find a cosmopolitan man, if she considered it worth her while.
Seetha had just finished eating whatever she could. She hadn’t had much of an appetite in the past few weeks. Lately, she had been wondering about Ramnarine and whether he had already forgotten about her. There were days when the thought would occur that she might have hurt his feelings, but she always managed to convince herself that he was a big boy who could cope with her loss.
Seetha had been alone in the cottage for the past few days. Her Scandinavian lover had left saying that he had to take care of some family business. At times, she was forced to wonder if he loved her. She had never seen his family, nor had he ever said much about them to her. She craved their times together, but she wasn’t sure how much more of his lifestyle her body and mind could take.
There were some days when sleep evaded her. Other times, when she closed her eyes, she felt her head spinning and felt herself falling into a dark space, or a hole or a pit. It never seemed to have a bottom. It grew narrower and deeper each time she closed her eyes. When it first started, Seetha would scream, but since her cries for help were unheard by her lover, Seetha began to stay silent. She chose, instead, to recite the Lord’s Prayer to herself. There were times when Seetha felt she was falling for days unending. So much so, that her heart felt like it was being ripped out of her. Her temples felt like they were always on the verge of exploding.
But, what Seetha found most troubling about her falls was that though her lover was sometimes seen falling too, he always had a parachute. She was beginning to think that she was his entertainment, and that her plunge into nothingness excited him.
Yet, when she tried to discuss her experiences with him, he would change the subject or dismiss it as the meanderings of a tired mind.
The log fire was burning. It cackled in spurts, releasing embers that darted to and fro like fireflies. Sometimes, the crackle of the fire sounded like an old woman’s mocking laughter and she would cringe at the thought of having to spend another night alone in the log cabin in the middle of the woods.
Seetha was a long way from Trinidad. She was a long way from a childhood of stories of diablesse and jumbies. But the fire in the cabin would crackle, the wind would howl, the light from the lamp would dance, then grow dim, and the room would become alive with shadows. It was during those times Seetha felt enveloped in coldness, as if she were wrapped in a blanket of ice.
Seetha closed her eyes tight. There was no relief behind her eyes. Her head began to spin. Seetha began to fall. She couldn’t open her eyes.
Next episode on Wednesday