(Internet image)

By Marlon Bute

Ramnarine walked down the corridor. It was endless. Its white walls were glaring from the fluorescent glow of the lights that burned brightly on that August Monday morning of 2006. He passed through door after door, until he got to the same grey elevator, that had quietly descended the floors an hour earlier to where he had been taken to see a dead person that had turned out not to be his wife. He had prepared himself as much as one who had lost his wife or a loved one possibly could. Instead, he had seen an unfamiliar face. The stranger bore no resemblance to Seetha. Her only similarity to his wife was that she was of East Indian descent. He remained confounded that the Police weren’t able to tell the difference between the other person and Seetha from the pictures of Seetha that he had given to them.

The elevator made clunking noises on its way up. It slowed down a bit before almost coming to a full stop, before resuming at an even slower pace and noisier level; it seemed that it was unwilling to take them out of the grey building.

Ramnarine took a deep breath and tried to reflect on the ordeal of the past few hours. He tried to consider what he was feeling deep within, to sort things out in a rationale way, but it wasn’t easy for him to untangle the flood of mixed emotions. He wasn’t sure whether he was disappointed that it wasn’t Seetha on that stainless steel table, lying there cold, alone, and asleep. And admittedly, that uncertainty was bothering him. He wasn’t feeling guilty. He wasn’t feeling ashamed, as he was somehow thinking he should feel. In fact, Ramnarine was now fighting to hold back the anger that seemed to be rising in his bosom. She had brought him to this place. She had taken him away from his farm. She had made him leave his home. Because of her he had departed from a way of life that he knew and that he enjoyed. Then she had abandoned him. She might as well be dead. He was hoping she was dead. She was dead to him.

The cops ended up giving Ramanarine a lift home, though he had insisted for some time that he would walk.

He stood on the sidewalk in the drizzling rain before strolling across to the park that was opposite his apartment building. He sat on a bench that was near a cluster of shrubs and which was sheltered by a maple tree. The tree cast a shadow over Ramnarine, the wooden bench and the cluster of shrubs. A lone squirrel briefly opened its eyes and looked down on Ramnarine. A chilly mid morning breeze was blowing. Ramnarine wrapped his arms around his shoulders, leaned forward and started to cry.

Another shrill scream rang through the night. The man with the crocus bag was beginning to be more convinced than before that it was probably not a good idea to be heading in the direction that he was going. He kept walking, reasoning that his chances of getting out from there quickly; were unlikely without a working flashlight.

He gently tapped the flashlight. Nothing. He shook it furiously; it got brighter, and then died.

Seetha was drenched in sweat. Her slender body was writhing. Her fists were clenched. She continued falling.

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