Water, Water Everywhere
Author: Aldeena Raju
For when a bubble bursts, the sound echoes across time, across generations sometimes. The sound of the cracking of hopes deafens. She sat there for hours staring into the distance. She could see eagles circling a building not very far away. The clouds were turning dark. It might rain. She didn’t have an umbrella today. Of all days, today. She could hear voices downstairs. On another day she would have skipped down the steps and joined them. Laughs, concerns, daily gossip. They sounded like whispers from a distant land. Like faint murmurs in her head.
Just another day. There was light thunder outside. Her phone was ringing. But she let it ring. Voices could be a pain sometimes. Most anyways.
She hated human beings. Workplaces have a terrible track record in terms of keeping employees happy. Employees fared no better in terms of what they needed to be happy. It was a vicious cycle. Office eats man eats office. At the end of the day, no one is indispensable. Common knowledge. But she still believed in better things. The goodness of human beings. But today she changed her mind. No one gave a fuck about anyone but themselves. Faith comes with its flaws. Losing faith being one of them. All the time.
The water cycle is one of the few things that she remembered from science lessons in school. She used to diligently draw them, as neat as a printed diagram, on the blank pages in her interleaved notebooks. So neat that once the teacher erased a corner of the respiratory system she drew to check whether it was actually drawn or not.
Evaporation. When the drops of water would get sucked up into the sky bit by bit. A happy start full of hope. She used to draw little blue drops with an arrow mark pointing to the sky. Then they would gather together — serene white bundles in a blue sky. Condensation. The arrow mark would be a straight one, like a path that offered no two outcomes. Just a straight line to inevitability. They would keep gathering, like steam within a pressure cooker, biding their time. Then the sky would turn dark, almost an angry grey. Precipitation. Once the accumulated drops became too heavy a load to carry, they would explode and rain down. Like a volcanic eruption. Sharp arrow marks to the ground would mark this on her diagram. They would pour down on the brown soil, enveloping everything in their path. Nothing would remain the same. The blue skies turned grey. The green grass was stained brown. Until it started all over again. Evaporation–Condensation–Precipitation. Evaporation–Condensation–Precipitation. Evaporation–Condensation–Precipitation. Until the end of time.
She had walked up to the window and stood looking out. Precipitation. She hadn’t realised how grey it had become outside. The sound of his voice made her turn. She wanted to break down and cry. They sat there. Words, silences and words flowing in a single breath. She was shaking, fingers twitching, voice faltering. It was raining. He said something that made her laugh. The tears decided to wait another day. They headed back in before the boss would yell. The skies were turning blue outside.