Sunday, January 15, 2017
Flash Ficlet: "No Place Like Home"
She stands at the edge, toes pointed toward the precipice. The fresh mahawar on her soles stains the rocks like blood. The silken ends of her pallu are singed, and soot dances in the air like tiny leaves curled to a crisp.
She is unburned. But the earth behind her is scorched. A marriage incinerated. A history made ash.
Words, she knows, are like matches that way. They kindle so quickly and spread on the wind, destroying everything in their path. Whore. Adulteress. Traitor. Mother of bastards. But the saying of it does not make it truth. She is not her reputation. She is not a husband's weakness, or a people's ignorant fervor.
She is Sita. Queen of Ayodhya. Princess of Mithila. Progenitor of noble princes and better men.
A slim brown hand encircles her calf like an anklet and gives it a playful tug. Still more hands reach up from the crevasse. Bright, hopeful eyes and strong voices follow. Eyes like hers once were. Voices like hers once was. Come, they urge her. Come home where you belong, sister. Mother Earth holds no judgment. Her children are all equal. They do not suffer the tests of mortal men and are not bound by their petty laws. They drink of the rain, dance in the mud and bloom on the vine.
Sita does not look back. All of her goodbyes have been said.
She does not jump.