Tick-Tock

The clattering of the cutlery is the only sound in the room that she can understand. The fork in her hand rattles and lands on the plate kept in front of her. Everybody at the table looks up. She doesn’t know if she can meet their eyes. She stares at her plate. It’s almost empty. She doesn’t know what to speak. She picks up the fork and she eats the remaining rice on her plate.
She looks around. The others are eating with chopsticks. Once upon a time, they ate with forks and knives. Then, she ate with a spoon.
She looks back into her plate. She has finished her rice. She wants to throw back the chair on which she is sitting. She wants to rush to the restroom. She is nauseous. She knows that she cannot do this. It is not time yet. She understands every tick-tock of the clock in the room. And the clock says it isn’t time yet.
The clock says it’s time for the dessert. The servers come in. They take away the plates. They bring in a brownie with ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce. She wants to dip her finger in the sauce and lick it. She knows it is not the place. The person sitting beside her tries to small talk. “The weather is too humid for March,” he says. “I agree,” she says, “It is too hot, perhaps it’s the global warming.” Or perhaps it’s this which is making me perspire, she muses. She looks down at the dish. She longs to eat the ice-cream and smear it on lips and then lick it back. Yet the obligation says it is not right. Her heart wants to rebel. Her mind says it is not the place. The heart agues back it never is the place. She wants to revolt yet she wants to hold back. Mr. Beside asks her, “How do you like the dessert, Miss?” She looks at the barely eaten dish. She longs to eat it properly. She wants to enjoy the swirl of the cocoa and the vanilla. She wants to feel the paradox of the hot and the cold. Yet she says, “It’s delicious, Sir.”
It has been an hour. She does not like it this way. She doesn’t know what to speak and when to laugh. She smiles and then, she giggles. That is all she does. She allows everyone else in the parlour to talk. She looks at the pair sitting on the opposite couch. They are laughing. They are whispering. They are shuffling. They are looking at others. They are laughing.
Was it not not-right to whisper in a gathering? She thinks. She keeps the thought to herself. This time a Miss Beside nudges her. She looks up and smiles. The host is analyzing the behavior of a certain lady on a reality show. Everybody else is listening and giving their opinions. “May be she is playing silent politics,” she speaks aloud to her own surprise. The host gives her a curios look and says, “Did you go and give her this suggestion.” Everyone laughs. She wants to retort and end it with a whatever. The tick-tock of the clock says it isn’t the right behavior or the lingo. She just smiles at others and sits back. She listens and does not speak again.
The clock had said –it wasn’t the time; it wasn’t right; it wasn’t the place; it wasn’t the right behavior or the lingo.
She wants to scream and pull at everyone’s hair. She wants to pull her own hair. She just wants to listen to her heart yet the mind rebels.
So, she sits back and listens.
She waits for it to be the time.
She waits for it to be right.
She waits for it to be the place.
She waits for the right behavior and the right lingo.
She waits for the clock to strike.
She waits for the tick-tock to stop.
She waits for the chime.
She sits backs and smiles.

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5 Comments

  1. Yayy…I am so happy to see you posting something new.. 🙂
    This piece I would say, it felt like seeing so many shades in a single person/child. The starting reminded me of a shy, introvert child waiting to get out of the clutches that are holding her back. She wants to be rebellious but she’s scared to do so. So what better way to take it out other than talking and fighting with herself. Isn’t this how we all behave sometime when we are controlled by our elders too much. I don’t know what age you kept in mind about the girl but in the start I felt like she’s very young and the next moment I was imagining this adolescent waiting to just explode..LOL..She’s prim and proper like how her elders wants her to be and by the end of the piece I saw the person coming out..

    The last line.. “she waits and smiles” ..I don’t know for me it wasn’t the genuine smile but more like a smirk, like the smile you have when you have the upper hand on a person.. 🙂
    I don’t know, maybe I have contemplated it in an entirely different way but this is what I felt as I read it..

    Great job 🙂 A bit different from the pieces you have written till now …And I love it.. 😀

    Love ya..

  2. somehow i can relate to this. perhaps all kids can. i imagined this girl as a pre-teen, it fits in the scenario in my head
    the adults around her pushing her to behave with mannerisms and the lot and then her finally deciding to rebel. its like a rite of passage for every kid.
    wonderful writing Dee! =)
    i especially like the last part where she waits for all these things

  3. This happens to me a lot of times. When I have to sacrifice a better part of my evening to social niceties… bleh. That is exactly how I feel. Specially when fat aunties, who BLEED roughe pinch my cheeks and say that I have grown so much since the last time they saw me, which was a week ago. 😐

    • Haha! Now that you speak of this, I shall dictate an incident too. One of my cousins who’s quite old and has a daughter of his own met me in one of those family functions, you know and he asked me which school do you study in. I gave him an answer and the next time I met him 15 days later in another gathering he asks me the same..Hah! 😐

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