She stands, resting her back against the gulmohar tree. He stands in front of her, covering her. It’s a rainy May eve, the sky is clouded and it’s slightly cold. There is no one in the park. At least they cannot see anyone. They stand beneath the crimson umbrella. At times a stray drop of water, after having slept longer than its friends on the bed of leaves and flowers while seeking a temporary halt in the gulmohar, decides to continue its journey downwards, but finds unexpected rest on their bodies instead. One such big drop has just fallen on the swell of her cheeks beneath her eyes, and he watches it, mesmerized, as it slowly travels down her cheek. She expands her eyes by stretching her facial muscles downwards and tries to see the drop he is staring at. She cannot see the drop, but her attempt makes the drop travel faster and then it falls off her chin. He looks up and laughs. She looks comical. His laugh breaks her concentration. She raises her eyes and returns his gaze. She feigns petulance.
What’s so funny?
The way you are making faces.
I am not making faces; I won’t talk to you.
Come on. I am hurt by you laughing into my face!
I was not laughing into your face.
Literally you were.
Literally let me give you a kiss then. To make that fine.
She pretends for a second as if she is giving that offer careful consideration.
Ok, literally you may, but let me make that a bit unliteral. Have you heard Browning’s views on a kiss?
No, please proceed.
The moth’s kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made me believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide open I burst
That’s all. There is a second stanza and it has to do with a bee’s kiss I believe, but I don’t remember it.
So you want me to kiss you like a moth.
He kisses her like a moth. He gently brushes his lips against hers, moving his face side to side. Once. Twice. Thrice. But she is not opening her mouth. It’s suddenly dark. He hits something with his lips. It’s not her mouth. He backs off. She’s not there. She’s there but she is far off. It’s dark everywhere else but he can clearly see her. There is a moth sitting on her mouth. She’s flapping her hands. Her face is contorted. She’s trying to say something. She’s in pain. He feels she can’t breathe. Take that moth of your mouth. But nothing happens. She’s frantically waving her hands. She’s pointing somewhere. What? The police have arrived. They are knocking at the door. She’s inside. Clarence! Clarence! But she can’t reply. She is choking on the moth. There is no one inside somebody says; let’s burn the house. But she is inside! Don’t burn her. Break the door. He is clawing in the air. They are burning the house. Run out! He puts out his hand through the walls. Catch it. But she’s slipping backwards. She’s stumbles over something, falls, and disappears from sight. She’s fallen into a well, and he’s lying over her. He looks into her mouth and there is a dark void. There are no teeth. She has a terrifying smile on her face. She looks horrible. He screams and sits up to find that he was lying curled up on the sides of the burnt badminton court. He breathes. Again and again. The sudden disturbance makes Greasy raise her head and she stands up energetically, but seeing him and no one else she sits back on the ground. She rests her head on her paws and whimpers. He is still exhausted and dizzy and his head throbs because of continuous weeping, and so he goes back to sleep. He is feeling cold.