In the pit, he turns, creeping into the shadow of one of its walls. The sun is still beating down on the extreme left of his back. He raises himself along the wall, lying on his side. He thrusts his face into the soil to blot any remnants of water.
The pit is a dark center in the middle of a sea of cracked, barren land. There isn’t a tree, a house; only dry, burning land marred with fissures running deep into a soil that weeps no more.
He forces his body against the wall with the last residue of strength in him. “This is the worst it gets,” he tells himself. “Just survive this. Survive today.” He tries to wet his lips with his dry tongue. He shuts his eyes and tries to think of rain. He pictures the beauty of raindrops clinging to smooth, green leaves; golden crops dripping with water, swaying in the wind; children dancing in the rain, splashing the water with their feet. The river is brimming with water. The riverside is green with grass. There are cows grazing. There are birds chirruping. Women dressed in bright colors and silver jewelry, are filling their earthen pitchers at the river, laughing and chatting all the while. He is dreaming of the happy times.
His body lies shriveling in the receded shadows of the sun. He sleeps facing the heavens, his mouth open, his chest barely rising and falling. Every inch of him is covered with mud. There is mud on his eyelashes and in his teeth. He sleeps like a dead man, a man alive only in his dreams.
The sun is like an orange ball and there is a wind blowing. The man sleeps, oblivious.
The sky darkens, and still the man sleeps.
A drop of water falls into his mouth and another on his forehead.
©Rasagya Kabra, August 20, 2011
A man has to fend and fettle for the best, and then trust something beyond himself. You can't insure against the future, except by really believing in the best bit in you... (D.H. Lawrence, in Lady Chatterley's Lover )