When night falls and not a single voice is heard anywhere, I make my way to the room that now stays empty. I do not turn the lights on – oh no, I don't. I do not have the courage to have my presence known to the ghosts that now occupy this room – the ghosts staying in the photographs, paying heed to nothing but silently taking hold of me whenever I am left alone. I can't risk it.
The house is empty tonight, soulless and alone. I walk from one room to another, from one corner to another and then back to that room. A slice of light and music played from a car that passes by brings some life to the room but then the car disappears and the house is left alone. Once again.
I sit down by the window and look at the house opposite to mine. A friend of a friend of mine used to live in that house. Now the house is empty. It awaits its demolition. How many of its fellow two storey houses have had to face the same fate in this unkind, sprawling metropolis? One simply loses count. I cling to this two storey friend of mine. I cannot lose it. When I go on my daily walks in the neighborhood, I am eyed with curiosity. They do not know me. The ones who did know me left ages and ages ago. The cruelty of this metropolis was too much for them to bear. And so I have been left alone with their ghosts, and the ancient armchair that was purchased by my grandfather in a village fair and brought to this house when it was built seventy years ago.
I have thrown away my phone. I thought there was no point in keeping it when the only calls I received were from call centers asking me to buy packages I had no clue about. At times, one needs to come to terms with the fact that some people are nothing but erasable specks on history. The boy who lives downstairs and cleans the house tells me otherwise. He tells me of the green fields his father works in and how something as simple as the harvest of crops can bring so much happiness to someone. Ah, silly boy. Even I was happy once.
Back in those days, this house rang with laughter, with tears, with joy, with sorrow. Nobody laughs here anymore. There is no love left here. There are only empty corridors with silence in them. Nothing but silence. Nothing but emptiness.
I used to be known as a hopelessly hopeful person – decades and decades ago.
When he is not dealing with mood swings, Shounak Reza devours books and tea and longs for eras he has never lived in. You can contact him at www.fb.com/shounakreza