This time when she picked up her pen again, she was resolute in its use. The plastic cap was removed and she stuck it behind her ear, hoping to forget its existence for the next few hours. She got up hurriedly to look for paper. Paper that had long been saved for scribbles, mumblings and the incoherent whispers of a mad woman.

Paper was found. Stuck carelessly between pages of well read books, some still showing remnants of thoughts that are past, and some in their obedient lines crossed across its surface, waited for yet more. This time she was determined. Her mind had to be won over; her heart had waited too long. She poked the page with the pen once, and stopped, her hands trembling, her breath ragged, and keeping the tip of the ball point inches above the sheet, she waited for things to come to her. Images, memories, ideas and thoughts melded together until suddenly she was standing in quicksand, flailing her arms at the empty air hoping for a branch of understandable thought to pull her to solid ground.

the little thingsBut what ailed her mind were not thoughts of great writers, poets and artists. No witticism came to her, and yes she was frustrated, irritated and tired, but it was hardly depressing enough for a tragedy to flow through her pen. Instead she saw the pink stickers on the platforms of metro stations with the words, ‘Ladies Only’ and there were the fast paced, slow raced tracks that the ‘Horn Ok Please’ trucks took to sometimes.

Her mind raced forward to stop abruptly at a ‘No Smoking’ sign and sometimes, slowly, her eyes would sneak a peek at ‘Do Not Pee’ and ‘Do Not Spit’ scribbled on walls in a lazy lumbering walk across averted eyes and laughing hearts. Her mind would then brake rudely behind cars with lead filled exhausts and exhausts with lead filled lives, and it would remind her yet again of the polite requests made discourteously by school buses. ‘In Case Of Emergency, Call 91______27’

And so her mind would reside in the putrid fumes of the city nights and the concrete walls of punctured lives. No ‘Daffodils’ would capture her, nor would she fall in love with a ‘Solitary Reaper’. Instead her mind, in its well exercised jog of the broken city, would discard and sweat out thoughts of politics, war, philosophy and life until the pores of her skin could shed no longer, and she would lay exhausted at the emptiness of what mattered before and the naiveté of what spoke now.

The disconnected murmurs of the signs, the banners, the graffiti and the heat would rise through the recesses of her mind pushing through the well learned, well admired literature of the greats until all that she heard now were tiny requests made through lofty signs by a city this great. And all that mattered anymore were these little things that made life what it was.

She looked up from the page, the pen teasing the sheet inches away from the surface. There had been no epiphany of thought, but here she was, staring wide eyed at the black scribbles on her sheet. Boy, she wrote a lot today.

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