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She spent years
Crafting the perfect smile
The warmest gaze
The most elegant gestures
She would charm them all
With laughter which tinkled
And trickled out of her
Like the beginning of a stream
Like a river sparkling
In spring sunshine

To many she appeared
To be skilfully-crafted porcelain
Stained glass, a snow globe
The apple of their eye
Perfection, in human form.

And she delighted in that
She would endeavour to ensure
That the porcelain would not crack
That the glass would not be scratched
That mould would not reach the apple
That the stream would not dry out
And that in her world
It would always be sunny.

She would obsess over her hair
Her skin, her countenance,
Her gait and her conversations.
She would adapt herself to every situation
Creating new masks for
Each person in her life
Each setting, each action
Until everyone was convinced that she
Was as perfect as one could be.

But one day as she was getting ready,
A little voice, tinged with melancholy,
Crept into her mind and asked her,
“Who are you, really?”

She stared at her reflection
And felt like a lost sailor at sea
A bewildered tourist in a foreign country.
And all of a sudden
A violent hurricane had
Ripped through her whole being.
There was turmoil,
Chaos, war.

Once, she was the fire
That people would sit by
On cold winter evenings.

Now, she was reduced to nothing.

Only a pile of grey ashes
A hollow corpse,
A field left lifeless after
Battle, an empty space,
A black hole, a vacuum.

For decades she was
Left alone, lost,
Presumed dead by those
She once knew and loved.

But then, one day,
She began to build something
Within her heart.
Months and months of work -
Digging, bricklaying,
Painting, furnishing.
And there it was, at last.

A quaint little cottage
With a plain wooden door.
Warm fairy lights beckoning
To her.

A place where she belonged.
A place which felt like
A calm and comforting song…

Years have passed since then.
And now, when she stares at her reflection,
A storm does not threaten to brew
And she is not interrupted by a voice
Of melancholy and rue.

Instead, the little cottage in her heart
Opens its door.
And she hears her own voice
From somewhere within her soul,
Whispering, “Welcome home.”

31-Aug-2023

More By  :  Rupashri Chatterjee

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