R came back home late from work one day to find his wife drawing a penis on a piece of paper. For days after, he thought about it the way one would toss salad around on a plate. K had been drawing while watching the television and had merely acknowledged his entrance with a cheerful mention of dinner consisting of open face sandwiches.
K was not an artist. She sometimes drew absent-mindedly on paper napkins or grocery bills, mostly childish figures, zigzags, potato heads with strange smiles and random sticks of hair. She did this mostly when she was slightly restless, a mute spectator of an unknown canvas. These little pauses and gasps were rare, for she usually never wasted time, and was always on her feet, waiting to finish her next assignment, the next little turn she would take.
R’s first thought was to wonder if the penis was his own. He scrutinized his own penis for similarities but after spending hours in front of both full-length and shaving mirrors, he thought that taxonomy did not matter, and that he was asking the wrong questions, for nothing could change the reality that his wife was doodling a penis on a piece of paper. He did not suspect an affair.He was still close to K and they were sufficiently happy together. And even if drawn in jest, what did the penis mean? His doubts were compounded by the piece of paper and its peregrinations with K, little journeys it took from her purse to the bathroom or to her workplace. She did not try to hide it. He caught a glimpse of it in her bag. The penis she had drawn had appeared unshaven and detailed, almost like a pet, its scrotum looking like an obedient snout. Maybe he imagined it but he thought it had billowed under her fingers when he had walked in.
But there should not be anything to doubt. She always wrote notes and lists and she always used bills, reused and rewrote and overwrote, mostly anagrams for bank account pins which she always kept forgetting. Could the penis be an anagram for something?
On an impulse, R asked a close female friend somewhat fantastically what she would do if she came home to find her boyfriend drawing a vagina on a piece of paper, and she told him that she’d think that he was drawing the perfect vagina and falling in love with it. Like Pygmalion. And this confused R more.
One day, R came back home and saw the drawing placed under a jute bag full of sauces and a loofah. He could see it clearly now. What had at first appeared to be a diagram, a penis-shaped children’s maze, was now a baleful mess. She had imposed random scribbles on it, a haze of small grocery lists all remembered and forgotten.
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From the Yaks batch of BWW, we proudly present Shweta Saran. Shweta is a writer with incredibly dramatic imagination as we can see in this piece.
About Shweta Saran
Shweta Sharan is the Founding Editor of an upcoming fiction magazine called The Affair. Through her magazine she hopes to reach out to younger readers and impact their reading preferences. She loves hanging out with her husband, daughter and books. Her favourite animal is the Yak.
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