Sunday 26 April 2020

The Lone Bale of Hay and Other Things

by Roshna Rusiniya

cream soda

In my mind, I am envisioning everything- wet grass tickling my toes, air smelling vaguely of honeysuckle, hundreds of daisies dancing in the breeze. I gradually opened my eyes, giving myself enough time to adjust to the darkness. I just wanted to sit on the bench and gaze at the sunset. When did it turn so dark? Apart  from the wet grass beneath my feet, nothing matched the vision I had in my mind. All I see is the open grass field in front of me, a few wooden benches here and there. There was a pungent odour in the air too, like someone was burning rubber. Strange...

“She  is waking up.’’ A voice spoke, not too far from me.

“I want to touch the clown, ” a kid shouted.

The moonlight spilling into the bench where I am sitting now, is enough for me to see the small crowd gathered around, but not enough to see their faces clearly. 

I tried to sit straighter on the bench, but my dress is pulling at me. It kind of feels heavy and itchy and I suddenly have this urge to strip out of it. But considering the fact that I have a small audience, I completely give up that idea. I glanced down and my eyes widened in horror at the sight of the bright and striped look I am spotting now. Why on earth am I dressed like a clown?

“Are you ok?” another voice asked.

I am trying to figure out the same too. I waited for the fog to clear up and the snippets of the recent events to float back into my brain. 

The bicycle...the road..the fall…

“I fell.” I said, more like a  whispering to myself.

“Are you hurt?” asked a lady in a concerned voice.

“No.” I shook my head.

“How did you fall?” Another question, still the same lady.

“A lone bale of hay in the middle of the road.”

“What?” the crowd exclaimed in unison.

I repeated what I said and this time I could see their faces clearly, as the moonlight directly shone on them. They were quiet, with facial expressions ranging from sarcasm to disbelief. 

I oddly felt uncomfortable, as if sensing the air of hostility around me. I even heard someone muttering ‘insane.’

I glanced around, frantically searching for something to prove to them that I am not insane.

There it is- my bicycle, parked across the road. I stood up  and walked towards the bicycle ignoring the murmurs growing behind me.

Then I saw them- the hay strands stuck on the wheels! 

I turned around, with a triumphant smile to announce my discovery…

Just to find myself  all alone on the grassy knoll…


“Mommy. Wake up. I am hungry.”

My three year old daughter stared down at me. Wait? I am in the bedroom? What was all that then?

Such a weird dream...

“Mommy? Why do you have white paint on your face? Are you wearing a clown costume?"

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