by Abha Iyengar
Wilbur wondered why he did not live in Wilbury Heights, the snotty neighbourhood. He lived down in the dumps, and it wasn’t a state of mind. Love was just another four-letter word. He could change it to lovely, a six-letter word, but it did not make him feel any better. That was because he had been dumped fair and square, right on his four paws (he felt quite a dog), and he had found it difficult to find his centre again, the ground constantly shifting under him, making him all wobbly and sick, frail and dizzy.
The doctor of course would tell him that there was nothing wrong with him if he did go to show a doctor, which he did not, knowing from long experience that doctors could not treat his kind of malaise. They had no answer for things that could not be touched, or felt, and had no understanding for the invisible. For what he felt was invisible to anyone else, and to everyone else he looked just fine, and that’s what they told him.
“You look just fine.”
“Nothing wrong with you old chap.”
“A little blue here and there is felt by everyone, don’t feel bad about it.”
And stuff like that.
What did they know of what Kathy had done to him once, and what she had done to him again? The first doing had love written all over it, and the second doing had dump written all over it.
In the end (the second doing), she had said, “Willy, if only you had lived in Wilbury Heights, we could have made a life for ourselves.” She had glanced around his small room and wriggled her little piggy nose. He noticed how ugly her nose was then, but maybe he was just thinking like that to comfort himself, sour grapes and all that, for now he knew she was leaving him. He was not dumb, even though he was not rich.
“So who is the guy?” he had asked, unable to hold it all in, his grief was welling up, he felt he would wet his pants soon with all the liquid being built up in his body. Tears take many forms but she would not understand that and perhaps would just laugh at his incontinence and walk off, piggy nose in air.
“He lives up there,” she had said, pointing to Wilbury Heights in the distance. Wilbur knew he could never live up to the name, Wilbur-y. That he had almost the same name was just a coincidence, worth a few laughs, there was not much else in common there.
“What’s his name?” he asked her then, feeling the waters breaking, the leak in his pants now difficult to hide, soon the stench would fill the room, she should leave now, but she must answer his question.
But she just said, “Ha, ha, not Wilbur, that’s for sure. You’ll know, I’ll invite you for the wedding, it’s next week.”
He thought of having nothing to wear for the occasion, and then thought, “Why should I go?”
Luckily she had now walked out the open door, and only he was there with his tears, his wet pants and the stench of being dumped filling the room.
Abha Iyengar is an internationally published author, poet and British Council certified Creative writing facilitator. Her work has appeared in The Four Quarters Magazine, Muse India, The Asian Writer, Pure Slush, and others. Her story, “The High Stool”, was nominated for the Story South Million Writers Award. Her poem-film “Parwaaz” won a special jury prize at Patras, Greece. She won the Lavanya Sankaran fellowship 2009-10. She was a finalist in the FlashMob 2013 Flash Fiction contest. Her published works are Yearnings, Flash Bites, Shrayan, Many Fish to Fry, and The Gourd Seller and Other Stories.