Speak Loose

Oh yes, to be part of this milieu, my wife, my friends, our lounge aglow and enlivened with soft little jokes, unhurried talk, unselfconscious laughter, music from the shimmery 90s issuing from a fine portable speaker, three dewy glasses on the coffee table half-filled with cold, dry cider.

All this lent a buoyancy to my spirit, and with some effort (because I had until then been silent) I began to speak, drawing their attention. But to my dismay, they didn’t understand me, or my desire or urgency. Instead they stared without humor, with mounting confusion.

So, I tried again from the beginning, only to increase their bewilderment and now terror as I realized a puddle of drool had formed by my feet, and my wife was gesticulating. I think she made the sign of the devil, or perhaps “yield.”

My friends were stricken with panic. Yet I kept at it, unable to stem this vicious flow, and the puddle became a viscous little pond that lapped against the gray of our Ikea sofa, soiling its legs and soon its seat on which my wife sat, she who now jumped on the wet’ning cushions, each landing emitting a timorous squelch of saliva, and her eyes were moist and her voice tremulous.

While taking the stairs to escape, both my friends slipped on a generous thread of spittle and tumbled down the steep flight of steps, and I thought they must have died, for I heard no sound from them, no answer even as I hollered my inquiries as to their health.

Horrified I looked at my wife who, in incandescent fury, sprang with such force, she went right through our whitewashed roof, towards the twilit sky, like a life-sized doll pulled up and up on a string too slender to be seen, burrowing deep into the indigo vault of the star-stormed heavens. And as I looked at her receding form, a terrifying loneliness, almost comical in its intensity, perforated my heart, and finally, with immense difficulty, I closed my mouth.

Nashiu Zahir lives in Malé, the small capital of the Maldives. He writes on tourism for local media and reviews music and food for fun.