Quivering hands clutched the banister
as my ten year old senses tested the waters
of that L-shaped battlefield —
that stairway of doom,
haunted by that three-eyed God.
His gaze torching my breath to embers,
vaporizing the ground beneath immobilized feet,
leaving me nothing to hang on to,
save the umbilical railing to the upper floor.
I claw, I scrape, I struggle, I scream,
I rage against a tide of lava
with a wave of blood
oozing from imaginary wounds
and numbing imagined blisters,
valiant hope moving my burning steps
onto blind spots calculated by childish arrogance.
I cross Him and leap to safety and escape
But I could still feel His stare burning through,
Like a magnet gripping my iron-tensed shoulders.
His brash power goading my bruised pride.
Ten years later, I walked past the same spot,
I felt a tug as I crossed the corner,
Not a magnet this time, more like a kite’s thread
Gently pulling me to behold the gaze once again
I turned, I looked, I felt
those coal black eyes
stationary and worldly-wise,
searching me for the kid within.
And then when He found,
Memories of battles fought,
Scars of imagined burns
And a ten year old boy getting over the fear
Of a face on the wall,
Shiva and I shared a wistful smile and moved on.
Adithya Nair Satheesan works in Mumbai. Adithya is a daydreamer, a poet, a lover of stories, and a walking and talking version of IMDB.