Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Myself and the red-bellied newt (4)

The clock in my heart started to tick slowly. The passage of the every day became painful. I felt the urge to take a look at the newt tank, but was too afraid to do so. Sometimes, we avoid the truth at all costs.

During the course of a day, I would suddenly feel a pang in my breast. Then a wave of agitation would run through my system. What has happened to the newt? Was it starving to death in the murky water? Was it crying for help desperately, which I did not hear? "It is too late now". I thought. The remorse of having done something irreparable was growing like a beast lurking in the darkness.

Three days, four days, five days, ....then eventually a week passed without my going to the tank to witness what had happened. I lived a life of an increasingly troubling nature, with the Sword of Damocles hanging above. And there seemed to be no escape from the stalemate.

Then, one afternoon, there was an unexpected turn in the wind. I was coming back home from school on the usual route, when I noticed that something had changed in me. It was as if an entity, which had been dispersed like a cloud, was made into a rigid spinning ball which could now be handled. Now I was ready to go to the newt tank.

Opening the house door, I went straight to the tank, as if in fear that if I stopped even for a moment I would lose the energy to go through. My heart pounded like an wild animal as I approached the tank in the dark corner.

I was finally ready to accept whatever would come. The verdict was imminent. Gingerly, I peeked into the tank. There it was--the newt, although somewhat feeble looking, was alive, hiding itself as if it was shy of its existence. To my surprise, the water was not that dirty either, although visibly at a lower level due to evaporation.

(To be continued tomorrow)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Myself and the red-bellied newt (3)

(Continued from yesterday)

I had completely forgotten about my pet newt. Oblivion be damned! It was a horror realization. Apart from the smelly water concern, the most serious worry was that I had not fed the newt for days. Exactly how many, I could not remember. It all started with the disappointment in the rather dull reaction that I got from the creature. But, at the end of the day, it was the moral responsibility of a pet keeper to take a good care of the animal. I was negligent in that.

Of course I blamed myself. Then something extraordinary happened. I did not immediately rush to the newt tank to perform the overdue caring. I knew that I had better take a look at the newt, but I simply could not bring myself to it.

Maybe it was all a matter and workings of imagination backfired. I imagined that the newt was now dead, its body dried up and shrinking. My unconscious vividly depicted the fatal end of the lovely animal. It was all my fault. Or possibly it was still alive, suffocated in the dirty and smelly water, crying for help. Maybe it was covered all over with sticky and repelling materials now. In all likelihood it was too late.

Nothing could be done now, I kept saying to myself, as I went to school and tried not to think about the newt. My adult logic tells me now that no matter what the situation, there was no sense in postponing the actual getting to know. However, I was a weak child. Maybe every child has this weakness. The more I thought about the newt, and the more I felt responsible for it, my remorse turned into a strange inability to take any action. A agitated period of procrastination had set in. Maybe I was fearful of fear itself.

(To be continued tomorrow)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Myself and the red-bellied newt (2)

(Continued from yesterday)

Days passed, and I kept playing with the arrangements for the newt paradise. Within the small dimensions of the transparent glass case, I put some small stones, plants here and there, and kept changing their placements. The only thing was that I was not too sure whether the newt appreciated my efforts at all.

Then, the change gradually happened. I kept changing the water, feeding the newt, with less and less enthusiasm. There must have been ups and downs within the systems of the little creature even within the artificial bounds, but these were not immediately evident for me. A child's mind is whimsical. It is always seeking something interesting, and when there is nothing more to explore, the enthusiasm fades. Shining existence would so easily transform into dull non-existence.

One day, coming back from school, I realized that I had not looked into the newt's paradise for several days. It was the end of summer. The weather was still warm, with occasional heat spells. I could easily imagine that the water would be smelling now, due to the activities of the microorganisms which I did not care to think about. And the newt--I suddenly came to realize that I had not fed the newt all these days. Then the worry started.