The Final Chapter of Monsoon Tiger by Rain Chudori
When you spend your whole life waiting for someone, you become accustomed to recognizing their steps on the floorboards, the light from outside that is quickly pushed out by the swinging door, the leisurely pace in which they take off their clothes, and when they finally place their cold body next to you, it feels more familiar than the dark that you hide your love in. That was who I became, a figure waiting for another to fill the empty space next to her in bed to be complete.
“You can take everything here. They were never really mine,” I said. He sat on the bed, tapping at his watch that he said wasn’t working anymore, while I packed.
“My watch isn’t working,” he said, tapping at it repeatedly, while he curled in the bed that was now no longer supported by the books I had read to him and then to Monsoon. I had packed all of them in his suitcase, along with his freshly pressed clothes, his pipe that he obnoxiously lit up when I was asleep, and the frames that once held our photographs (in the pretense that we would be together forever) that will perhaps hold photographs of him and the girl that he would be together forever with. Even at the very end, we had kept to our roles.
“Bring it to the repair shop on the way to her house.”
“After the rain stops.”
“It won’t stop until the monsoon does.”
Like the momentous feeling after the rain stops, our apartment became a pyrrhic testimony of ceilings and walls and floors that seemed to stretch on for far longer than our love ever did. But the rain still went on. Michael put on his raincoat, it was still wet from the night he took Monsoon and, we realized, torn at the hem from his last attempt at a dignified threat.
“Let me do something for you for the last time.” I took the sewing box, one of the few things I had decided to keep in the apartment, kneeled and fixed the hem of Michael’s raincoat. The drops of rain from his collar fell to my face and it felt like it had wept enough for me.
Tigers show their love differently than humans do. Humans hide their love in the compartments of their body. We take it out in rare moments to caress between our nimbly thumbs and then returned safely to where we think it belongs. But for tigers, love is abrasive. Love is aggressive. Love is an emotion that is shared through constant demonstrations of it. There is no shortage of love for tigers and those who experience it. There is no confusion. There is or isn’t love.
If I could choose a life, I would be a tiger. I would spend days picking nettles out of each other’s fur and licking each other’s ear and pushing raw meat with my nose to the one I love because the first bite matters most. I would love other tigers with no regard for shame and no remorse in my carelessness. I would love like tigers do. Because fear is not enough to fill the space next to you in bed, but love is always enough. At least, for the tigers it is.
To read the previous chapters, click the links below: