The Green Bottle

In a quiet, lonely fold between paddy fields, mountains and forested hills the scrawny natives decided not to bother hiding their laughter anymore.

Their tired limbs and ever hungry stomachs didn’t let them maintain their kind faces and subdued voices for very long. Kind souls might have seen that they would have kept laughing if they weren’t a little afraid and if they weren’t so tired. Wise souls might have seen that the chill wasn’t good for the paddy.

The old man in his new house, under his already leaking roof didn’t hear any laughter though. His head echoed with random angry words and he heard heartbeats as if they came from within his head. His son who had slammed the door peeked into the room from the dust covered window ,that left his palms brown, and saw the old man bring out the old green bottle. The old man took a sniff and rubbed the cool surface against his forehead.  His whiskers twitched, and wrinkled hands that had never know a hard day’s work rapped the ancient wood of the chair he sat on. Perhaps he was finally forced to learn that there are no corners of the world where the old way of things would remain forever. It was an old perfume bottle, someone had told the son. He wondered what it might have smelled like back when the thin bottle walls held something in it.

In a loud, bustling spread of the city between tall apartments, busy orange roads, and tiny shops the nosy neighbors heard talk of the son, who was now an old man with whiskers himself, having yet again shouted his descendants away. The apartment owner didn’t mind the arguments that came when he had to collect the rent, the gossip was adequate compensation. The son had gone far; he had done much, but scrawny natives who were too hungry to show kindness would have seen no difference between the son and his father. Rage and endless wrinkles seemed to spring from ever land.  The son, who was now also a father, was angry despite his act of charity. Less kind souls and more intelligent observers might have called it a bribe. One of the son’s decedents who had not yet discovered the family tongue had with him the green bottle.

He, the third of his family to do so, lifted it up against the dim light in his room. A better bribe might have included light bulbs. He wasn’t yet disappointed. The bottles’ opening was broken, it had nicked him and maybe it had nicked many people before him. He was not yet tired of his examination. He brought it closer to his tired eyes and it clinked against his glasses. It was a delicate light green. The weak coloring was warning about how delicate the bottle was. Hold it too tight, like you would if you were angry and it would have shattered in your hands. It would have been a miracle if it survived. He caught a whiff of some strange scent. Did the perfume linger outliving the generations that held it? Could the smell of your hands stick to glass?

He put it between towels, hid it away in some quiet corner, unsure what to do with it. He was the latest of a bloodline whose fortune declined whenever the world changed. Unlike them he was without arrogant whiskers and a belief that outrage was his birthright. He lay on his cramped little bed, feeling comforted by his examination, and feel asleep trying to learn the scent.

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