A light drizzle pours outside, gently, but further from calm. The pitter patters are scattered, scattered in a way that irritates you. Every drop seems choreographed. It’s almost as if someone intended the drops to fall in a certain way, at a certain place, at a certain time, for a certain reason.
The view outside seems clear, even though my vision is blurry. Pushing the bed sheet aside, I stare at the window for a few moments. Watch the droplets race down the windowpane. The day is grey, or maybe the sun hasn’t risen yet. But the world seems alive. Maybe it’s the raindrops, maybe it’s just a hunch. Or maybe I’ve slept through dawn.
As I sit there contemplating, staring at the eggshell white wall, the alarm goes off. I pounce before the second note of that awful tone, bang the darn machine. Day’s like these remind me of groundhog day. A sadder, lonelier version of it.
Isn’t it astounding? How people keep working for a better future, for a lavish retirement, to buy that new car, to impress a fellow mate, most of which is absent in the present. People work for a future, abandoning the present times. Ignoring the fact the future will one day, be the present. The present they so willingly abandon. Maybe it’s human nature. Maybe it’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes, on the lookout.
I’ve also been a victim to this disease. But today seems different, the rain seems to bring with it, a subtle message.
Maybe it’s a new beginning or maybe I should be on the lookout. Something ominous lurks within the silence between every consecutive rain drop. The walls tower over the window, which gets foggy after a while. Or maybe it’s my vision?
The alarm goes off once again, it’s shrewd high pitched tone startles me out of bed. I carefully press “off” button this time, screaming at the top my lungs. Curse at the generous forefathers who invented the snooze.
Being late to the job isn’t a cause for concern anymore. I sleep for a while, extend it a half hour more.
I dress up hurriedly and horrendously. I need to leave the house, escape the bad start to this grey, dull and ominous day. I grab a coat instead of an umbrella today.
The feeling of warmth along with the icy raindrops blessing my face is euphoric. I walk down the stairs behind the alleyway today, my steps guide me towards my destination on its own. I look around, stand for a bit under the window of Ms. Glee. As suggested by her name, she was one gleeful, beautiful and admirable lady. I stand besides her window, peeking into her home, not expecting to see anything. It’s always been weird since she disappeared. Nobody knows where she is, even though people tried to reach her. Thinking about her disappearance just puts morbid thoughts in my head. She left the house as impeccable as ever. I peek everyday, maybe because the condition of her house makes me feel like she is around somewhere. As I stand there on my toes, peeking into her humble abode, Mittens the stray cat walks by, purring. I call her out in a hushed tone. I try not to disturb Ms. Glee out of courtesy, even when she’s not around.
I whistle and mittens turns her head immediately. There is a flicker in her dark bulgy eyes. Her ears are perked up and she walks towards me slowly. I watch her walk down the damp alleyway towards me. Strangers walk by on the street across the alleyway.
A humongous figure with a leather jacket stops suddenly mid step. He turns his head and looks towards me, as I watch mittens slowly make her way to where I stood. The man is huge, with his coat flapping erratically due to the wind. He seemed as if he was trying to hit something within coat. He looks right at me. White eyes on a black figure standing yards away. I rub my eyes, blink for a second and he’s gone. It was weird, or maybe it’s my blurred vision.
I suddenly feel a weight bearing down my chest. I can feel several eyes upon me. As soon as I’m trying to brush off the weird incident of the coated figure, I suddenly get a feeling like I’m being watched. I look at mittens and she staring at something behind me. I freeze. I turn my head, cautiously.
To my surprise, a bunch of people have been staring at me and mittens in the alleyway. The day was so dark and grey that most of the figures seemed like a black smudge to my vision. But it’s wasn’t my delusion this time. Why would they be staring at me? I look down upon my clothes. Perhaps I’m missing an item? But I’m not. I’m shabby but fully clothed. It took me a second to realize I was standing beneath the window of a person who had recently vanished without a trace. It fills me up with dread. But somehow, I can’t justify my stance on this. Even though I’ve never been guilty of any malpractices and I’ve refrained from committing any wrongdoing. I feel scared. Like I’ve been caught. I’m a criminal caught in the act. A figure standing deep within the bunch called out to me, by name. The abnormality of the situation startled me and I took off instinctively.
In a moment, I find myself running down the street holding the poor cat in my hands, colliding with strangers. But I can’t stop. My legs won’t stop. Several people curse at my reckless nudging but I can’t hear it. I hear the distress I caused, but I can’t comprehend the sounds.
I feel the adrenaline drip into my bloodstream as rush past the usual route to the office. It takes a while before I get back to my senses.
I stop at a crosswalk right across the office. As I stood there panting, the rush of adrenaline eggs me to go on. Finish the chase. Evade those who hunt me on this morbid day. The entrance to the building stands a few yards away. It’s dusky and grey. The billboard hardly visible due to the fog. The glass door stood there watching, mocking the state of a worried me.
These strangers are plotting something sinister. Every glance by a stranger is followed by a complete scan of me. Maybe there’s a hitman hunting for me. Maybe the her kidnappers of Ms. Glee want to frame me. Maybe there’s a bounty for my head. A bounty so large, that even the do gooder’s feel persuaded to hunt me down. But why would I be their target? I’m known as the person who the most non-invasive and decent person in the locality. I liked Ms. Glee, but never confessed. She was a harmless crush, a person i never talked to. Why would someone go out of their way to have me put down? Ms. Glee can’t possibly be the reason i’m being hunt down. It seems like there’s more to this.
I try and justify my case with every gasp of air. I’ve seldom acted mean, nor have I shunned anyone. I’ve never been unfaithful either.
Maybe the people dislike how just and honest I am. It seems like the logical reason. You know, ‘Straightest trees get cut down first’ kind of thing. But something about it doesn’t feel right. My heart talks about something else. It’s whispers struggle to reach my ear. But with every broken syllable, the picture becomes clearer. I’ve been a part of something sinister, something evil. Something I shouldn’t have been a part of. Is it something I’ve witnessed that was meant to be a secret? I’m being punished for not doing nothing at all. It seems clearer now.
‘’Your inaction is the cause’’ whispers mittens staring right at me with its whiskers perked up. I stare at Mittens for a second before realizing how deep she had dug her claws onto my arms.
I drop the cat that instant and run right across the crosswalk. I’ve always shunned jaywalking but I didn’t hesitate to commit that crime that instant. I dart up the stairs ignoring the pleasant greeting of Bob the security guy. I’m pretty sure he’s confused and drawing several conclusions for my behavior. But I’m pretty sure he’s going to stick to the “Maybe he needs to piss” reason.
A blast of warm air hits me as I enter the office. I look around and find all eyes on me. No suspicion arose in my head this time. They’re probably wondering why I’m behaving this erratically. I take a deep breath, think about happy thoughts.
It’s funny how happy thoughts are always used in the times of crisis, even though they are meant to be enjoyed and cherished. They’re just mere tools for the rational person inside of us. It’s the whip used to tame the aggravated, angry animal inside all of us.
I stood at the entrance for a few seconds, gaining my composure back. Involuntarily, I find my hand reaching out and hanging my coat on the coat rack right beside me.
Ross waves at me from his cubicle and points to his watch. I smile awkwardly and make my way to the restroom.
In front of me stands a man, shabby, scruffy and confused. I stare at him, peer right across his bulging dark eyes. He smiles. A smile has always brought out a far better version of me. I’m hoping I could stick this one to my face for the rest of this god awful day.
I set my hair the usual way. A firm right swipe and then a shake of the head. The authentic slick look. All the while, I was unaware of how empty the restroom was. I look around, stay silent, hoping to hear someone in the stalls. But the cold, smelly air suggested otherwise. Maybe it’s cleaning time.
I head towards the exit and find the figure standing right in front of me. The humongous, coated figure I saw on the alleyway stood against me at this very moment. I froze. I was about to make a run for it. But he blocked the doorway completely. I walked back hesitantly, watching every step. He is a foot taller than me. Muscular, with brawny forearms, veins protruding from every visible angle. It takes seconds for him to look down me. I walk back hesitantly. Plotting my escape from this certain demise. As I walked back, scanning my immediate direction with my hand, I get a glance of his face. He has a mild scruff, a round face with a very odd choice of spectacles. The kind that would probably look goofy on any normal person but seemed menacing on him. But his face was blurry. Its was as if my mind was intentionally blurring out the details of his face
. He breathes like a giant. His steps follow mine as I keep moving backwards. Is this how it ends? A silent, clean kill. Or maybe I’m going to be tortured to death. Tortured with every punch in the gut. These clean white, tiled walls will be the witness to this. Witness to the crime, the bystander, unable to help. With a deep, hoarse voice he says “You were there under Ms. Glee’s house weren’t you? I was looking for you.” And then calls me out by name.
The end cannot possibly be near. I’ve got to escape. I have to leave before I hear the end of this monologue. The monologue which always ends with the person snuffing out a soul from this world. With all my might, I run forwards. It looked impossible to knock him down. But if that’s what it took to survive, so be it. He moves aside the second I’m about to hit him. A clean dodge. In accordance with my plan. I go for the doorway, not looking back. Running across the corridor towards the cubicles were a blur. Maybe it was the adrenaline, or just my vision.
Ross calls out me and I look back for a second. The sight is mind boggling. Every person clogged up in their filthy cubicles were staring at me. Ross started to walk towards me and that’s when my suspicion went out of bounds. They’re after me. In a split second, I’m two storeys down the stairwell. I can hear my coat calling out to me. I feel guilty for leaving it behind. It’s always sad to leave behind a comrade on the battlefield. I reach the gate and Bob stands in my way. I push right across him as he shouts my name, asking me stop.
I don’t understand, how much is my head worth? Is it enough for people to turn against me? Even my loved ones? Maybe the bonds I made weren’t that strong. Maybe I failed at being the proper loved one. Or maybe unbreakable bonds don’t exist. There’s no bond in the world that money cannot break. I’m not the only victim to this inevitable situation but also a suspect. Maybe there are poor souls out there, watching every move. The one’s who are afraid to talk to strangers. The one’s who do not get out of the house. People who can hardly trust anyone. Maybe I’m about to become one of them. It has been the right way to live all along.
I run across the same crosswalk I stood on before. Run through the same alleyway. Ignoring Ms. Glee’s house for the very first time. This was no time to be a lackey. It rained heavily. Droplets as huge as marbles came down. Patting the ground harshly, forcing to bend the cobblestone ground. Soaking wet, I run through the rain. It’s often fun running through rain when you’re not chased by every person in the city.
Every stranger seemed to have their eyes on me. I had an eye on everyone as I run across them. I had eyes on the road. I had eyes on the sidewalk. I was aware of every object around me as I ran around helplessly. I was sure a car would hit me out of nowhere. With a smug smile on his face, the driver would claim victory. For a second, I felt like it would’ve been a perfect way to go. I wouldn’t see it coming. The anticipation of death would never arise.
I couldn’t wait to reach home. My hideout, the most stupid place to hide from the world. Which was soon going to be my exile.
I put on every lock in existence as I dripped all over the carpet. I put on the last lock and locked the chain. It was comforting. The familiarity of the surroundings, the humming of the age old refrigerator. I glance over the locks for the last time before getting a change of clothes. I look around the house and feel a certain kind of sadness take over me. The window was foggy. The day was still grey. Once this passes, it’ll be alright. Paranoia hasn’t vanished, it’s hibernating. I change into something warm, yet comfortable enough to handle physical stress.
I wasn’t going to go out without a fight. I push the sofa and place it facing the door. The screech is mild, the dusty carpet resists the movement of the sofa. Is it against me too now?
I sit on the sofa, with a baseball bat right beside me.
I haven’t felt this way since the time I fought off a few bag snatchers years ago. It was the highlight of my vigilante career. It started then and ended with the grateful gesture by the lady. But here I am now, a criminal resisting arrest. Every muscle in my body seems stiffened. The brown, cherry wood door is all I can see. With nothing at the periphery of my vision other than the bat. Is it really possible to survive when everyone is against you? The general thought of ‘good triumphs over evil’ now seems like a bloated mindset. A code of conduct for the slaves of ethics. I hear a mild tap on the door as I there contemplating.
It’s time. I grab a hold of my bat. My mind isn’t ready for it. It begs to reconsider. With cocked arms I move cautiously towards the door. The knocking amplifies, but it doesn’t seem hostile. Hostility is never on a hitman’s mind. It’s just the job.
“Who is it?” I shout. The knocking is repetitive. It has a rhythm to it. “I said, Who is it?” I scream and I hear a reply in a soft coarse voice.
“It’s me, Bob. The security guy at the office. You know me right?”
“What do you want Bob? Why are you doing this?” I retort.
“Sir, your cousin was supposed come to meet you today. Don’t you remember? He came the office today, did you happen to meet him? He says he met you in the office. I saw you running back home from the office. Is everything alright sir?” there’s a slight indication of worry and concern in his voice.
Reality is amusing. It’s omnipresent yet so elusive. Maybe reality is truly a fragment of our minds. Sometimes, when the mind gets bored, it abandons reality or maybe shuts it off temporarily. The mind tells you a story, or in my case, has you live through it. It gives you a taste of different lifestyle. The repetitive days were unending. I never knew the date or day of the week as it hardly mattered. My body, the autonomous entity went through its daily tasks. The mind is forced to come along. It is tortured, forced to live a life nobody would love. Torture isn’t a sudden infliction of pain. It’s the anticipation of pain and lack of it. All I ever did was head to the office and come back, have a few beers and read.
Office, beer, read.
Office, beer, read.
Office, date, more beer, sleepless night.
Office, date, no one to split the bill with, beer, sleep.
Office, beer, read.
Sleep, die, office.
But once a while, the mind fights back. When it does, it’s a sight to relish. A risky experience, that Is always worth it. It’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away even if you want to. It amazing how the mind can weave a different reality with the harsh, realistic, boring version of it.
My mind had me convinced that I was being hunted. It had me convinced that I was part of a big crime. It had me not recognize my cousin. I applaud the capability of this chunk of meat residing within our skulls.
My cousin knew he could find me under Ms. Glee’s window. He knew my generic life. The people calling out to me at the alleyway weren’t strangers but residents of the buildings, trying to console a bereaving part of me. The part that still missed Ms. Glee.
Ross wasn’t about to assassinate me, he was concerned about my poor performance at the job. Bob wasn’t a killer, he’s still a dear friend of mine. Mittens wasn’t possessed, it was just hungry.
I drop the bat, place it at the usual place. Every muscle relaxes slowly. “I’m alright Bob. Thanks for your concern. I’m a little sick, that’s all. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I say as I look around the house.
It has stopped raining, the fog in the window is vanishing slowly.
“Get well soon sir. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Says Bob as he walks away. I can hear the sound of his footsteps receding on the hardwood floored corridor.
I place the sofa back at it’s place. Lay down on the bed staring at the cracked ceiling. A break from reality is fun but it leaves just as silently as it seeps in. It leaves you dealing with the harsh, boring version of it once again.
But I’m thankful. It’s a light in my foggy life. This rainy day was sunny enough for my life.
I’ll be alright, if not, I might embark on another crazy adventure. Crazy in a literal sense.
Being crazy isn’t socially acceptable, maybe because the boundless freedom it gives. A freedom from the inhibitions holding someone back. Freedom from responsibility. Freedom to live a life or get through with the deluded version of it. It’s too unrealistic for the sane. ‘People fear the unknown’
I truly am living groundhog day maybe. Tomorrow is going to be the same old thing, until I or my mind chooses to do something about it.
“we’ll see” says my mind and proceeds to call out my name.
I lay down, stare at the cracked ceiling as I contemplate about the weird day. The cracks seem to widen, and contract at the same time. It’s weird. Or maybe it’s just my blurred vision.