The Eternal Youth

Mr. Zigar had seen his wife’s cheeks flush only twice. The day of his wedding and the day their son was born. He still remembers how his wife, seated in the back seat of the Buick, held baby Zafran in her arms. Smiling down at the fragile baby wrapped delicately in a pink towel. At first, he thought her blush was from the towel but later saw that her cheeks had a glow of their own.

As if his memories had leaked into his wife, she was also thinking about the same thing. She remembered his muted yawns and blissful laughs. Each of which contorted his entire body, narrowed his eyes to the point of closing and opened his un-teethed mouth but made no sound. She was smiling now, as she realized how talkative he’d soon become.

She recollected all the times she acted dumb when he had asked her about something. She longed for his naive explanations that followed, some of which were hilariously wrong. Like the time when he stressed that the stars were pixie dust and that Uncle Ben’s belly was full of grape jelly. With laughter dammed behind pursed lips, she would try to act surprised, and it was convincing enough for the boy.

The contemporariness of their recollections now showed chronology, as Mr. Zigar remembered Zafran’s first day of school. The little boy’s excitement while leaving the home, had upended into a nostalgic frenzy as they approached the school. Tears had left behind soot-gray streams that ran along his powdered cheeks. An hour of his mother’s efforts to dress him well went down in vain.

Mr. Zigar, amused by his son’s simple-mindedness, decided to relieve the boy of his nightmare and postponed his first-day to another day. Mrs. Zigar decided to powder him at the school next time. A horde of ‘first-time’ memories now flooded their conscious. His first-time on the bike, how he was quick to learn. His first-time on the roller-coaster, how he feigned bravery and wet his pants. His first-date, and how he was charming, or so he told.

All of these memories fought to stay alive in their heads, each leaving behind a pang of longing, as they were moving along the school lane, watching kids of different ages pass them by. Imagining how their own son had been at that age. It was a routine they’d never be tired of and were too afraid to give up. Their thoughts were mercilessly interrupted by the school’s first bell, and then all the kids rushed-in through the gates.

The silvery-grey Buick turned around the corner, leaving the lane at a leisurely pace. It was an old, retiring car that never managed to grab attention. With a rusting metal body that creaked everytime it hit a bump, the car had a sad, dispirited aura that contrasted with the kids’ lively, buoyant spirits.

The gloomy middle-aged couple inside were held responsible for the decrepit state of the car. It’s engine’s roar had mellowed down to a melody and no possible throttle could restore its lost vigor. It was becoming increasingly difficult for Mr. Zigar to drive the old rack. But it was house to plenty an emotion to be disposed of so easily. It was an epitome of their journey.

Although disheartening, there gleamed around the corner, a silver-lining. The kids flocking to school along that lane were never older than 13. Their son who was doomed to remain eternally young in their memories, would never grow beyond that age. Thus enabling this single bitter-sweet routine to suffice them. For the rest of their lives.

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A Penchant for Change

Anyone I know is at any of these tables? No. Super. What are the odds, huh! Lunchtime here is best spent in solitude. It’s not peace, but solitude will do. Now I know the fine line.

This place looks, ummm…what’s the word… ‘professional’. People here almost want to break the ice, I know it. I feel it. I could easily put them out of this misery. But I don’t. It’s nice for me that way.

I’m afraid if I……Ohhh cute girl alert. Cute girl alert. Keep cool. Stay calm. It’s the same dumb ass! Act like you’re busy! not lonely, maybe use your phone for……Don’t bother she’s gone. Was my hair okay?

Pathetic.

( sigh )

Anyway, I’m afraid I’ll become one of them if I give in. I see zero motivation. It’s so slow around here.

( Kyle, one of his new friends, passes by )

” Oh hey! How’s it going? Sitting here alone? “

” Not for long, my buddies are going to come soon. ( That’s why I’m eating quickly ). How’s it going with you? “

” Same old. Same old. ”

Surprise, surprise.

( Awkward pause ) ” Well, see you around. “

” Sure! “

Phew! I almost invited her to join me. Dodged a bullet there.

Anyway, I don’t want to be ensconced here. I’ve gotta stay aloof. I keep building these umm….imaginary walls that fortify my personality. With no sneak peeks. Authorized personnel only. But false facades could help. False facades? How redundant.

I have to step out of my fort to mingle with the crowd. A painstaking switch into a pretentious lie. Pretentious lie? What’s with you today.

I have a butt-load to shout out, but there’s no one to hear. They echo in my head. Unheard voices bouncing off unseen walls. Guess that’s how empty forts are.

The Moral Decadence – 1/2

“Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God? “

“I do.”

“Mrs. Margaret thank you for being here with us today. Can you elaborately state what happened on the night of February 28th?”

“Certainly. Ooh it was a horrible night! Horrible…..horrible. It has been six months since, but I still cannot shake off the trauma. It was late at night, around 10pm I suppose when I had heard someone wail. It sounded really familiar and it was coming from next door. I was worried for Bob, I was worried something bad had happened to him. A good man he was really. And I was right to worry.

I peeped through my window and saw hazy silhouettes. They looked like the silhouettes of two men. One was fat and the other slim. I presumed the fat one to be Bob, but I wasn’t sure about the other one. The slim one, with a knife in hand, was repeatedly lunging at the other one. After several swings and misses, he finally struck.

Oh! It was brutal. Utter diabolical. The fat one clutched his heart with one hand and raised the other in a muted forgiveness. But the slim one didn’t stop. Blow after blow. Strike after strike. Blood splattered over the blinds and painted the scene red. He then started to choke the other as he staggered towards the kitchen. And that’s where I saw them.

The fat one revealed itself first and I was right about its identity. And when the slim one slowly came to view, I felt my very foundations shake.

It was Walters. His face was purely cynical. His eyes were possessed. He put all his effort into strangling Bob, like his life depended on it. Bob saw me through the window and his dozy eyes pleaded for help. I cupped my mouth with both my hands and began to sob uncontrollably. I felt sorry for him. I felt helpless.

But all my sobbing suddenly stopped when I saw Walter seeing me. I was horrified. And so was he. A feeling of anger pulsed within me on seeing his pathetic face. I was taken over by a fit of adrenaline and decided to take action. So I ran towards the door. I wanted to scare him off and rescue Bob. I still had hope.

I barged into Bob’s house and it was dark everywhere. I took a baseball bat with me for protection, not that I could use one at this age. Only the kitchen lights were on and I moved cautiously. I peeped in and only Bob was there, lying on the floor. Lying in a pool of blood oozing out of his punctured, mutilated body.

I couldn’t hold my emotions. I was furious. But also scared. I felt like a deer left in a lion’s cage. Waiting to be hunted. But ready to fight. I realized I hadn’t thought this through. Then I heard the door click and I realized I was trapped inside the house. The scoundrel tried to frame me, but blood red footprints outside the house proved my innocence. “

The Bailiff offered her some water. She calmed herself with a deep breath and wiped away her tears.

“Sorry to put you through this again Mrs. Margaret, but I promise to keep this quick. Did you know Mr. Walters very well?”

“Yes, I did.”

“So you’re positive you saw Mr. Walters that night, right?”

The Defense Attorney rose to shout, “Objection your Honor! That’s a leading question.”

“Objection Sustained”

The Plaintiff Attorney smiled. “Let me rephrase it for you, Mrs. Margaret. Considering your age and the low light conditions, are you sure you saw Mr. Walters that night?”

“Yes, I am. I can never forget the look of apprehension when he saw me notice. The dread in his eyes was chilling.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Margaret. You may now go back to your seat.”

Having heard the testimony, the jury was already convinced. But the Defense Attorney Jack Statham had an unflinching countenance. He had earlier talked to his client’s friends and they were all shocked to know this. From what they had told him, Walters seemed like a fine guy.

Moreover, Walters had the perfect alibi. He was at the airport at the time of the murder. His identity was verified by the Customs and these guys don’t mess around. And no, he did not have a secret twin. He checked.

He was fully convinced that his client was being falsely convicted. He’s an honest man who is true to his profession. He helps the weak raise voice against injustice and Walter’s case was an opportunity. He wanted a resounding win. A win that will teach a lesson.

“Does the prosecution have any other witnesses?”

“No, your Honor”

“Does the defense have any questions?”

“No your Honor. We’d like to call upon Mr. Walters to make his case.”

“Permission Granted”

It was going as planned. Walters would present his case, Jack would show security footage from the airport and his verified travel tickets as evidence. Jack wanted this case to serve as an example of how justice will always triumph. He wanted it to be impactful and inspiring.

“What do you have to say for yourself,  Mr. Walters?”, the Judge asked solemnly.

Walters spoke for the first time.

“I confess, your Honor.”

To be continued…

Cause Everybody Can’t be Me.

Some people talk only when it seems fit,

Maybe they’re too busy;

I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I don’t get it the way I want,

Maybe I should be flexible and free;

But that sick feeling always pokes around,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I can only act like I belong,

Maybe I’m not what they see;

It’s a constant reminder while moving along,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I hate to goof around and give  fake smiles,

It’s not my cup of tea;

I quit when it dawns after a while,

That everybody can’t be me.

 

I wonder if people think the same,

Maybe they have their own plea;

Sometimes I sigh, “Oh what a shame!

That everybody can’t be me”.

 

We want birds of the same feather. We can probably never be in a place where getting along with others will take nothing but being oneself. So what do we do then?

 

Well if it were up to us, we’d have the whole world dancing on it’s toes. We like people for what we think of them and what we’d like them to be rather than for who they are. We create a mental version of them which is strewn by our experiences with, and opinions of them. We engage in constant conflict to match this version to reality and feel frustrated otherwise.

 

Everybody has their own approach, their own perspectives, making them unique. But we often forget to acknowledge that,  because we cozily cuddle in our comfort zones, smugly believing we’re right.

 

We try to change them to our liking in order to feel comfortable. We thus miss out on a brand new personality that may open our eyes to a different perspective.

 

Change makes us uncomfortable. First opinions stick. Someone is termed ‘Different’ , quicker than ‘Unique’. People take time to identify potential, slower than they call names.

 

But one should have faith in one’s own ideals. They are to be preserved and cherished. Only the worthy deserve to hear them. In fact, they’re the only ones who can value them.

 

Change is important. It’s quite necessary. When we’re not around birds of the same feather, it’s okay to adopt another persona, but it’s foolish to mask our personality.