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.

Reminiscing Humanity

In a crowded train in a busy town,
A poor old guy looks around,
But sadly, a seat was not to be found,
And no one could help with heads bowed down.

Only one gentleman, with head held high,
Offers his seat to the poor old guy.
The guy takes it, returns a smile,
A smile that’s really one of a kind.

It wasn’t like a greeting, it was true,
one redolent of a warm thank you,
but sadly, no one else in the train knew.
The gentleman and the guy were the only two.

He caught his breath and took his place,
Grateful for this little space.
But the smile doesn’t last on his shriveled face,
As the look of relief quickly fades.

No matter how hard he tries,
Worry’s apparent in his eyes.
His costly watch was a poor disguise,
for his torn sweater told no lies.

He fumbles with the toothpastes in his bag,
Sales of the day had gone really bad.
He sits worried with fidgeting hands.
Feeling helpless, without plans.

But he calms himself as logic sets in,
Hopes die, reality begins.
Yesterday and today are not akin.
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win.

The act of humanity rekindles the smile,
A mellow return from a short exile.
The rest of the crowd would’ve witnessed the guy,
Had they looked up from their phones for a while.

The Dilemma

He was pacing around the terrace like a madman. Grave indecision had taken him over and he was running out of time. Festive spirit was in the air and he found it invigorating. Fireworks exploded in the night sky, causing commotion all around.

The atmosphere was analogous to his turmoil. For a minute he was excited and for the next, he was tensed. He was happy he’d meet her but was afraid he’d intrude. He knew this was an opportunity but he also wished he didn’t have it.

It was all very new to him. In fact, to them both. Neither knew how to handle it, so they tried to play it cool. This foolish charade kept him wondering if she didn’t want to invite him or if she was hesitant as well.

She did give him subtle hints but it only seemed like she was kidding around. He never received an official invite and he was struggling to come to terms with it. But after pacing for about a mile, he finally decided to take the matter into his own hands. To show her its okay. To take the leap forward. To finally break the ice.

He marched towards her house, pretending to be cool to mask his tension. And when he got there, after what seemed like an eternity, he saw her in a new light, literally. Her face, basking in the glow of fireworks, seemed to have a soft golden radiance. It was a sight he wouldn’t forget and it’s still etched on his heart.

There wasn’t any tension. There was only anxiety, the good kind.

And maybe he would’ve felt better had he known she felt the same.

Blink!

Pscyzophenic Hallucinoma (ski·zo·feen·ic | Halu·see·no·mah). That is what the doctor had called it. Agnes very well knew it wasn’t curable and was getting tired of these check-ups. It was Miss Margaret, her orphanage’s housemother, who had insisted she get checked by a professional from the city. But the result, to no one’s surprise, wasn’t any different.

Agnes would occasionally experience hallucinations. Now, these were quite peculiar, given the fact that only her vision gets compromised. She can remain in complete control of her faculties, but her mind concocts visions that often distort reality. Something that’s even more strange, is that her visions alter every time she blinks, almost changing completely. One second she’s seeing the Eifel tower and blink! She’s at a beach.

The visions are usually empty sceneries and Agnes loved few of them. Although it was factually a disease, she marveled at what her brain could create. It was never really cumbersome. In fact, it was her personal get-away. She had the privilege of escaping the crowd, where she could be alone yet not feel lonely.

She was promised a visit to the Lakeview park if she’d agree to go for the check-up. So there they were, sitting on a desolate park bench overlooking the lake. It was a chilly, overcast day which was to Agnes’s liking. It was the perfect setting to be introspective and she felt a mix of emotions swell inside her.

She watched calmly as shriveled leaves fell from the sky in spirals, making a muted soft landing. The lake was eerily placid at first, but soon its turbid waters turned foggy. It looked like it would rain, but not anytime soon. It took a while for Agnes to realize that she’d begun hallucinating.

The mist that had previously engulfed the park now began to recede into the waters. Familiar apparitions silhouetted against the fog, becoming clearer by the second. Soon the haziness faded away and the view was crisp again. So she watched closely, at the silhouettes coming to life. The silhouettes of those she held dearly. The silhouettes of her lost family.

Her family was huddled together. She was standing beside her dad who was looking down at her, smiling. He lifts her up in the air and twirls her around. The whole world spins around her, with only she and her dad remaining static. Her mother was there too, holding her baby brother. She’s had extremely beautiful visions, but this new one topped all.

Tears roll in her eyes, warm and clear. A similar warmth suffuses her heart, soothing swirling emotions. Far away, she sees her dad holding her hand, looking down at her with proud and calm eyes. Her mother gently brushes her hair and kisses on her forehead. Meanwhile, Agnes here was struggling to keep her eyes open.

Agnes had a beatific smile spread across her face as tears well up in her eyes. Her eyelids quaver helplessly, obfuscating vision. They keep narrowing down to a close as she struggles to take one last peek. One last look at the lovely family. One last look at her happy self…One last look before…..

Blink!

The Psychotic Love

He crawled backward on both hands. His back scrubbing against concrete, chest splattered with blood, and eyes looking skyward; fixated on his towering hunter and desperately pleading for mercy.

His heart pounded harder by the second and he had never felt more alive. He was deep in regret and fear was the only other emotion. Hopes of Cod forgiving him had deafened by now.

Meanwhile, a roadside tramp, infamous for her psychotic conduct and erratic realism, came running towards Cod. The gathered crowd watching her run assumed that that would be her end, for good.

The blade glimmered in sunlight as Cod’s hand rose high. A flash almost blinded his prey’s vision which he feared would be his last. He closed his eyes and waited for the blow; A blow that would never come.

The tramp had embraced Cod from behind, just before he could bring down his wrath. She started claiming Cod to be her long-lost son and started screaming in joy. The crowd burst into laughter after witnessing the frenzy.

The dread in the atmosphere dissipated. This infuriated Cod further, and he decided to get rid of her. He’d almost swung his blade in her direction when he froze to interpret what she’d just said.

“I Love you, my son. Please let’s go home. I’m tired.”

He’d been bereaved and alone lately, and she’d hit the right note. The words didn’t make logical sense, but their essence was satisfying. He turned around to hug her, much to the shock of the crowd.

Cod got arrested shortly after and the crazy lady lost her “son”, again. The victim was grateful and so was Cod. The lady finally stopped her search and had mentally adopted Cod. The psychotic lady had saved a life and she didn’t even know it.

The Reassurance

She felt that shortcomings had her stymied, so herself she reminded…

 

That fences will be mended,

And apologies, accepted.

 

That time will kill regret,

And people, they forget.

 

That contribution will survive,

And hope, stays alive.

 

That applaud will someday arrive,

And respect, will transpire.

 

That “always” is sometimes wrong,

And forever, too long.

 

That wrong is never right,

But darkness, fears light.