Wednesday, February 13, 2008
a story i wrote.
I dedicate this story to my friend Christo who has been my inspiration. From whom, my idea came. And to Nasar, from whom came the drive and eagerness.
The faint lights from the neighbours building fell on their pale faces. Christopher and Johan sat on the terrace. They blew out smoke rings and intentionally tried to evade their problems. John kept his mind off his job hunt and the choice of offers he’d be making soon. And Christo’s biggest worry was the lack of activity that causes some worry at least.
Two childhood friends sat on this Saturday night unaware of the world around them. Slightly aware of their own lives and high on not just alcohol.
Christopher has always lived his life with his parents. He went to the local school where high brow kids came. He skipped college and went to take a vocational course, just because he had to get a job. He took his degree and never did go to work. He was the only son, of two nagging, very concerned and busy parents.
Most of the time, he felt that he didn’t fit in. He drank a lot. He smoked like a chimney and got three tattoos. One was his girlfriend’s name. Soon after, she cheated on him and they broke up. He kept quiet most of the time, and became an easy target for all his friends for a banter.
Johan was one of those friends. They studied together and lived close by. He frequented Christo’s house and spoke to his mom, more than her son did.
Taking a big sip of his golden whiskey, Johan asked his friend “what would you give your life for, in order to change it?”
And then there was a pause. A long silence that engulfed the moment. And before he could say anything… his cell phone rang.
“When are you coming home? Do you intend to at all. I really think It’s time for you to be with people who know what responsibility means. You’re 25 and you’re not behaving it at all…”
“NOT the best time. I’ll come in sometime. You sleep. Bye.” Phone disconnected.
Johan looking at his annoyed friend and asked, “Tell me Chris, what you think of your mom. You both are always arguing. You’re so drunk dude. Don’t go home like this. I’m sure she’ll fuck your happiness is she sees you like this.”
“She’s a headache. I won’t even speak. I’ll go home and crash.”
They sat for some time. Had a few more sips. And before they knew it, the whiskey bottle beat Christo to something. It got empty first, while his head was still infested with various thoughts about love, life and misery.
There was a silent prayer said that night.
A rusty key opened a wooden door. And two dirty shoes entered. And Johan walked in slightly sick and extremely drunk. Christo’s mother sat inside, watching tv without actually watching it. Flipping through the channels late night, as she waited for sleep to arrive.
Seeing Johan walking about in her house like a zombie, she asked him angrily, “where is Chris?? Have you left your friend in the gutter? I must call your mother to tell her what nonsense you both are up to.”
And he just replied with a puzzled look. “Mom, have you been taking your sleeping pills or something?”
“Huh?? I don’t appreciate your tone Johan. I want to know where Chris is. I want to know now. Is he out at some other fiends place?..... you’re too drunk to make any sense of it anyway. I’ll just call him to check.”
The phone rang.
The ring came from right next to her. From Johan’s faded jeans pocket.
She flared up even more.
“Okay. So you’ve exchanged your cell phones also. The joke’s over. Your games must end now.” She marched towards the door. And came back hastily to pick up the car keys from the table.
“Mom. Seriously I don’t get what’s going on. I really don’t there’s no time for this. Well I’m going to sleep. See you in the morning.”
“Johan, this isn’t funny anymore. I want to know where my son is. You two have gone totally out of hands. I’ll have to inform uncle if you don’t tell me right away. Tell me if your brother’s at home? I’m going there right now to pick up Chris. Are you coming along?”
“Firstly, stop calling me Johan. I don’t even know where he is now. And secondly, I don’t talk to that man much, but I still call him dad, and not uncle. And mom I’m not even going to respond to your other question. How the hell will I know if Johan’s brother is at home? I don’t even know where he went. We were just drinking on the terrace for god’s sake. I don’t keep a check on him.”
Her face was turning pale. And the traces of anger on her face were now replaced with fear.
“Listen, this bull shit is getting out of hands. Just tell me where is Christopher.” She nervously dialled her husband’s number. It didn’t matter that he was on a ship. In
The phone rang but there was no answer.
“You’re going mad mom. Please don’t freak me out. ……. Okay wait, see this picture, since you refuse to recognise me.
He walked to the cabinet and picked up an old album. Wiped the dust clean, and opened it to see the faded picture.
And he saw himself… only 14 years old. A lanky boy with an oversized sombrero. And a pale face. Sitting between his parents. In the background, there was a famous fountain.
“Look. Now tell me this also never happened.”
Mrs. Fernandes looked amused. Confused. And slightly sick.
The prayer was answered. Now Christo was Johaan. And vice versa. They were now going to lead different lives. The lives that they always only heard about, as stories. They were now going to play roles in that story now.