Saturday evening, Starbucks suffocated with people as usual. Had they been standing for few more minutes, might have killed each other for a coffee.
A gloomy elder, in a perfect suit and a shiny black shoe enjoyed his shake, besides me. Probably vanilla. He hit the table hard with both of his hands and slowly stood up, all at once. Silence. Everything halted – the constant gossips, those foodie selfies, forcing through line for order… a cold silence. He took a long pause, his dreadful eyes stuck on me.
“You, a disgraceful piece of scum, don’t you fucking dare call yourself a hero… worthless” he shouted as his face grew red, his veins took their vivid shapes. He did manage to give another blow to the table, the glass fell off, “Fucking Loser!”
A surge of anxiety those painful screams, the collapsing buildings, my failed attempts on concentrating my powers humans crying cursing me. Snaps of nightmare crossed my mind. These powers a curse I never wished for, all I wanted was a normal life.
Everyone suddenly had those same eyes cold, cursing. I took a deep breath calmed myself, expecting others to put themselves in my shoes has never suited me. These few seconds of silence felt an hour. Had my last sip of coffee. Shit! it’s cold. I tried to leave.
“Sorry, I failed” I patted his shoulders. What could I say more, I did fail. Again.
Moving through the exit, I didn’t look back. Didn’t have the courage.
Mary slowly walked out to the portico; her aged-lazy limbs could barely take steps. Rested her spine on the rocker, taking a few deep breaths while the morning sun kindled her oily-wizened skin.
“Mark… Mark!!” she stressed on the second.
“Are you listening?” she shouted leaning towards their front door. Mark ignored as he played his gramophone. His second sweetheart. He would polish it every day of his life, rubbing until it shone
“Would you bring my phone?” Mary said in her sweet voice. “That song is good” she whispered.
“Melodious!” Mark exclaimed as he brought her the phone. He sat on the rocker next to her, they smiled. “searching again. tsk” he sighed. Closed his eyes feeling each word.
“You are 99, Mary and I am 110. We can give up now. Our body don’t work enough these days.” He took a pause. “We lived as we dreamt. The freezing snow will hurt your withered body, that could hardly move now. Don’t you think we can die here, in peace?”
“We smile because we hope our dreams come true one day.” “Mark when we die beneath the Himalayas, I would smile knowing I died holding the hands of the only person I ever loved living every dream we both dreamt of.” Mary smiled as she looked towards Mark. She always smiled when she shared her heart’s consent.
“Love…” tears rolled down his wrinkled cheeks, he barely spoke the word.
“Love. Ah! the word.” “Isn’t it enchanting? I met you… since then all I ever wanted was to be by your side until my last breath and you adorned my dreams into something real, I never fantasized.”
He held her hand, Mary smiled.
“I love you” she mumbled.
“Don’t you feel like ending this? These deaths, the blood.” Dan suddenly spoke while he calculated the cash from our last trade, everyone shushed. Dan, a sympathetic soul and my eldest son. “Will there ever be peace?” He sulked.
“Life isn’t a bed of roses Dan, it’s a shitty empty hall” I remarked while Mike handed me the finest gift of nicotine- A Cohiba Behike. I couldn’t stop but smell, as I lit the Cohiba: That sweet flavored smoke, that feeling of holding the cigar in my right hand just worth all my 15000 dollars.
Peace, Love: a hoax. World is complete with hatred, conflict, greed, hateful eyes seeking power, hands soaked in blood of thousands- A cursed truth and I love it. The wars, communal clash, the grounds washed with blood and lonely corpses pierced with bullets Ah! I love it. A sublime scene, a scene of hatred, a scene of truth and a scene I admire.
“It’s about how you make your room worth living.” Money- the only true existence. “Peace is an illusion; Embrace the bloodbath Dan, we live on it.” I gave a glance on him. He nodded.
“Texas riots have increased, Hike everything by 20%.”
The trade for conflicts- a timeless business, the countless wealth and my empire built from the untold bloodsheds, O! I cherish being Mafia.
I lie awake gazing the darkness, sleep eludes me. Every time I close my eyes, I couldn’t but remember him, my eyes, my heart aches. That horrifying night I couldn’t forget. How can I. The day, darkness engulfed everything of mine.
My past haunts me every day, now.
A YEAR AGO
It was seven in the evening and we were counting the cash in our new hideout. Suddenly the lights went off. Silence, every one stood still. Sound of glass shattering to pieces, footsteps coming closer in the darkness.
“Don’t wait for them to come, you fucking morons” I shouted in the dark, “Kill those bloody bastards.” Kicked off my chair. Grabbed some cash I found on the table and forced in all my pockets. That darkness was terrifying, someone held my left hand- my heart beats fastened and my feet went cold.
“Dad, let’s go.” it was Dan’s voice. I felt relived. “They will be here soon”. Bullets were fired and the sound of footsteps came closer each seconds. We ran through our secret exit it went to my rover. Dan took the wheel; I sat next-took out those recklessly folded cash and made them in a neat bundle while Dan drove- the speedometer displayed 120.
“It has always been like this running for life, business, money. It’s like a stupid cycle.” Dan murmured, he had a straight face and a taut voice. I looked at him, wanted to shout money was everything for the thousandth time but he went on. “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. (A quote. Dead Poets Society.)”
“Life isn’t a bed of roses, but it isn’t an empty room either Dad.”
We drove through the abandoned town, two SUVs and their exasperating sirens continued our pursuit, fired gunshots shattered our back glass and probably the back didn’t have much room left for more holes. I leaned my head on the deck, held my, cash tight. I looked at Dan, the faint Wing brightness from the highlight glowed, his annoyed look ignores the firing.
“Love, Peace: these aren’t mere terms. The path we took is the only thing forbidding us. You will get it someday.”
“Sometimes it’s painful to open your eyes… just to see the truth. Hope you will understand someday Dad,” All of a sudden he fell off on the steering. I screamed. What happened? Dan. Dan. Say something. It was as if someone pierced my heart with a sword. I held him in my arms as his head lied on the steering. I cried held him tight, his blood wetted my body. I couldn’t let him go. I lost, I lost everything. I fainted.
“Mr. Jacob Copper? “Mr. Jacob?” the judge shouted.
“Yes… Ma’am.” Shocked.
“Do you have any last wish?” he said and the courtroom became noisy, everyone had an glommy look on their faces. “Don’t ask for his wishes. He probably wishes to kill us all.” a manly voice from the back, everyone clapped. Well, why won’t they be; I would finally die- the most wanted mafia mobster who burnt towns-killed thousands and bathed in their blood.
I wished this world find love and peace someday, the only thing my dying son wished for. I failed as a father. Dan didn’t deserve me.
I sat on my bed waiting for my death.
‘Where the hell are you? Just come already! It’s just me,’ It’s been a year since Nina went to Bangalore.
Fondle my hair with greasy fingers, sprayed the deodorant as usual. ‘You look fine let’s go, goddamn it.’ ‘I am waiting in the car,’ Anurag, his face distorted in rage. I checked myself for the last thousandth time.
Hmm… not my finest look. A minute late and I could visualize these two burning me alive.
Well, I couldn’t be blamed. I prolonged this moment for a whole twelve months; when I could wrap my tedious arms against her tender soul, hold her squishy palms and walk the entire day. Every cell, awakened with vigor, urged to catch her glimpse. I couldn’t but rushed through the corridor, down the stairs.
Hostel front door, packed with everyone gabbling, relishing the sunday cool breeze and the gloomy sky. ‘Ah! as if it’s your fucking wedding today,’ Rohit smirked.
‘One puff?’ extending his cigarette,
‘No.’ Of course! I don’t want to smell, and drive away my chances to kiss.
‘Everything’s perfectly ready in the car.’ ‘And yes… Best of luck for tonight. See you tomorrow,’
Ah! that sinister smiles. I could feel, something stupid was about to happen; and they did… Ah! those times.
Those had been the most graceful days of my worthless life. I hate that, I lost the only fainted light to my darkness.
Anurag drove me to the college gate, I promptly reviewed my backseat: Bouquet check, Silk check, balloons check. It was all perfect. Eyes halted gazing, that point of time as if lost its speed; buried in the phone, held herself to a trolley. I felt her unpleasant mood to have sit in a bus stoppage. Yet, I was in love with her all over again. Her black kurti hid her smooth skin, it’s red collar paired her dupatta. Pounding heart echoed my senses, my mind had already knelled to propose again. Those Long shiny curls falling around her shoulder, that instant when she arranged back her hair around the left ear shining out her jhumka. My sight, my feelings revolted to run towards, as in like those cheesy romantic Bollywood films; It just felt real.
‘Oye, Calm down. You will die if don’t breathe,’ Anurag cracked up looking at me. Adjusting the sterring to cross the road. It happened in a split second.
I froze. He screamed. My ears buzzed excruciating in pain. Eyes couldn’t blink. Lungs stopped breathing. The broken cements drenched in blood. The truck had squeezed her soul into those plasters. Each moment of the crash, crushing her body into nothingness, me watching helplessly, imprinted to be remembered every day, and wish to die.