The imp.

“I do not wait for unconsciousness to force my eyes shut. The moment the blue truck hits my bike and sends us flying in the air, I let go. I close my eyes, refuse to hug myself and hold on to the shattered pieces of my being. I stretch my arms, loosen my grip and let myself fall on the concrete. When I said I wanted to be a grounded person, I didn’t mean this, gosh!

My left arm hits the ground first, dislodging itself from my shoulder. I hear the bone break before I feel the dampness of the blood on my neck. It is strangely comforting. The warmth of the sun and the pool of blood are soothing enough for me. I open my eyes and see a right hand, palms up and dipped in blood. I try to hold that hand when I realize it is my own. That brings up a chuckle and some blood right out of my mouth. Sometimes, when you’re broken, you can’t always hold your hand, pick yourself up and get on with life. Because sometimes, you really are broken. I make myself laugh from the inside, I refuse to look up or cry for help. I stare at my severed palm and try to make out the lifeline hidden in that blood somewhere. I watch the blood pool beneath me getting bigger. The blood moves around in perfect, steady curves. I decide to trace its boundaries with my fingers. I try to move my fingers; only the forefinger moves. Soon enough, my eyes start to close, so I let them. I am being lifted up by some strangers. I don’t like that. One of them climbs on top of me and tries to get my heart start beating on its own. Suddenly, my eyes are wide open. It’s so dark. Why is it so dark?

I am lying straight. I should move to my side. I can’t move to my side. I try to move my forefinger, I can’t do it either. I feel the heavy weight on my chest. May be the strangers are still trying to save me. But, why am I at home? I try to shift my gaze from the roof towards the stranger sitting over me. I have to keep staring at it in the darkness to make out what I am looking at. She is crouched up on my chest. She’s so tiny. How can such a tiny person weigh so much? The heaviness is killing me. She smiles at me. The pain is killing me, I try to say. But no voice comes out of my mouth. She continues to smile ear to ear. What’s happening? Why can’t I move?  I yank my neck to my right, a hand waves at me. I keep staring in that direction, but it’s just the hand. I try to close my eyes and go back to sleep. I can feel my body shrink. I want to ride a bike and get hit by a blue truck. I want to be able to choose my demons.

My home is full of people, so many people. I don’t recognize any of them. “Hello, who are you?” I ask one. She keeps her hand on my shoulder. I break away from her. I bump into several people in the process, making me sprint away faster. I am running away from my own home. I don’t want to run away. My eyes open up again. I stare to my right, the hand waves. A smile appears above it. I look to my left: two faces, smiling ear to ear, shaking their heads. I try to look away; my neck is so stiff. Someone help me! I try to shake my arms, my legs, neck, anything, everything… Nothing moves, except those faces, smiling at me. I struggle like that for a few minutes, or hours? I try to shout, but all I get is a steady stream of teardrops trickling down from my eyes.”

I stare at the words. I stare at them long enough to strip them off their meaning. I stare at them till the wish to be in an accident and get extremely hurt lays bare, till the shamelessness of writing it down hits hard. I stare at the words that fail to communicate the experience of several regular episodes of sleep paralysis. There’s no relief in being stuck, there’s no relief in running away.  The words dissolve into the randomness that is this moment in life. The forced expressions, the obvious, suggested humor in the work melt into the chaos, taking that last bit of shame with them.

“I want to be able to choose my demons.”  Seriously? Accident would be a trick of fate; sleep paralysis, just a bump in the natural process. But writing and having written? What weird imp is this? I wait for a moment of realization to strike. I wait for this random blackness to move just a tiny bit aside to let the bright light blind my eyes, giving me something more than the clichéd dark-and-light imagery. But deep inside, I am happy with this cliché. It’s dependable and encouraging at the same time. It’s always there, even when it’s not.

The words mock me. They mock me for all the times I used them at places I shouldn’t have. Wait. I refuse to take that shit. I write some more to hit them back; because I would use them again at the same places if I had a chance to do over again. Am I playing with them or am I the one being played with?

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Till Death Do Us Apart

EMPTY-CRIB

I put the umbrella behind the door; it hadn’t really helped me with the rain. How could it? The rain, like so many other things I had been experiencing, was unreal. I locked the door and double checked it, hoping she’d stay out tonight.

“I’m real” she whispered in my ear.

I turned around, not a sign of her. But she was there, I knew it. Talking to an overpaid lady as she pretends to hear me out hasn’t helped. All the medicines I was being forced to chug down, haven’t either. If anything, they were making her stay. All this scribbling over a notepad, and that feeling of being strangled and chocked by an inter-mixing of chemicals. All it does, is remind me of her even more.

As soon as I sat on the couch, the armchair opposite it sank under her weight. I tried to look away, and my eyes were greeted by our picture on the side desk. She sure was a looker. And then I looked across the table, how decayed and rotten she had become. 
I loved her, anyway.

I turned on the television; it might help me stay sane. The man in the idiot box smiled. It was a smile of misfortune, even he pitied me. 
“She won’t go away till you do it. You know that right?”
I changed the channel.

“He killed me, butchered me. All while you observed in silence”. Her voice was getting colder by the day.

“Look at me. Look at me”, she demanded my attention. 
“Were you always lying…” her voice broke “…when you used to say that I’m the one?”

I was reminded of all the promises I had made, and she was quick to read my mind.

“Don’t you remember? We were supposed to be together. And it, it took me away. It separated us”

I hated it when she would call him an ‘it’. There was a cry from the master bedroom.

“Even now it wouldn’t let us have a moment of peace.” She snarled.

I looked at her. The skin below her eyes had dried and stretched to her lips. But her eyes, well they had remained as truthful as ever. She was right, as always. We were always meant to be. I had made her believe that I’d protect her, even in the most severe of times. And yet here I was, as helpless as I was then. I had failed myself. I had failed our marriage. But I could take all that, it was all the hate that she projected towards me that made me miserable.
A man can’t live a miserable life, can he? Not if he can do something about it.

I moved to the kitchen and opened the central drawer. I took out a knife; her smile visible at its sharp end.

She came closer to me, pulled me by the neck, and said.

“Do it. Avenge me. Avenge our love.”

I casually walked in to the master bedroom, where I had kept him, tied and bound to his bed. I leaned over and looked at him, the murderer of my wife. He looked back at me with his childlike innocence.

“Don’t let it get to you this time. Do it. And soon, we will be together again”. She whispered.

He cried. He cried for his innocence, for that is all he could do.

“Slice it. Slice it into pieces. Do it”. She shouted over my shoulder.

He looked at me with no remorse. He had no feeling of guilt, no sense of wrongdoing. How could he, that little devil.

I positioned the knife. He did not retaliate. In the background, I could hear her laughing.

I waited for it to say something, to convince me to stop. But how could he speak, he had been born barely days go. And so, I raised the knife and stabbed him thrice.

Her laughter faded away, and all that was left was a deafening silence. She had left me, finally. I wiped the grin of my face and proceeded to clean the blood that had dripped down the cradle.

A Moment’s Escape

‘ Strap them on, I like the way you look in them.’

I glanced back at him, his eyes hidden behind the glass he was emptying. He put it down, wiped his mouth and looked at me. A little smile playing on his lips, his eyes, polite. I smirked and got back to my glass, touching the brim. I liked rum I told him, though I’d rather just have the coke. Wine would’ve been expensive, though I wouldn’t mind the cheaper port kind, if only he could find it. We only had half hour and role play was costing too much.

‘ Try being a little more expeditious than that, monsieur. ‘

He caught the sarcasm and the word, I was impressed. Ruffling his hair, he decided to give himself a moment. On the floor, my heels crossed on the mattress, he took my foot in his hand and kept on his lap. Taken by his touch, I almost forgot about the liquid edging at the brim. I caught myself before my expressions would betray me, though I was relieved to find him occupied elsewhere. None of the things I had seen or read could’ve prepared me for what was happening. His fingers gently took the black four inch heels he had me buy, and put them on my foot, buckle by buckle.

As I watched him do it, it struck me that none of the guys ever went for the foot. Which is strange knowing that foot fetishes are as common as well, everything we get to hear about pleasure. I remember the pillow talks I’ve had in past and how I wish I never have to have another one in future. They’re good as long as they use their mouths for other than talking.  And this one was nicely on track. Eyes closed, back on the wall and my feet in his warmth, I let my thoughts wander. They say drinks help you loosen up. I believe all they do is allow one to be their visceral self, and be socially acceptable at the same time. I suppose that’s quite something, simply because nothing else liberates people from our society’s judgment.  I figured its wiser to know how to control myself with alcohol in my system than to regret later not having the experience. Though, as months passed by, I realized that the only thing they help me do, is stop thinking. It would make sense to believe that its the ability to think critically and process information which makes people who they are, though its this same relentless process which has sapped me of my energy.  A few weeks back, when I was in a risky situation, I decided to examine my body as part of an experiment. Over the week, with harrowing obsessing and over thinking, as my stress level rose I observed my health deteriorate, and ultimately succumb to disastrous cold and a fever. Astounded by mind’s capacity to influence the body, I decided to test reaction time lines by eliminating the stress factor and found a dramatic change : my temperature dropped by three points, and my cold disappeared overnight.

Mind and it’s capabilities have never ceased to take me by surprise, or the utter stupidity of people for that matter. Remembering all the needless drama that used to happen in college, I wondered when our minds are capable of great deeds, why do people entangle themselves in superficiality of perceptions and forget that opinions are but worthless entities. The only time their presence should be dealt with, is when they penetrate through the psyche and start brewing trouble. We can chose to not have it affect us, just like everything else, though that is also a very slippery slope.

I remember reading this book on the paradox of choice, where they talk about how we tend to believe that our choices are our own, making us the true creators of our world.  It reflects on the belief, that to maximize welfare of the people, one should maximize freedom, and the way to do that, is to maximize choice. After all, when we have lots of choice, we can pick what’s best for us. This thought that – choice and it’s power of autonomy – is absolute, is so deeply ingrained in our system, that people don’t even bother to question it anymore. I smirked at the change of the discourse of my thoughts. Really, this incessant thinking needs some serious stopping. If the prospect of a decently pleasing company had no effect, I wondered what would. Reflecting on my love for solitude, l started thinking if we were (if at all) capable of making decisions unaffected by the world. Even though we’d like to think our decisions aren’t a function of our surroundings (the environment, the society and the company we spend our time with), it would be misleading to believe so. Humans as social animals have this need to be regarded/perceived in society in a certain way and it’s our choices which allow us to achieve that image. We never make simply an individual choice and quite often have our choices mirror others‘, obsessed with how we’d be judged. It’s quite an anxiety provoking thing, and we have an entire industry (fashion, of course) based on this fact. It’s somewhat similar to when people go to a fancy restaurant with company, they’re usually unsure on which wine to choose. They find if they choose an expensive one, they’ll be perceived as a show off, or if they picked an inexpensive one, they’d be the ‘cheapskate’. In this way they usually end up choosing the bottle which they probably didn’t want to pick to begin with, but did so in order to appease the guilt and anxiety of being unable to make the ‘socially acceptable’ choice.

My mind paused to weigh the plausibility of the point it was making, when I realized something was different. He was somehow, really warm. Well, they usually are, and the fact that I’m always cold to touch, plays well with both parties. I smiled, and my thoughts took a shift. I began to see that where as drinks gave me a heavy head, this right here, was oddly relaxing and without a headache. Almost like having pleasure without the consequences, (though at least not of the same kind). With a slow surge of heat, I felt my skin getting hotter. All those sensible sentences slowly started to crumble and words morphed into sounds. The background gave away at its entities and they all vanished as if they were etchings in the sand, blown in the wind. My mind reached to the edges, pulling at the thoughts but they seem to loose matter and before long,  grasping at the remains, I was left with nothing but distant sounds. I could feel the sweat ready to break in and I knew it was time.

And in that moment, finally, there was silence.

The Last Book

O_death

The night was hot, and so was my seat. I had been sitting in the same position for quite some time now, reading a book under the faint light the lamp over my head had to offer. The seat opposite to mine was empty, and had been so since I got on the train. I looked at the seat, and wished I had bothered to look at the reservation list and catch the name of the person who was to occupy this seat. It could be a woman. Who knows, we might strike a conversation or two, and then exchange meaningless stares throughout the night. She might pretend to be a lonely woman, waiting for the right man. And I, I might speak with the arrogance of someone who doesn’t care about love, but is secretly hiding a case of heart-break. Who knows, right? Anything can happen, until it has actually happened.  The woman might just have missed the train, and I might have been destined to marry her, but we will never actually meet. Every passing minute, every passing second could change a lot for me, without me even realizing it. I could suffocate, or get robbed, or I might even find a treasure, all in the next few moments. Anything’s possible. Then how do I have any control over the course of my life. I can fight the suffocation, or kill the robber, or discard the treasure, but what if that too was supposed to happen. Is it all just a set of pre placed dominos? I got back to my book, but it did not interest me anymore, I was still stuck on figuring out how I would introduce myself to the woman who might occupy this seat. Just then, a suitcase rolled from my rear and entered the space between the two seats. Closely following this suitcase was a man, an old man who smelled of whiskey and stale food. He was dressed in a black overcoat that looked too good for someone of his demeanour. His hair was jet black, and was cleanly combed back. A sharp triangle rightly fitted itself over his neck. It carried on it a pair of thin, dark lips and a sharp, plunging nose. It also fit in a pair of eyes that seemed to change colour. If I were a man who did not play by logic, I could have sworn they were completely black for a moment. The man took the seat opposite mine and slid the suitcase underneath it. He looked straight at me, as if he could see through me. I don’t know why but I felt naked. A prepossessing guilt rose within me. I avoided his stare and got back to my book. I tried to focus my eyes on the text, but they would constantly try and record if any movement took place behind the book. I gave up on it, and finally questioned the man.

“Excuse me, why are you staring at me?”

“I am not staring. I’m merely looking.”

“Can you please look somewhere else?”

“I can, but I’d rather continue to look at you.” He replied even before I could complete my sentence.

I sighed in irritation and pushed my face back into the book. Here I was, expecting a woman, and all I got was a creepy old guy instead. The book was tough to read, mostly because I had lost touch over my mother tongue. The translation did help, but I seldom used it. How can a writer convert text from one language to another, without affecting the meaning of the former? I had my doubts, and so I struggled to find my own interpretations of the text. I was trying my best to concentrate, but the idea of an old man staring at me would not let me. There was movement in the background, and I raised my head to see that the old man had now come closer to me. He was bending his body, in an attempt to look closely at me. I threw my book on the seat and faced him, this time with intent to fight.

“What do you want?” I inquired.

“Just a look at the book you read, sir.”

“I’m reading it right now. And because I’m not carrying any other reading material with me now, I can not lend this book to you.”

“Oh no, sir. I do not need to loan it. I already know the story in it, rather too well I’d say. I only need a look. Just one.” He replied with a straight face.

I now noticed how coarse his voice was, as if something had been forced down his throat. It made me pity him, maybe he suffered of some illness. I contemplated his request, and decided to let him have a look.

“Okay, you can have a look. But you promise not to bother me anymore.”

“I do not see how I bother you, young sir. But if you allow me a look at your book, and agree to answer a question, I promise to leave this seat and find myself another one.”

“But all you said was a look at the book.” I replied annoyingly.

“I like to take actions in phases, sir. Do you accept my terms?”

I saw no harm, and hence I nodded in agreement. I passed him the book. He opened it to the last page, smiled at what he read, and returned the book.

“Now for the question.” He said. He paused, as if taking his time to think upon the question. After a moment of silence, he leaned towards me, and asked

“Do you regret killing your father?”

“What! How dare you. What gives you the right, you lonely old fuck.” I shouted at him.

“It is merely a question, my friend. I only need a simple yes or no.”

I ignored him. I did not need to answer a stranger, and especially not someone who accused me of killing my father.

The old man got up from his seat and pushed his face into mine. “Do you blame yourself, for not being at home the one night he wanted you to be?”

I pushed him aside, and threw him back at his seat. He got up, almost mechanically, and then ran his hand through his hair, trying to get them back to how they were. The colour in his eyes flickered. They were completely black for a moment there. I was sure of it this time.

He smiled at me and said. “Do you think he would have survived had you come home early that night?”

I did not pay any attention to his question and picked up my bag. I decided to change my seat with someone. If this man does not intend to leave me alone even then, I will call the authorities on him. As I turned to leave, he caught me by my hand.

“The time has come. The time to pay retribution. It shall happen tomorrow, as you complete your journey, both physically and spiritually.”

And now, I lay here on the floor, constantly replaying this incident in my mind. It is cooler than it was last night. This morning, as I got off the train, I slipped and cracked my skull open. I’m surrounded by people, but more than that I’m surrounded by blood. Somewhere in the crowd, I see a familiar place. It is an old man, with slick black hair, and dressed in an expensive black coat. He raised his hand to show me the book in his hand. It was the same book I was reading last night, but somehow I could not remember its name. As I once again remember the events of last night, I wonder, was I just following a pre-written story all along?

Extraordinary Men. Ordinary Wars.

Soldiers

I lay there in the bushes, waiting for the sun to come up. They say the average man can survive 3 days without water. But average men are not chosen to infiltrate enemy camps. No, it takes extraordinary courage to sit in these bushes. It takes sheer strength and will power to wait here until the right moment. You might get lucky and the right opportunity might present itself within a few hours. But I’m not known to be a man of fate. No, I make my own luck. From the colour of socks I will wear on a particular day, to the woman I’m about to marry, I choose each and everything. If I’m here, it is because I choose to be. I am not the dumb soldier I’m made out to be. I’m not simply following orders thrust upon me. I’m not merely a pawn in this bigger game of chess. I have reasons to do what I am doing, and these reasons can only be understood if you choose to see things the way I do. Whilst you sit on your sofas, comfortable, cozy and warm, wrapped in a blanket, contemplating as to how the bureaucrats and politicians make us fight the war they started, I sit here inside a bush, fighting for survival, 72 hours plus on the clock, scrambling to breathe. But do you ever wonder as to whose survival I fight for? Is it just mine? How the atrocities and attacks I face every day are just a news flash for you? And what does it make you do, but flutter words in favour of peace. But peace does not really seem such a viable option when you might just wake up among dead bodies the next day. Wars are not a product of the modern century. They’ve existed ever since man has. For it has always been a fight for what is mine and what is yours. And what is yours I will eventually try and take, by force or by words. If I fail to do my job, people die. If I continue to do my job, people still die. It is merely a choice between choosing to kill the people on the other side of the line, or watching the people die on this side of the line. And what is so moral about watching a man kill another man, whilst you have the ability and means to stop this killing. Is it more immoral to kill a man who is eventually going to kill another man? But how do we justify morality? How do we measure it? The walls created by society and strengthened by superficial laws are not a significant measure. There is good and there is bad. My actions do not justify what is what, neither does the outcome. It is the intent with which I kill. My intent can be viewed as that of a person killing people, or as that of someone defending people. I see it as the latter, and that is all that matters. Your view could be different, but then every action has multiple eyes scrutinizing it from multiple angles, but the action remains same, and so does the outcome. So what changes, if not the intent? And the intent is always mine; you cannot change or affect it. So what makes you judge my actions, when only I have the power to choose them, and only I understand the intent behind them. Don’t look so powerless now, do I?  But come tomorrow, and you will continue to sit on a chair, a fan over your head, and an air conditioner on the wall, and will continue to talk about peace, love, humanity and oneness. But what about me? I’ll be alone, in a ditch, or swamp, maybe a bush, or if I’m pushing on my luck, a jungle. But I don’t happen to be a lucky man. So I’ll be somewhere on the line, protecting you, killing for you, dying for you. Spare a thought for me, for I’m not the average man you believe me to be.
The clock on my wrist beeped. Average men cannot survive 73 hours without water.

 – The author does not promote wars. It is merely a piece of fiction.

Bouncing Back

She lay still. Almost like a corpse. Suddenly everything stopped making sense to her. Her entire life was now meaningless.
He was just a part of it. But the naïve person she was, she thought her world revolved around him. She thought he was her world instead. Oh hopeless romance.

She had been a drama queen. Until then she blew little things out of proportion and laughed off the attention she got. But now, she had witnessed a big event of her life. She was not sure if she wanted to keep that as a memory.

It was three in the morning. She wanted to talk to someone, but the voice seemed lost. “Hello, hello.” She did not reply. She hung up the phone and lay still again. It kept buzzing. But she was unsure of what she would say now.

The call was from the person she built her world around. But its funny how trust once broken can make you dumb. It was like reality had slapped her so bad. Even the spirits in the room, if they could talk, would mock at her and at the same time pity her.

She took out a sleeping pill, popped it in. And God, she was wrong. The void in her made the pill ineffective. That was the first time an empty mind had caused her a headache.

Empty mind. But only one thing bounced back in her thoughts again and again. “How could he cheat on me?” Tired of thinking the same thing she slipped into a nap, also hoping she would feel better when daylight struck and birds chirped.

A fine beam of the sun pinched her in the eye and to her shock, everything was as still as it was four hours back. She was a morning person, but what was unusual about this one? The void. She was reminded of it again.

She clinched her fist and struck her head with it, once twice thrice. She wanted to cry. But she could not. She wanted to eat but this was a depression. The worst part was that, she went the same way for the next fortnight.

Until when she stood on the terrace that night, the wind brushed through her hair. She was forced to feel her breathing. She closed her eyes. It was dark. Usually she saw two faces happy. But this time, it was pitch dark. Suddenly, she saw a face, trying to make its way like the sun on a cloudy day.

It emerged clearer and clearer… and it was her face. She was smiling, in that short dream and in reality. She did not expect to see herself like that again. Two drops from each eye rolled out. She was crying. Usually one would call it mixed emotions, but she knew she was happy. She howled, she allowed all the negativity to drain out form the abyss of her soul.

She knew this would be the first and the last time she would cry over this. The future would only have her thinking of this as a lesson. And just then she realised how everything really happens for a reason and for good.

She had had a closure from a dead relationship which was only alive in her mind. Alive until he cheated on her. And now there she is again, telling everyone how she is happy about that unfaithfulness,and that she could see the reason for his infidelity.

I told you she is a drama queen. Now she says “Cheating is good, it frees at least one bird from the cage every time.”

Leap of Faith

Image
I unbuttoned my suit. But wouldn’t that look too casual, if I go with an unbuttoned suit. I might come across as a passive guy. Oh, but closing both the buttons makes me look very uptight. And I’m anything but uptight, I never worry about small things. I know what I should do; I should just unbutton one of the buttons. Yeah that puts me in middle ground. I need tonight to be perfect. I need myself and everything else around me to be flawless. Should I call the hotel before I go in? I’ve already called them thrice, if I call them again the manager might slip something in the food out of anger. I’d better not call. I took out the box from the dashboard and slipped it into my suit’s inner pocket. I patted it twice for luck and went up the stairs to her house. I took a long deep breath and rung the bell. I waited a couple more minutes before ringing the bell again. I knew I would have to ring it again; she’s never ready on time. Just as I was about to place my thumb on the bell, I heard the door unlock.

I’ve read about love, about pure eternal love. I’ve heard about it in songs and I’ve seen it in those chick-flicks. But I had never really felt it until today. And it’s nothing like what they describe. I didn’t feel as if my feet had just been swept of the ground. Neither did I feel as if gravity had seized to exist. And the only thing churning in my stomach was sulfuric acid, there were no butterflies. No, I felt strong. I felt as if this is what keeps me on the ground. She keeps me here, she is what makes me stay, and live each day with the desire to live another. She doesn’t take away the ground below my feet, she makes me believe that I can stand on it more firmly than I ever have.

“Hey! What are you thinking, snap out of it.”

I winked at her and lend her my hand to help her climb down the stairs. If only I could ever put words to what I felt. I knew I never could, and she knew it too. Words were the only thing she took away from me. I was a restless and talkative man at other times. But when I was with her, all I wanted to do was to listen to her, to see her, observe the minute things that make her what she is. And today as she walked down those stairs with me, in her white dress, she made me understand why Poets, Singers, Writers and Artists try to define love. I went ahead and opened the car’s door for her. She took tiny steps when coming down the final few stairs, and it made my heart melt, for every smaller step meant that I had to wait more before she could be beside me. I adored her, as she descended down the stairs. Every layer of wind that cut across her face set each strand of her hair on a course of its own. And she didn’t seem to mind. But it wasn’t as if she looked like someone who doesn’t take care of herself. It came naturally to her. Her beauty was effortless.

“I’m surprised.”

I looked at her in fake denial. I hoped she didn’t know what I had planned for the night.
“Why are you surprised?”

“This is possibly the first time you didn’t ask me what my excuse is for making you wait”

“Well let’s just say I’m happy enough to have ignored that.” I shyly replied.

Her glistening white teeth smiled back at me. She was happy, she was happy to be with me. That’s the least I could do, I could keep her happy. I looked ahead on the road and a green signboard reminded me of the left turn that was to follow. I slowed down the car and looked for it. And just as I was about to turn back for having thought that I had missed it, a small cut in the road appeared out of nowhere. I took a sharp turn, for I was too excited to go back and turn slowly.

“Whoa! Slow down. Where are we going anyway?”

“Trust me. It’s a special place.”

She went ahead and kissed me on the cheek. It was her way of reminding me that I didn’t need to ask her to trust me. She just did. She leaned against the window pane and looked out at the lonely road that was ahead of us. I had wanted such an isolated place, and such a desolate drive, because I wanted tonight to be about just us. The place was perfect, but the journey was equally amazing. The road was narrow and was surrounded by huge majestic trees. I looked at one such tree, and realized how much it resembled every other tree. What made it different was not what was visible on the surface, it was what happened underneath, where its roots and the soil embroiled into an existence that lasted forever. Every tree was like a human, and the one i looked at, was still looking to partner with the soil. Maybe it will today. Right behind the trees the moon lit up in its pure magnificence and the landscape looked even more prepossessing under its moonlight; and so did she. I looked at her, gazing out the window, and I wanted to know what kept running around her mind when she was with me. I wanted to know what that incredible brain of hers’ thinks about all the time. But then again, I had all the time in the world to know, because she is going to be with me for the rest of my life. For tonight, I ask her to be mine.

She suddenly gasped and let out a shout. “Look out!”

As I had lost myself in her, I had forgotten about the road. I turned to face it and saw a man standing right in the middle of the road. I hit hard on the breaks; as hard as I could. The car shrieked under the constraint that was suddenly applied to it. It stopped, and had I been a moment late in stepping on the breaks, I would have killed that man today. The man moved away from the car and tried to protect his eyes from the bright headlights. I looked at him; he was an old man in ragged clothes. I needed to check if he was okay. I took out the key and unlocked the car. As I turned to open the door, a sudden thud on the car alerted me. A man had thrown himself on the back window. And then another thud, and then another. Three men were now pushing against the mirrors of the car. One of them unlocked the rear right door and got in. I froze in shock. But I knew what this was; I knew I had to protect her. I jumped on the guy who had slid into the back seat. I caught him by the collar and was about to punch him when I was pulled out the car by someone holding my legs. I twisted my neck to see who it was. It was the old man, and he did not look so helpless now. In-fact, he looked ugly, and evil. A crooked smile on his face reminded me of the most darkest and lifeless moments I have ever endured. I tried to fight back, to get my legs out of his grip. I bit at his hands and just when i had got myself free of his hold, I heard another thud. This one seemed close, very close. It felt as if someone had injected a stream of pain into my head. I touched it, and my fingers ran through blood; blood rushing out from the back of my head. And just then, I was hit again. This time the pain reciprocated. The pain was beyond what I could bear. But I had to get back to her; I had to protect her. I tried to get up, but my legs failed to respond. I tried and tried more, but they didn’t budge. I tried to punch them into life, but my hands felt powerless. The old man picked me up and hurled me into a nearby tree. I heard the box in my suit’s pocket fall somewhere on the ground. It contained the ring I was going to put on her finger as I asked her to marry me tonight. I wanted to spend the rest of my life keeping her happy, but here lay my body, with no potential to fulfill my promise. I turned to see, my vision now blinded by the weakness of the human body. Poets, Singers, Writers and Artists also write about heartbreak, and about feeling helpless in the face of love. And now I could understand what they meant, for in the last moments of my consciousness, I saw four men rip her clothes into pieces.