Eight hours

” And that’s that. “

It did take a while but it did bring the long letter to a dramatic close. And that was that. Exhausted from the emotional outburst into paper, I spared a final stare at the letter. I sighed a relief of sorts. With a sense of calmness returning with each drag of deep breaths, I managed to fold the letter crisp. I placed my Avengers coffee mug on top of it. Was a perfect moment. The mighty Thor’s Mjölnir was the perfect paper weight there ever was. 

My sentence written down, I had eight hours before I closed shop for all eternity. The struggles struggled, the challenges challenged, the odd odds endured, hopes hopelessly squashed and dreams dreamt away, I still managed a smile. How could I deny myself the last laugh. The battle and war lost, yet principles mandated that it was only fair for me to have the last laugh. Eight hours. I mulled over the day ahead. Things fell into a better perspective that moment. I no longer had to mope about an eternity ahead. The timelines well defined, the day split into hours, it felt a lot clearer. Goals and priorities were no longer blurred by the distractions of aspiration and fears of incompetence. Lady luck was no longer dragged into the daily equation of life. Strange liberation, I thought. 

The first big distraction was off the window in record time. Of course, I wouldn’t let myself squander precious time sitting behind a desk. I found it pointless to lose the invisibility of my existence to a spreadsheet. I left a message. I wouldn’t be there. That was that. It was a lot simpler drama to deal with. With a keen sense of purpose to loiter the streets, I hit out. The sun had come out to play and yeah, this was turning out to be a good day. A good day, all things considered. 

I had used the same road for years now. The same wide road, the same peak hour traffic that never thinned, the same people whose faces I had never bothered ever to memorise ever before. The same bench which went unoccupied. The usual kit of pigeons which were on a feeding frenzy. From time to time, I had managed to notice kids playing around the kit. Some times, some brave kid would run into that flock and the birds would take a sudden frantic flight. There was this one time , I remember seeing the happy glee on the kid’s face when the birds flew past him. I remember that I had paused a second to soak in his adventure, but I had a desk to reach, time to keep and continued my steps towards the workplace. 

Today I paused by the bench. I decided to sit there for a while and do nothing else. Ten minutes later, I had mustered enough courage to run towards the birds and rattle their party a little. It had taken me ten minutes to debate and conclude over the madness of my action. I had nothing to lose, I argued in my head. I did have nothing to lose anymore. 

I stealthy walked to the birds and deafening coos of their many conversations left me mesmerised. There seemed to be a melody and a rhythm to it. The birds took note of me and decided to not indulge an intruder anymore. Their soft feathers brushed against my arms. I stood right in the middle. A little jealous that I was denied a flight. Boy it felt good. 

I continued to walk further down the road. There was this park that I had always walked by. I had never managed to set the time aside to enjoy the park though. Time was all that I had today. I entered the park and sat comfortable on spring’s new grass. It felt odd. The free simple joys and I had remained a stranger to them all for the longest while possible. I rested my head down and peered into the blue sky. Clouds were scattered across an otherwise clear blue sky. The funny shapes they took. I counted the number of clouds for a while. I soon got bored of the activity. I continued to stare deep into the sky. 

“Oh excuse me”, a voice interrupted my productive timeout. 

I saw a lady standing with her lil daughter. 

“Do you mind watching over her for a few minutes please ? , she went on to explain her sudden urgent chore. None of it made any sense to me. Yanked away from a blissful daze, my mind did find it a little hard to concentrate and focus on her words. 

“Ok, sure. No problem”, I replied. It was more of a reflex reaction as opposed to comprehending the asks. 

“Thank you so much. God bless you darling” she said and scurried off. 

The little one in polka black and pink sat next to me. 

I stared blankly at her for a second. There wasn’t anything interesting that I could think of to kick start a conversation. This felt embarrassing. I didn’t even know what to talk to a child. Then again, it wasn’t as embarrassing as not knowing what to talk with others . Thankfully, the little one broke the ice. 

“What do you do Mister” the curious one asked. 

I went on to explain that I was a content writer for this publishing agency. The simplest explanation of my work was that I’d rewrite the sentences from the tales that authors would spin and make those sentences look good. 

The excited awe in her eyes was satisfying. She appeared to be running a thought in her vibrant mind. 

“Can you tell me a story then?” she asked sweetly. 

I smiled and nodded an affirmative. I had always wanted to be a story teller myself. I don’t know why I didn’t bother pursuing that ambition. I was an inch away from writing sentences for others to writing sentences for my own story. Yet, I had never dared venture into that territory. 

“Once upon a time , darling….” I started.

She eagerly and excitedly listened to my take of a prince , his love- the princess, the witched witch of the land, the misunderstood dragon, the enchanted forest that was cursed by the witch, the werewolf which wanted to avenge the prince, but later realized that the witch was the one responsible for his misery.

“and so they all lived happily ever after” , I concluded. 

The little one seemed to be happy. The timing was perfect. Her mother had also returned. Before the little one parted, she said she loved my story. 

The rest of the day was nice too. I met the homeless bloke who always sat by this shop. All the while, I did carry loose change but my heart had been too stingy to part with a few coins. I guess my heart felt generous today. I left him with a few coins. We spoke about the winter that was to come. He told me about how cursed his life had been. Wrong choices, wrong habits, wrong addictions and life itself reduced to a wrong turn. I felt sorry for him. I didn’t have the words to console him. I made a quite note to self that If i could, I should try to help him out. 

I returned home exhausted from the day out. I had an appointment to keep. The time was set and I knew what I had to do. 

Goodbye cruel world, i silently muttered. 

I tore off the letter that I had so painstakingly penned that morning. Good bye cruel world indeed. I knew I couldn’t sit and do nothing about it anymore. I wanted to change myself and the world around me. I couldn’t let the world be cruel anymore. 

I had indeed died that day. Resurrected new, a new pair of eyes, a new mind of many new thoughts, a heart wanting to do more, a fight wanting a fight. I dialled a familiar number. 

‘Dude, do you know a rehab? the one that helps the homeless”, a new conversation started. And so, a new life had begun. 

And that’s that. 



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