‘Breathe in’ I had to keep saying to myself. ‘Follow, and listen to commands’
I had been trained for this day.
Putting on a blunt face, and taking control of the situation – I looked at the people around me. Everybody was eyeing each other with fear and anticipation.
We knew that once we would be given the signal, we would have to rush out there without thinking twice. We will have to face the noise for every mistake we make, and look every person in the eye – fearlessly.
Was I ready, for real? I do not think I know until date. However, what I do know is, it was a life-changing day.
All of us smiled at each other, helped each other, covered tracks for each other. It was a pleasure to watch and be a part of. I had myself forgotten a dance step on stage that day, but my parents simply applauded in the crowd.
There’s just something about annual days.
Chaos, absolute chaos.
There was havoc everywhere. It was a nightmare to watch. Sparks were flying across the room and people were running, chasing, even hiding. I did feel somewhat responsible for this, but I did not have time to think about that just now.
I geared up and adopted my combat. I could see fire, injuries, yet hopefully no death. There were announcements being made, people being evacuated.
I had thought of making a run for it too, but I had hardly left myself much choice.
Gathering enough courage, I got up from the place where I was hiding and yelled – ‘STOP. RIGHT NOW’. As I stood shivering in my stance, there was absolute silence in the room. All of us stared at each other incessantly, till it broke out again.
I decided it was time to pull out the big guns. The force entered and everything was under control. The people got up, looked at us, and went back to doing their thing while the victorious mothers held on to their tornado excuse for children.
I apologized to the store manager and made my way out of the store never to return (because they made me sign an agreement).
Whose wonderful idea was it any way to bring five three year olds to the electronic store?
‘Are you sure you understand?’ She demanded, looking me dead in the eye. She has always known what she wants. We are both sailing in the same boat, except I never wanted to be in this boat.
‘Yes’, I said, wrapping my hair in a tight bun. I knew this was never something I had aspired to do, but not everybody receives what they dream of. I had accepted my life the way it was, and I was ready for it.
‘Don’t make any errors; we do not want to get caught. Just ask him to give you the stuff and be out. Are we clear?’ She asked me, almost whispering.
Both of us stared through the car windshield, then I spoke.
‘As water’, I nodded and turned around. I picked up the keys, sighed, and made my way out of the car.
Running, I entered and yelled – ‘GIVE IT TO ME’
It is then that I realized that I could not just waltz into a supermarket and demand for things.
Apparently, we have to find them for ourselves. That is when the real mission began. ‘What are artichokes even?’ I thought to myself.
Another night, another heart break – it felt like a recurring situation that had gotten me nowhere so far.
Like the amazing friends that they were, they stood firm through it all and came to me with our ritualistic solution.
“It’s time”, Jo said. I nodded.
Anna got the car keys, while the rest dressed me up. It was tough to get back outside and face it but, it was time to be happy again, or at least pretend to be.
Taking my wallet, my phone, my keys, and an extra lip colour just in case, we got into the car and off we drove. We played songs in the car and made our best attempt to karaoke an opera.
Finally, I could see it. It was buzzing; we rushed out of the car and made our way in. The lights, the smell, the people, I could already feel myself getting alright again. I took to the floor as I heard the music.
We sat around a table while my friend brought a bunch of drinks to the table. It had been so long, I was thrilled. I could feel the drinks hit me and relieve me almost instantly. I felt happy, hyper even. We sang along and clicked photos as we munched on the bits and I tried to keep my lip colour in place.
I loved it!
Finally, when it had gotten late enough, we collected our things and staggered and stuttered across the room. There came a voice behind us – “Thank you for coming!”
We looked back at our table which was lined with smoothies and empty burger boxes, and yelled back – “Have a good night!”
McDonald’s had always proven to be the best therapy.
He was there, again.
Following me everywhere I went. There was no one I could tell since they would not believe me. I could feel his shadows creep around me as I would sleep or wake up. He was messing with my head; I kept crying myself to sleep every night.
I thought of reporting him. But what was I supposed to say? I only THOUGHT that he was there, what if it were all but a coincidence?
Paranoia hit me like a storm.
I was wary and short of breath most of the times. I did not know what to do so I would act cold and distant.
Everyone around me was worried. They thought they could report him on my behalf, but I was going crazy. They had nothing to hold against him.
Finally one day, I found myself in the office being questioned.
‘So tell me, who do you think he is? Is there someone you think you may have a problem with?’ I heard a sweet female voice.
‘Yes’, I quivered, ‘It is terrifying, especially now, when I have so many things to do – he just won’t go away!’ I exclaimed.
‘Is he an ex-boyfriend, dear?’ The psychiatrist asked.
‘No’, I sighed. It was stress.
I was ready. Strapped in and over prepared, I was thrilled beyond imagination. We had taken off. I looked at the city below shrinking as we went further up.
This will be revolutionary – I thought to myself as I scanned multiple news articles. I had all my research stacked orderly in my bag. The destination was not too far now. Breathing hastily, I looked around to see what the clouds outside looked like.
The journey was long, I do not mean to complain of course, but it felt like days. It was probably because of the impatient adrenaline pumping within me.
Finally, we landed. It was a smooth one too! I unbuckled myself and rushed out the craft, ‘beautiful’, I thought to myself.
I sprinted there, rushing and clicking photographs, what a great story this would make. The history, the fables – revolutionised. I looked around for clues and prints, I became a make-do Sherlock Holmes, but I was hardly one.
I could be there forever, but I felt that there was something conspiring; something that was meant to be there but wasn’t.
Finally, I removed my diary from my bag and made a note –
‘Completed the journey of three days, yet, no footprints – and more so, no flag.
It’s a lie’
I jumped across the surface of the moon and returned to my spacecraft. Armstrong was the fable.
He had never been late. For all these years that I have known him, he had always come right on time.
We had decided to meet the next morning after what it seemed to be ages. I had hoped for it to be everything I wanted it to be. I spent the entire night figuring out what to wear and scanning through the menu of the restaurant I had chosen for us. Nothing could go wrong.
I went to my safer haven, the internet, to tweet about how I was feeling – scared, nauseous, excited. Though no one reads my tweets as such, it felt like writing into the world. I had hoped for empathy.
I thought I should sleep early so that I look fresh and at my best the next day, but I was too anxious.
Finally, I fell into a deep reverie as I dreamt about his face, his voice, and the fact that we were going to meet after so long.
I woke up before the alarm went off and rushed my breakfast into my queasy stomach. Oh, what a day it was going to be.
With reddened cheeks and a broad grin, I got dressed and rushed to my laptop. While I opened twitter, I opened another window, and there he was across the screen – his eyes looking into mine.
I shut the tab of Twitter to ignore the spoilers and focus on the lead guy who stood in the poster of the new season of my favourite TV show. It was finally time.