I close my eyes and see yours Even in my brightest and darkest moments Even after all these years I feel your presence As real as I feel the ground beneath my feet. I watch sunsets after sunsets Hoping you might come out of nowhere You’ll put your hands around me Plant a kiss on back of my neck Put a ring on my finger and I’ll say yes softly But I turn around and see my despair staring at me instead I go back to my empty room Watch your favorite movies Wearing the blue shirt that you left behind Sleep on your side of the bed There is nothing left here anymore That echoes my habits and doesn’t depict your soul I was the water and you were the ink And now we will be perpetually together Even after your betrayal Perhaps I feel your presence More so in your absence.
The moment I sit down, things start to make sense. I shouldn’t have blamed him. It’s not his fault that this elevator is billion years old without a day’s maintenance. He is kind of nice actually. That Harry Potter styled glasses suit him. Have I seen him before?
“I have seen you before. I don’t want to come out as a stalker or anything but you work in Crossword Technologies, right? We often share the elevator. You always have headphones in your ears or a book in your hand. You’re the only reader I have ever seen around here.”
I mail the final code to my manager and close more than 12 tabs on my browser. This is what I call happiness- the shutdown music of the computer. I pack my back and before my manager could spot me and toss one more code to write, I punch out and head toward the parking lot. Fridays are good if your manager somehow forgets your existence. I’m not much of a party maniac but that doesn’t mean I don’t crave weekends just as much as others.
I enter the elevator, there are 5 travelers inside. Yes, if you are going down from the 32nd floor, you are entitled to call yourself a traveler. In fact, you should pack a travel kit or picnic basket. Why the hell not? You can make a trip out of it. I enter the elevator and press the button whose only L is visible now. The silver little G of Lower Ground has long been a part of history and everyone has made peace with it.
How much wine do I have left in the fridge? I better buy some for the night. I can cook pasta, pick a movie on Netflix, and eat the perfect dinner.
Why it is so easy to believe everyone is conspiring against us? I remember when I and my friends used to meet after school, we would talk about how the café owner had a side-business as a chiropractor and he deliberately selected plastic chairs with bad back support to boost his second business. My friend would say the government has been lying to us about our true GDP to increase the economical gap in society and fuel the crime rate and corruption. He always ended his arguments with “It’s all part of the plan” and we believed him. Even if we hear anything far from the truth, deep down we would want it to be true. I blamed our instincts for it.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re gathered here today to pray for the lost soul of Charlie. He was a loyal pet, a friendly neighbor, Mr. Cooper would agree to this I’m sure, and a lovely friend of mine.
He led a great life, if not longer. I remember the day when I rescued him seven years ago. He was being chased down by some of his kind. He was in his adulthood and so was I, which is what made us great friends, I assume. Though I found him on street, I knew he was bound to live an extraordinary life. Once I gained his trust and taught him a few manners to live in our society, he showed me one of his many talents.
Within a few months, he learned to speak, though not as well as us, of course, he sure knew how to communicate. That’s how I realized that he had a remarkable talent for painting.
Oh, how I wish someone had taught you a thing or two about people! I wish someone had sat you down and tell you that you don’t have to treat him as a God just because it’s written in testaments, that you are not obliged to obey his every cruel decision, that every red belt mark on your body is not for teaching you a lesson, that sometimes a raised voice to shatter the dominance, a slap right across the face to say enough is enough is all that it takes to end a dictatorship, to end years of patriarchy, to end the life that you lived beside a monster that called yourself your beloved father.
One fine day, God said let there be a throwback day! And that’s how I found you back in my apartment, by the window, drinking whiskey from my old yellow mug, sunlight brightening half of your naked body, and wind flickering your hair.
I kept gazing at you, embracing this unending Déjà Vu. Our eyes met and we knew how our story would end. We knew the ghosts of the future, the fights that would last for days, the nights that would end with tears, and the goddamned day, when I would leave your life for good.
I am quite unfortunate when it comes to gardening. Every now and then I get myself an indoor plant and hope it lives at least that season. But my track record says “plant-killer” in bold. Once, I got myself Cactus and guess what! The plant that is born to face adverse environment, died after my adoption.
After that, every time when I look at the empty pot, I get reminded of my failure. So, during this lockdown, I got myself plant of Moss Rose and named it Ezra and to my surprise, it has completed its one-month anniversary. I had done nothing different with this plant. Just like my previous plant babies, I water it, give it sunlight, and once in while give it home-made fertilizers. So, what did I do so right this time that it lived for more than a month?
I’ll never eat my hooman. I don’t care what’s happening everywhere in the world. I’ll never turn against my family. No virus can trick my brain to kill my buddies, which is what Hachi did two nights ago. Hachi was my neighbor who killed its family, Mr. & Mrs. Parker. And before that, Scratch attacked its friend, Mr. Jones. He said that Scratch just went haywire and his eyes were red and he was constantly barking. They said that the virus changed Scratch and it is spreading rapidly.
But I know, I can fight the virus. I must. Mom, dad, little Charlie, and I are a perfect family. No virus can come between us. It’s almost 9; they’ll be home soon. I’m gonna run into dad’s arms & lick all over little Charlie to tell them I’ll never hurt them. No matter what. I think I heard the door open.
“Honey, check its eyes. Are they red?”
“Arrff.. ruff… wooof”
“We can’t take any chances. Give me the gun, quickly!”
“Woof.. woof.. woof”
“I’m so sorry bud. We always loved you. I’m sorry.”