Fiction

Story: One For The Road

By: Akash Vikas Rumade

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It was evening of Dusserah. The moon shone brightly in the dark blue skies although the grey clouds were trying hard to conceal it. On such a wintry night Arnab parked his bike at the pool of the village Uddavne. People of his town, Roha were busy preparing for the festival of their village-deity next day. He had lost the track of time when he arrived at the pool and he didn’t even venture to have a look at the clock on his cell. His twinkling almond shaped eyes shared similarity with the nature’s scenario up in the sky. They too wanted to reveal the feelings that were being draught up inside but couldn’t find a way out. Arnab got off his Activa, rubbed his hands and gave some warmth to his face. He then opened his dickey, and gave a vague smile. It contained a DVD which he had rented for tonight to watch on returning home. It had a cover of Rachel McAdams on Eric Bana’s lap. Besides the DVD lied a pack of Gold flakes Lite and a can of Budweiser. “Happiness!” Arnab exclaimed as he took out a cigarette and opened up the can. Just as he was about to light the cigarette the cellphone which could hardly fit his pockets buzzed. “Not now!” Arnab said to himself, as he took out his Samsung Mega. Wide screen of his phone displayed a text message from Shreya. He tabbed in to see what the sms contained. It said, “Sry, m behaving rudely…..” His intestines gulped in another sip of the chilled beer and forced a smile on his face. He felt like laughing, but he realized it’s insane to laugh on owns misery. He kept the cell phone back in his pockets and took another puff followed by a long gulp. He felt so alone at that time of hour that neither a dog was barking at the bank of the river.

But that night he wasn’t alone on the bridge. Just a few feet away stood two shadows whispering to each other silently that it hardly made a decibel of sound. Arnab didn’t look back at the two people just behind who were discussing him only. One of the two people was a guy still in his teens wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt and jeans torn at random spots paired with sneakers with untied laces. The other one in his mid-twenties donned a blue-denim jacket over a cream white shirt coupled with black pants and boots. They both hugged and shook hands. The older one threw a good glance at the other and said,”You still look cute, kiddo!”

“And you look scarred, dude!” the kid replied. “It’s been a long time since we have met again right?” the kid said resting him on the compound wall of pool.

The older one nodded in belief and just threw his back at the wall.”We were bound to meet once again, for Arnab is in dilemma. We are the only ones who can help him out”. He took out a gold flake and lighted it.

“Not now dude. Don’t blow me up in such a crisis buddy. We are supposed to help him out now rather than just be a spectator. Don’t you see history repeating itself?” the kid shouted back at him in disbelief. Arnab looked back but couldn’t see anything. He thought that it might have been a bat.

The older guy slapped the back of the kid’s head saying,”You could have sold us today. Don’t be too loud. I know the situation. It’s not his-story repeating itself, its your-story that’s reeling back in.”

The kid got down the wall giving a laugh and said,”Yeah I know it began with me. And hey don’t hit hard next time. I even admit that it was mm-y fault that I felled in love with a girl on social networking site. It was mm-y fault that I went and met her on a date.” He stammered nervously as a tiny rivulet of tears rolled down his cheeks. “It was mm-y fault that we broke up, but don’t you think that’s all in his head. Then why doesn’t he just rewind back in time and stop himself from throwing back in the pit?” the kid questioned the older guy.

“He isn’t a DVD player to play, pause, rewind or fast forward kid!” he replied, taking one more puff. Arnab coughed a bit on the other end.

“And what have you been doing, just giving him an excuse for taking one more for the road, huh??…” the kid swore back at him in rage.

“Chill buddy, that’s what my job is. It is to show him the consequences of his deeds. It’s he who isn’t paying heed to my acts.” The older guy replied calming down his younger self.

“Maybe time’s taking a bit more time to heal everything and that’s why everything is going haywire? So what’s the big plan then?” the younger Arnab asked his older self.

“There’s no big plan than bringing him back to senses. At least this time he is not broken, it’s just a bent. I think he will get over soon, because neither had he expressed his feelings to her or had he felled totally in love with her. We should get rid of that little petty thief who stole his heart” the older Arab said giving a yawn, and bending his neck a bit on either sides.

“Or maybe we should help him to read between the lines. It might help him as he gets older.” The younger Arnab replied giving a yawn too. “Looks like Arnab needs some sleep!” he said rubbing his eyes a bit.

Both then started walking like brothers-in-arms near their present self. The older Arnab threw the bottle down the pool into the Kundalika River while the younger one put off the cigarette. Arnab could do nothing but just stood there watching bottle being thrown up in air into the river and the cigarette extinguishing on its own. He started feeling goose bumps but the sense of energy around him told that it wasn’t there to hurt him. Both the translucent shadows of Arnab’s past and future and past merged into the transparent present Arnab. The illuminated Arnab started his Activa and began his journey way back home. On way back he didn’t knew why but just kept humming lyrics of new version of the song “Har kisiko nahi milta yaha pyaar zindagi main…..”

Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows.

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