“Why don’t you talk to me?” I remained silent when she asked.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I didn’t want to answer for this one either.
“Are you mad at me?” She was relentless with her questions.
“Nope” I answered just to make her shut up.
“Your one word replies make me think my presence here annoys you”.
“Take the cue” I wanted to show my displeasure talking to her.
“I’m trying to talk to you”.
“Do you think I’m a horrible person?”
“Don’t you already know?” I said and thought “Damn she is good in getting words out of me.”
“I don’t think I’m.”
“I want to remember you always as this funny. “ I said and chuckled.
She deeply looked into my eyes. No sound traveled in the space between us for next couple of minutes. It seemed like there was a vacuum and all her questions were absorbed by it. I didn’t want to talk to her either. I just stared at the lights hanging above me.
“Say something” she tried to dissipate the awkwardness.
“I don’t have anything to say. I am still here because I respect people for their feelings.”
“Yeah, that’s because you are still angry with me.”
“It doesn’t have anything to do with my anger. I try to not think of any of the cruel things you did to me. So leave me alone, will you please.”
“Nothing I did was cruel and I just want to remain friends with you”, her rebuttal was quick.
“If you think you have the right to break my heart and spoil all the plans we had for our life, I don’t know what kind of twisted things you presume as cruel.” I finally said what I dreaded not to tell her. It gave me a kind of satisfaction which I couldn’t exactly comprehend. I remembered I had felt same thing couple of years ago; I had ridden around 300 miles for a wedding. I left immediately after the reception. When I finally sat on the couch back at my home, the cold air from AC and the quilt embrace gave a soothing pleasure. That day my body felt relaxed and now my heart after saying what I really felt.
She started to sob and mumbled “You are still selfish and think just about you. Dont cha think whether I was happy in the relationship”.
If it had been couple of weeks back, I would have jumped near her the instant she cries – I don’t like anyone crying and particularly didn’t like when she cried – but today wasn’t the same. I looked indifferent to her crying voice. I guess someone whom I loved and cared deeply blaming me for the breakup made me furious. “What kind of fucked up shit are you making up. We were the happiest couple I knew.”
I continued after a long pause “Don’t try to talk to me again. I don’t want to be reminded of you. It might ruin my future by thinking of ways how my life would have been perfect with you”. I felt this might be the final words I would talk to her in a long time. It settled heavily on me. At the same moment, I started to ponder on the things she said, was I the real reason for the breakup? Was I really selfish? Was I the only one happy? Did I treat her bad? Could I have done anything different? All the things I have spoken to her, all the things we have done together, all the things we had planned together, all the little things unique to her, everything, I remembered everything suddenly.
All the questions were still racing on my mind even after 3 months. I realized I should stop having imaginary conversations in my mind. All these banter made sure I stayed sad. I looked up and saw me in the mirror. This was the first time I physically looked at me in months. I had stopped to care about my appearance. I had stopped to care about my health. I had stopped to care what people around might think about me. I had stopped to care to make someone happy. I had stopped to care whether I was happy. I had stopped to care for any of the thing that needs to be cared. With a long beard and untamed hair, with a weak body and unstable mind, I saw me in the mirror. I decided it was the time for change.
Something deep in me pushed me to think that I was the reason, though I didn’t accept. I knew I cannot know answer for any of these without having a meaningful conversation with her. I decided to call and ask her out for a coffee. This would also give me a chance to tell what I really felt about what she did. She picked the call as if she was waiting for the phone to ring. There was a sudden rush of blood to my heart when I heard her voice after months. I was silent for couple of minutes to allow my heart to beat normal again. I think she too was flabbergasted as she was quite. I tried to bring the right words out of my mouth. It surprised me that she accepted to see the same evening without much hesitation.
Five hours later, I was in the coffee shop where she had asked me to come. She was late as usual; she hasn’t changed a bit. I got a double shot of espresso and sat on the table that faced the road. The aroma of coffee was strong and I carefully placed the small coffee cup on my lips. I don’t know whether the palpitation was due to the hot coffee going though my food pipe tongue or the sight of her entering the shop. I didn’t feel waving my hands to show my presence. It was like a déjà vu and I knew exactly what I had to tell her.
She briefly stopped to look for me. She spotted me with the coffee in my hand and walked straight towards me without getting a drink for her. She looked like someone who knew what was going to happen. I looked at her sharp cheek bones which highlighted her pleasant smile. She reminded me why I had fallen in love. She didn’t sit, stood facing me and spoke immediately.
“That’s a nice beard” she paused for a moment before continuing “The past is past. I don’t want that to be a part of anything in my future. You really meant something to me and I didn’t want to lose you, but I wasn’t happy with you and would have made us miserable in the long run. I did what I should have done long back. I came here to apologize as I didn’t intend to hurt you anytime. I am sorry. Hope you can forgive me sometime in future at least”.
It looked like she had a prepared a speech. She isn’t a good orator, but damn that was an excellent speech. She summed up all the things I wanted answers in just couple of sentences. The time I had to process her speech was not much. She spoke fast, but also clear. Having known her for two years, I didn’t know that she would apologize. All the days where I have imagined I would have the upper hand in some discussion like this was proved wrong by her. I was awestruck. I didn’t reply not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even expect in a slightest possible way that she might apologize.
I just said “WAT! What did you just say?” with clearly showing my surprise.
She said “I am sorry” again and left. The trailing smell of her new perfume gave a strange feeling in my stomach.
The alarm beeped. The first rays of the sun were reflected off my face. It was a pleasant morning. I was not on the wrong side of the bed when I woke up. I muted the alarm and got up from the bed immediately. Everything happened as I used to imagine. The shower was at the right temperature. When I came to the kitchen the coffee was ready. The paper was lying on the dining table and I had a good read with the cup of coffee in my hand. I had a filling breakfast too, toast and eggs, and it felt like I was living a dream.
I had hoped the entire day would be as magical as my morning, but I was grossly wrong. The afternoon was a complete opposite. The dark clouds made the afternoon look like a place that was cursed by witches. It poured continuously and there were thunderstorms too. I felt like the angels were crying for the pathetic state of the land. I went to lunch alone as usual. The cafeteria was crowded. I just grabbed a salad and resumed my work.
I clearly remember there was a fountain at the entrance of my school. As a curious child, I have always wondered how the fountain hoses were constantly spitting water. Later I learned the water was recycled. Same way I wanted to know how the clouds were refilled with water so quickly. It continuously rained and didn’t even stop a second. There was lot of people stranded because of the flash floods and I faced a lot of delay while returning home. The flash flood had also caused power outages and I was one among the unfortunate who had to spend the night without power. I had a moment with events flashing in front of my eyes. The day had started perfect and it had turned out to a day that I wanted to get out as soon as possible.
After finishing my dinner, I tried to read a book. The probability of me reading a book and having a visitor is high. That day wasn’t any different other than the fact that I didn’t know my guest. He inquired whether I had an extra set of flash lights. I don’t know, and even can’t remember why I lied to him. Seeing his disappointment on his face, I felt bad for my behavior. I gave him the flashlight I had. He refused at first, but my perseverance made him to accept. Once he left, I made my way to the bed to catch little more sleep than the usual.
The alarm beeped. I felt the burning rays of light falling on my face. It felt uncomfortable. I muted the alarm but lay on the bed without opening my eyes. I felt so tired and frail that I just wanted to sleep in for some more time. But the alarm beeped again. Without opening my eyes, I scanned the side table for the alarm but instead found a tube like thing and clutched it tightly. The intensity of the alarm also increased. I opened my eyes to a bright light. I was not able to see anything clearly as I had a blurred vision. I perceived the interval between two consecutive beeps had decreased while I closed my eyes again.
I had my eyes closed but felt my legs were moving toward the door. I ran as fast as I could. When I was outside my confinement, I saw lush green grass as far as I could see and bright light that was falling on my face. My heart felt weak and ached a lot. I was not able to move my hands. I felt I was grabbing to someone so tight that I could feel the pain in my hands. There was a sudden burst of electric current through my body that originated from my heart. I opened my eyes wide and had a clear vision of my surroundings. The nurse tried to place a breathing mask on me. I could hear feebly “Your wife went into cardiac arrest Sam. She is alright now. But we need to monitor her continuously”.
The first day in class I found out the male to female ratio was skewed. Taking the fact some were already engaged married or had a boyfriend, the subset I had to work with was small. I decided not to pursue anyone as I had a heavy competition from fellow students. I tried to take classes other than the required courses, but the tight schedule left me no option than to be with the same set of students for one whole semester. As I didn’t have patience to wait for one whole semester to get a girlfriend, I decided to take a different route to find someone.
Having watched so many episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Two and Half Men and Entourage, I particularly felt that meeting new people in a bar would be my best chance. I decided to hit the small pub near my home on a weekend. I also found the perfect wing man who could be a good company. On observing the people around me for sometime, I understood everyone was absorbed in their own clique. They had their own talk and didn’t care to notice anyone outside their group. I was even stared at for just looking over them. I haven’t been so wrong about something so much. I felt so left out as I didn’t blend with the crowd. I understood it was a bad idea to meet people in a bar unless it was already scripted and actors playing out the scenes. How naïve of me to take cues from sitcoms?
I read somewhere that one finds love only in the least unexpected place. I remembered this when I met her. I was just looking through the stack of ice creams and was so much confused about the flavor I wanted to buy. I glanced through all the available flavors a lot of time. I think she must have noticed me struggling to decide. She approached me and suggested to get strawberry flavored chocolate chip ice cream. Being a really talkative person, I haven’t run out of words anytime to talk to a person. When I saw her I stumbled for words and just gawked at her.
She waited patiently for the words to come out of my words. I gathered my thoughts and thanked her for the suggestion. The next day, I purposefully went to the store at the same time just to see her. I located her helping another customer. I don’t remember from where I got the courage to ask her out. But I did and to my surprise she said yes. I texted her couple of days later to invite her to the ice cream store near my place. We had a great time there. I was proud of myself and had an extra ice cream just to praise myself. Later I asked her on a second date to a restaurant.
I had reserved dinner table at a nice restaurant and we had arrived on time. I remember she was smiling a lot during dinner. One thing I was not able to figure out was whether she was smiling for my jokes or at my stupidity. I had the habit of over thinking on some occasion and it was of one of them. I started having wine a lot faster than her. I don’t exactly remember how much I drank, but my bladder was full. I excused myself from the table and headed straight to the washroom. I didn’t realize I was in the ladies restroom until an elderly women commented “I am pretty much sure you are not in the men’s’ restroom”. She made huge accusation to the manager about how inappropriate I have behaved. I felt so ashamed, but I held my head high, apologized and marched to my table. I found my table empty with the food lying around. The waiter informed that my date had left when I was confronted by the manager. I just handed over cash to the waiter and left the restaurant. That fact that I could run into her accidently in the store made me to switch stores.
One becomes master by learning from one’s own mistake, but I was not one among them. So I decided to stop searching for someone just to avoid anymore disappoint. Tell me who has been spared from wanting more. There was a speed dating event organized by the student union at my university. It was the widely talked on campus and I overheard many speaking about that. I too became excited as I could meet and talk with many which would be impossible otherwise. On the day of the event, I had a haircut and removed my stubble, which I regretted immediately. I looked like a high school student. My height, below than average, too didn’t help me to boost my confidence. When I entered the hall it was crowded as a market. I grabbed a beer from the bar and headed straight to my allotted space. I think I don’t have to tell how the day spanned out, but can assume one could easily guess by the fact that I just have all the time in the world to write about it.
Log Line: A person with balance disorder overcomes his difficulty in a job interview at an ice skating rink
EXT.GIANTS ICE RINK-DAY
We look over the shoulders of HOOVER, in his early twenties, stout and short, as he looks at people skating in the ice rink. Youngsters play cheerfully, and some people skate in a skeptic manner.
He looks to his side to find a board placed “HELP WANTED”.
He waits eagerly outside of what looks like the office of the man managing the rink.
THUD! A guy falls flat on his face, with a lot of people exclaiming “oohs and ahhs”. Hoover gives a pretty loud chuckle, and the people stare at him. He gives a sheepish look as a voice from behind gets his attention.
INT.MANAGER’S CABIN NEAR GIANTS ICE RINK-CONTINUOUS
The chomping and munching sounds of a man greet Hoover as he enters. GRAM, the burly manager in his mid forties gives the widest smile one can imagine. He has a huge bowl in front of him, from which he hogs.
(approaching to shake his hand)
Hello Mr Richard.
(loud booming voice)
Howdy! Please sit down. I am sick of these guys. Living in Denver and not knowing to skate. I mean Jesus!
Gram takes a hand full of potato wedges and stuffs it in his mouth. Gram stares at Hoover now. Hoover quivers. The man seems at two extremes.
Tell me you can skate.
Hoover gives a nervous laugh. Gram doesn’t smile though.
Hoover looks at the ice rink from the cabin to pretend nothing has happened.
Mr.Richard, I thought this was a Facility Operations Specialist post. I…
A person hands out blades to the people. How long can one do that? (chuckles). Look I need a (pause) a (taking some more wedges) multiskilled person to take care.
Hoover seems surprised.
Care to have some?
Grab some boy. Come on.
Hoover takes some and eats it. He gives a fake smile as he eats. As he swallows down, his smile slowly fades away.
Ahh I guess there is too much
Salt! Hell I like ’em salty.
CU on Hoover as he gives a look of shock.
INT.INDIAN RESTAURANT IN RANDOM CITY-EVENING
We see a dish DUM ALOO (boiled potato), steaming in the bowl, as Hoover talks to the waiter, who is an Indian.
I said no salt!
(shaking his head in a weird way)
I wanna be doubly sure about it.
The GIRL sitting with Hoover rolls her eyes.
Yes sir. Doubly sure.
Hoover smiles. The waiter exits.
This might come as a shock to you. But I can’t take salt. Even small amounts. Gets me dizzy, and makes me feel like I am defying gravity. (sheepish smile)
EXT.GIANTS ICE RINK-DAY
We see everything in Hoover’s POV.
Gram hands over a set of roller blades to Hoover. It feels as if Gram is on a set of roller blades as he circles around Hoover.
Hoover tries to strap it on, and as he views the rink, everything seems hazy. He stands up, and almost falls.
Hey Hey! Are you alright? You look weak. want something to eat?
Hoover shakes his head, it’s the “eating” that has gotten him into trouble.
Alrightie. Are you ready? I just want you to circle the entire rink. No hassles!I will get you started on the “cleaning” part later.
Hoover trips and in one motion, falls head first. THUD!
I think we all are in for some fun today.
Gram gestures to his assistant.
EXT.GIANTS ICE RINK-DAY
BEEP!The sound of the buzzer alerts everyone. We hear the announcer speak
Please exit the rink for routine maintenance.
The rink is all for Hoover.
Hoover blinks. He looks around and finds the guy who fell face first earlier staring at him, black eyed. He looks ahead towards the rink as a voice over follows.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!
His eyes light up and he starts moving, he closes his eyes and goes at it. We see him moving, although we don’t see his feet. The salt in his system causes him to sway, and as he tries to balance himself, it feels as if he’s doing a figure skating.
There is a mild applause as he moves in expert fashion, moving rapidly. He opens his eyes to see that he is in middle of the rink. He did it! Gram, who’s stops munching and looks with mouth wide open.
Just then, he slips and falls. Sudden Silence! And then he acts as if he’s inspecting the ice. He yells.
Who cleaned the rink last time? Bloody amateur.
The kid is right.
EXT.GIANTS ICE RINK-SOME TIME LATER
The people are at their skating once more, as Hoover looks on. Gram appears from behind, slapping his back.
Hey Kiddo! You nailed it man!
Thanks Mr. Richards.
Call me Gram!(pause) see you tomorrow.
I will be here on the dot.
Gram smiles and leaves. Hoover now looks at the rink, and thinks of the day that has gone by. It has been a lucky day. Just then, Gram calls him.
I am ordering some Indian food. Wanna bite?
Hoover smiles, almost breaks into laughter, and then composes himself and says