Monday, 27 July 2015

Sensitivities


Julian had just arrived from his hometown in New Mexico -- struggling to carry his rather heavy suitcase to his flat which he'd rented ever since he shifted to New York for his college. He lived in this house which really was an apartment but looked like an English cottage. The apartment belonged to this old couple -- Samantha and Max. And they weren't English, not even close.
Julian lived on the first floor and his landlords lived in the opposite adjoining flat. The ground floor was mostly storage used by the couple to keep odd furniture and stuff- they never discarded anything. So Julian finally settles down and takes a sigh of relief whilst almost throwing himself on the unusually shaped 'banana' bean bag; ironically he had a name for it- orange.
Practically he had orange, a bed and a study table that he could write of as furniture owned by him.
Now that he was relaxing, he overheard Samantha and Max talking about something loud enough to penetrate the thinly plastered walls that separated the souls.
"Do you love me, anymore?” said Samantha. “I feel you don't anymore.”
"Of course I do -- always have and will. Please don't utter rubbish out of your pretty mouth", Max was heard saying.
'I know, I'm just teasing honey,' she said.
That was all that Julian heard, rather he chose to hear since he thought he was eavesdropping, which, is certainly no good. And he dozed off to sleep.
The next morning he woke up rather early, all charged up, for college. As he was about to lock and leave his flat he, again, heard the couple talking. For some odd reason he found himself glued to the door, the very door which keeps outsiders from breaching in. So much for privacy.
'I've made your favourite cheese scrambled eggs and garlic bread for breakfast', said Samantha in her usual sunny tone.
'Awesome! Love you babe.' 'Yea, sure you do', Samantha was heard saying in a rather sarcastic way.
'Oh c'mon! Don't you mean that again.'
'What? I did not say anything -- no malice.'
'Alright, alright.' 'How do you like the eggs?’ asked Samantha.
'Love them, but of course, not more than you', Max exclaimed in a gleeful manner.
Samantha mocked, “‘Cheesy much?' 'I know you don't love me anymore. I'm not beautiful anymore. I'm not charming like I used to be; I know I don't catch your fancy anymore!'”
'Let me eat then and why don't you grab the newspaper for me, it's lying right outside', Max groaned. He was rather disgruntled.
Samantha, weakened by age, wobbled about slowly towards the front door to fetch the newspaper, oblivious to their seemingly innocuous tenant eavesdropping on them this whole time.
As a matter of fact they liked him, though they would speak to each other only when he would come over to pay the rent or if something in Julian's flat needed fixing. As she opened the door, Julian, who was so engrossed in their conversation that he didn't realise (Use British spelling throughout. S instead of z) that she was actually coming to get the door. And he stumbled and almost fell unto Samantha's feet.

'Julian! My child what are you doing there on the floor, when did you get back son?'
'Hello Aunt Samantha, I wa... I was', Julian stammered. 'I was just coming over to meet you guys and also to pay the rent for the month.'
"But it’s only the 22nd today, you always pay up by the 1st, don't you?'
'Oh yea', confused as he was, 'well I thought I'd pay you in advance, don't want to keep a lot of stash­­­­— you know how reckless we teenagers get with money.'
'Very well, come in and have some breakfast with your uncle Max, will you?'
'Umm, well, yea alright one for me as well.'
'That a boy! Go give Max some company while I prepare a lovely meal to fill you out for the day.'
'Yea thank you.' 
Julian went in towards the seating area where they had an antique exotic looking dining table which the couple had imported from Thailand. Max was on his rocking chair - scribbling something in a leather bound diary. And this diary of his looked so antediluvian that it made its owner seem young.
Samantha came in with a plate full of scrambled eggs and garlic bread along with some sausages.
'There you go, fill yourself up. I'm going for a shower and in case you need anything more— don't bother cause that's all we have for breakfast. Enjoy.'
'Don't bother, I'll probably not finish this in the first place. Thank you though', said Julian.

Julian got busy gobbling down the home cooked food which was a rare feat in his life unless of course he was home on holidays; also, thanking God for both the food and not getting caught. As he was eating, smitten by curiosity, his gaze fell on that leather diary which Max was writing in. He was rather harsh while writing, pressing the pen upon the paper— almost like asphyxiating someone.

‘Uncle Max… what is this diary of yours? What do you write?’ asked Julian with a childlike enthusiasm.

‘Nothing.’
‘Nothing? I’m just asking, not that I would like to know what’s in it, unless you’d like to share.’
‘It’s my wish diary’, Max not sparing a glance at Julian.
‘Oh wow, like a bucket list or something? Like how old Morgan sets out to do all sorts of crazy stuff after he retires- you know that movie…’
Max irritated, ‘have your food boy, it’s not good to talk while eating.’
‘Mind if I see what’s in your bucket list?’
‘Don’t you dare touch this diary of mine, I’ll chop off your hands!’ Max roared.
‘Take it easy sir, I’m sorry.’
Julian gets going with his food while Max remains engrossed in his diary.
Suddenly there’s a loud thud— as if a piano fell off the terrace of the building right on the ground.

It was Samantha, she’d slipped on the wet bathroom floor. Both Julian and Max rushed towards the bathroom to find out what went wrong. Being the old couple they were, both avoided locking the doors of the bathroom; hence Max simply had to push the door. And there she was lying on the floor, bare, blood oozing out of the side of her head like a narrow stream downhill. A flabbergasted moment of indecision. Quickly realising the gravity of the situation, Max managed to cover her up with a towel. Pressing his hands on the wound to stop the blood rushing out of her skull, Max shouts, “Julian! Call 911! Damn it go already!”
Julian ran towards the seating area, where the phone was, almost stumbling upon the beautifully crafted stool bought in Greece. The couple were fond of travelling and had a predilection for exquisite furniture. He picked up the phone and dialled 911.

‘Hello, this is 911. What is your emergency?’ said the operator in a clinical tone.
‘Yes, we have an emergency! Please help!’
‘Sir, what is your emergency?’
As Julian was addressing the queries of the operator over the phone, his eyes landed on that leather diary which belonged to Max. Without a second of reflection about the emergency and his responsibility he picked up the diary and started reading.

‘Hello! Sir? You there? Sir?’
Meanwhile Max was trying his best to stop the gushing blood and resuscitating Samantha.
‘Baby, you’ll be alright. I will take you to the hospital any moment now. The medics are on their way. I love you! Please, God, please I love you! Don’t do this!’ he sobbed and whispered.

But it was only a matter of minutes. Samantha managed to breathe her last– She had left him all alone. Max was beyond grief stricken. He had no clue how to feel. He had never thought this day would come.
In the other room Julian kept reading, his tears wouldn’t stop, oblivious to the repercussions of his irresponsibility.
Why was he crying? What wish list would make him cry? He kept turning the pages. Funny, though, every page read the same. Exactly the same. It seemed as if Max had photocopied the same page over and over again.
Max’s ‘wish’ diary wished the same thing in every line, everyday:

“Don’t say ‘Anymore’.”    



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