“Is that him? Is that Dolorez?”
“Who is that?”
“He was so famous.”
“Famous in what?”
“Writings. What? You don’t know him! Are you serious?”
I could no longer listen to the stupid chattering of the young lovebirds. They were so irritating. I tried not to do this. And I could have stayed peacefully within the four walls of my apartment unless it was for Benji.
Benjamin, he always stayed a good friend of mine. He was with me in all the highs and lows of life. I would always be indebted to him. He is the only reason why I still exist.
The place was quite empty for a coffee shop. The clouds brimming with rain and the usual Sunday routine might have kept everyone home. The clouds darkened, even more, signalling a heavy downpour. Yet, here I am, waiting.
Not exactly waiting, I was quite early. I always was. I was known for my uncompromising punctuality once. I always reached my venues long before I was required. It was not due to any particular reason, I just loved doing so. I would then simply watch people. Years of self-imprisonment had failed in damaging my habitual actions.
As an author, I never ran out of inspiration. I realized inspiration is present everywhere, sometimes even in the simplest of circumstances. We run out of inspirations when we stop looking for it. All we have to do is look for it.
A few moments later, a stout man, nearing his fifties, reached the cafe door. He pushed the door open and made his way in. His brown jacket had lost its tone considerably in the rain. He wiped his nearly bald head with a handkerchief and took a glance around the cafe. He straightened his spectacles to improve his visibility.
Recognizing the probability of the current situation to last forever, I waved my hands at him. He responded with a grin and waved back at me. He took the seat against me.
“Aging affects you, Benjamin Poward.” I said with a smile.
“I know. I know.” He paused for some time. “I hate to say this. But… I missed you, buddy.”
We talked for a long time. The long conversation reminded me of how I used to laugh. It was terrifying. It could possibly haunt a little child for years.
“I want to tell you something,” said Benji.
“Please proceed,” I replied.
I was confused. “Time for?”
“Time for you to come back. It has been too long. You can’t do this anymore.”
I simply smirked at the comment and glared out of the window. I could never do that. It was my decision to stop. I could not let anything change that, not even Benji.
“Look at me when I speak.” Benji nearly shouted.
“Let me remind you that you are not currently at Cambridge and I am not one of your students.”
“Denny, it’s not funny. FIVE years, it has been five years since your last project. You are ruining your life. Just, just don’t do this to yourself. It was not your fault. It was her deci..”
“It was my fault.” I stopped him before he could complete.
“Alright, we went through this before. Not once, not twice but more than enough. Alright look, I agree. It was your fault. You were not there when she needed you the most. You were being an absolute idiot. You were obsessed with fame. You never even thought about her. And when she finally left this world, here you are, staying inside a room, locking yourself out from the entire world. Do you think you are doing this for her? Do you think you are making her happy? You are NOT. This is not what she wanted. And, you can’t give her what she wanted anymore. Because she is gone. She is gone. Gone. And if you want to do something for her, BE YOU. That’s what she always wanted. That’s what she always loved. Can you do that… for her?”
I was petrified. I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know what to tell him. I always believed I had to do this. Whenever my mind asked me why I refused to respond because I never had an answer. Maybe I was trying to do something for her. But in the insides of my insides, I knew this was not the right way.
“I am sorry,” Benji told me.
“No, no, you are right. You were just... a little too fast.”
We both smiled at the comment. I always used to crack jokes, in the most unsuitable circumstances. I could never let go of my awkward sense of humour.
We shortly finished our coffee and walked out of the cafe.
“So, what now?” I asked Benji
“I have to go back. Got some work to do. What about you?”
“I don’t know, really.”
“Denny, just think about what I said, alright? And call me when you feel to.”
“I will. I will, definitely.”
A moment of silence between us. Then, he gave me a friendly hug.
“See you later, buddy. Take care.”
He patted on my shoulders and started walking away. Some rare intuition in me called out to him.
“Benji, you were a very good friend. Thank you.”
He smiled, “For?”
I felt so happy on my way back. The streets of London were so stranded. I had never felt this happy in years. I felt so satisfied. And it all felt so great.
Now I had a promise to keep. I needed to get back to the world. So, I tried to go to my mind palace. My mind palace is where all my stories developed. I could create my own realities in there. I could create my characters, locations that do not exist, situations that will never happen, and so and so. But currently, I found it blank. Suddenly, it started raining.
I looked around for cover. I found a bench near a shop that was shielded from the rain. I ran to it. When I was making myself comfortable on the bench, a little girl ran across the road to me. She seated herself on the bench and took off her raincoat.
Somehow, I found the kid so familiar. I noticed the kid had brown eyes and hair. She beamed at me. I felt it strange and quickly looked away. It was cute. But, I was not yet ready to be smiled at by a stranger. It was just a small kid, but still, I found it difficult.
The kid asked me, “What’s your name?”
“Daniel,” I replied.
She was no longer talking. I found it more comfortable to watch the rain quietly. But, the familiarity of her face created ripples in my mind.
“Are you not going to ask me my name?” She asked.
“Oh, what’s your name?”
“That’s sad. You are a grown-up.”
“Alright, just tell me your name.”
“I expected sorry.” She looked at me cunningly.
I actually could not stand it. But, considering the fact that it was just a kid, I gave up.
“I am sorry. What’s your name?”
Sarah. Sarah Elizabeth Watson. A wave of memories took control of my mind, actually my entire body. I loved her. I loved her more than anything. And I lost her. Benji was right. I lost her.
“What are you thinking?” the kid asked.
“Uhh... Nothing. My wife’s name was Sarah.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
Surprisingly, in a short time, I found myself engaged in a conversation. A few moments later, she asked me, “Do you know the Avengers?”
As a young author, I was unaware of the outside world. Sarah once pointed Barack Obama to me and I asked her whether he was a pop singer. I really lacked enough information to answer the question.
“I don’t know. Is it a music band or something?”
She laughed. She laughed so loudly that the sound of the rain was now sunk down by her voice. And I somehow enjoyed her company.
“Why did you say your wife’s name ‘was’ Sarah?”
“Well… she has gone somewhere far.”
“Well, why don’t you go there?”
“It takes a lot of effort to go there.”
“Does it cost a lot of money? You told me you are rich.”
“I don’t think they take cash, kid.”
“How about a card?”
“They don’t take any sort of payment, as I heard about it.”
I didn’t know how to tell this small kid all these things.
“Well, is it a good place?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, it is. It’s beautiful.”
“Have you gone there?”
“I don’t think they offer a return trip”
“Well, do you love her?
“I do. I still do.”
“If it was me, I would go there. I can stay with the one I love in a beautiful place. What more do we need?”
Though the rain had left us, her words struck me like lightning. I suddenly felt so different, so complicated.
“What’s the time, Mr.Daniel?”
“Oh, I have to go. See you soon, Mr Dolorez. Bye.”
She ran away, across the road and away she went. But, my mind was hanging on a single question. It was not actually a question. It was an answer. An answer I searched for years. And it was so simple. Is not everything? All the complicated situations seem to have the simplest answer. Like in Mathematics. You solve a huge problem to see the answer was nothing but a zero.
Hours later, I found myself in my room. The room that kept me locked for a long time. But, today I found the shackles to be weak. Like I have finally discovered freedom. Freedom from my mind, my thoughts, myself.
I always believed that every day teaches us something, that can help us discover a better version of us. We just have to find that something and accept it with our heart, or brain, to be scientifically correct. And I have all reason to believe that I have currently attained the best version of myself until this day. Maybe tomorrow might mark a better me. But today, today is perfect.
I have noticed a general trend in suicide notes. They tend to be short. But, I can not make it short. I have a promise to keep. I have to put my best into this.
I have never found myself so enthusiastic about writing before. But, today is different. I will keep my word, for Sarah, for Benji, for myself. This will be my finest.