Pop open the can. Take a swig. Light another smoke. Keep an eye on the floor – make sure no one’s pushing the stripper too hard. Yea, it’s all good. Time to make the rounds.
Three years is a long time for many, for me it passed by in a blink of an eye. Sure; the seconds turned to hours and the minutes to days, but on a whole, I remember the last three years as a blur. There are patches of memory which seem to shy away from attention, and there are those that stand out far too strongly for comfort.
And of course, there was my muse.
A man’s imagination is a curious creature. Far from guiding, inspiring or even providing the creative spark, it is destructive. It is vindictive. It plots and schemes to hurt.
I was once a young boy whose biggest dream was to get more time to swim. Funny how life changes you…
Puff. Flick. Notice the burning fingers. It’s eating the filter. I don’t care. It keeps burning my hand, slowly lapping up the last vestiges of my conscious mind. I lose focus and turn away from the floor to look at the cig.
If only I had the gift of fire. My mother never told me if I was special. I was always cajoled into doing what I was told because it was what I was ’supposed’ to do. I learned to question everything, and in the process lost what little I believed in.
My dad never told me anything.
She moved across the room, touching hands and turning heads. I noticed her more as a pulsating sensation than actually looking at her. I was interested, but not really bothered. Better yet, the filter had almost burnt out. Just a minute more.
There are two kinds of destinies. One is wrought out of your actions, your thoughts turning into reality, your imagination taking hold and disrupting your life. That is what those assholes in big offices with fancy books teach you to master.
And then there is the sort of destiny that shapes your life by itself. It has power over you, and if you let it take over, you’re on for the ride of a lifetime.
She was standing in front of me, and the music seemed harsher, louder all of a sudden. The contradictory emotions of anger and amusement felt hollow, forced. I glanced away from my burnt fingers to grab some ice and pop them in a glass. Lift, Flip, Pour. Nice and easy to the brim. Light another smoke. Let it fill your mind.
She sat beside me, a makeshift stool at a makeshift bar. I felt her pour herself a drink, but the music had now changed, and I looked over the floor again. There was the stripper, now straddling the richest man in the room. Watching him drink and fondle his way through the night should have made me feel shame. Yet no clichés could tell you how emptiness feels.
Suffice to say, I had grown up too fast, and now I didn’t care.
Down half the glass. Blow some smoke into the glass and watch it float gently around. Seconds to hours. And for once, I was out of opening lines.
She didn’t let that put her down. Sliding off her stool, she easily moved into my line of sight, coming closer and I could smell her strawberry scent mixing with the sweet tang of Jack Daniels. Her dress had managed to hold on to her till now, but then again, the night had just begun.
Her lips trembled. It was no blockbuster classic, but she had a twinkle in her eye that went beyond alcohol and smile that I could not see. The hair sat comfortably on her shoulders, thrown back and inviting the unwitting soul to reach inside and translate his mind’s inadequacies into broken words.
Flick. Finish the drink. She took the glass from my hand, leaned in to put it on the bar behind me. I caught a taste of her ear in my mouth, and a lifetime of memories flooded my senses. For a fraction of a second, I felt peace. And there it was, a sheet of cold and blank. I stared right back. She stayed, toying with my face without touching it, and finally came close enough to whisper my name…
Written on: May 1st, 2005