If you haven’t read Chapter I of Kate Sarah’s novel Largesse, click here. This is Chapter II.
This is a simple truth of human life. If one tries to avoid the surplus of fate, death can rest.
How far can man run away from death? The share of which he is inclined to receive, time and fate both conspire him to either be closer to death or to take him away little further in life.
But with all the complicities, the complex life of human accelerate towards vice. Time has always stood to witness that humans are more inclined towards what is evil.
And they call themselves a rebel. Their mere birth is a farce.
Or maybe I believe they are in constant confusion in their quest for unknown that they tend to cling to whatever they assume can fill their void.
I like to assume their lives and come to certain conclusion. I prefer it this way, a distance from all the messy affairs of human life. But to me they are my favourite creatures.
Evening is the saddest part of the day according to some humans.
For me, evening is the time I see true colours of all the humans.
Today’s evening is beautiful crimson on the horizon. There is no trace of rain. If fate doesn’t collide with my schedule the rain won’t fall. But if it falls, my task will be delayed.
I like this stillness. The way earth eats the sun at the horizon, swallowing it whole like an egg disappearing inside the mouth of a giant serpent.
I can see colours evaporating out of their souls.
Today, however I am here to watch him, I am told it is time.
I want to see if he avoids his fate or dives into it.
I am his share. Even if fate knocks him to a different course, I will be summoned again. Whatever is written cannot be unwritten until some internal force acts upon him to challenge his fate. We seldom receive such threats from human.
Not once have I been challenged. He however will succumb to me.
He is a singer, I am told.
He is nineteen, 5 ft 11 almost 6 ft tall, 64.5kg weight, agnostic. Colour of the hair is black and long till his shoulder, has a birthmark on his abdomen. It is a surgery mark unknown to him.
He has a twin brother whom he hasn’t met. He lives with his aunt but calls her his mother. He recently found out he was adopted and was told he was an orphan. A reason he finds valid for me.
I watch him. He stands approximately fifty feet away from me. The colour of his soul is deep grey.
He is puking on the wall of the famous Gyatso Bar cum restaurant. This is a civilised colony. He can be charged anytime today. But as I am told he won’t be.
As described to me, he is with kohl covered eyes. His hair is sweaty and greasy. He has been sweating a lot. He wears black jeans with a beige sweater which is his school uniform. He doesn’t wear a tie. His friends inside the bar cum restaurant calls out his name
“Samu” they call him, but that’s not his name.
His hands are on the wall. He throws fluids incessantly. This is how he plans to kill his grief.
I am told, at approximately 15 minutes fate will bring her. It is up to him to change the course of time, with one decision.
I wait for her.
I am told she is quite young, 15 years of age. Plain soft voice and a docile nature not much to know about. My main concern is him.
I see her struggling with the grocery bag some 200 ft away. Her curly hair flows till her shoulder. She had wet hair tied into plaits this morning.
It is strange the colour of her soul, she is indeed a prism. I see rainbow.
As the proximity increases, I always feel uneasy when this happens. I am not supposed to feel emotions but I feel because of this work that I am assigned to has its side effects. I have to deal with so many emotions that some I keep adapting.
People have been glaring at Samden, he stands to face the wall. With one hand covering his mouth and the other resting on the moss covered wall. As people walk up and down the stairs beside the wall, they pass some comments.
She is watching him pitifully from the stairs, without any judgements. She has given up on her effort to carry the bag, she holds it closer to her heart. There is a white stick on her mouth. The lollipop sure tastes good.
Two red tomatoes fall from the bag beside him.
The day begins to darken. Dark clouds rest above the town.
This is how it begins then.
He turns. Eyes red with tears. He is crying of pungent pain that’s stuck in the esophagus. His heart however has different story.
He picks the tomatoes and hands it to her
She can see his hands are dirty.
Her judgement fails. “I think you should keep it. My mother will not like it”
She tells him with a sour face.
He rubs the ripe tomatoes on his cardigan and takes a bite.
It tastes delicious. He can feel the acidity rising from his tummy, he forces it down his the throat by swallowing whatever remains ready to come out. He makes a bizarre face.
She looks at him in quiet awe.
“Do you have anything to eat?” He asks.
She wiggles her head in fear. Looking at how hungrily he ate the tomatoes she changes her mind and hands him another ripe one from the bag.
Her eyes are deep black in the evening light. The pupils are round and big. Her lashes are long and thick and she has it popped wide in fear and astonishment. Five bites and two more tomatoes gone.
She is almost his height when she is standing four steps above the wall.
He pulls the lollipop from her mouth and takes the bite.
Strawberry, it sure tastes good.
She doesn’t know how to react. When he is inches closer to her face.
He grins at her but she doesn’t respond and walks away.
Suzanna Fonning’s first encounter with Samden.
Interesting turn of events.
The clouds weep into fine drizzle.
My victim’s assignment is delayed.
February is one of the busiest months for me.
The shortest month in a human world. Of all my brothers, I am busiest in this season of love.
I am particularly assigned to a task of deliverance. You see you might think I romanticise my work field.
Well, I have to. I am not fond of how I do it. I don’t have a choice.
This is the day I am told, to deliver him from his misery.
Death is indeed just a gateway.
Samden sits meditating and weighing his actions.
There is a fresh whisky untouched today.
He is indeed a changed man in many ways since my last visit.
His soul is gray but lighter shade as if someone had mixed his charred colour with bright white. It was indeed turning into ivory. He waits for her. As he waits, now he plays with a half glass of whiskey.
He is inside Box room no. 13, the wood box of this restaurant cum bar is warm. There are together fifteen such boxes that gives the customers their own private space.
His hair has grown long beyond his shoulder. Today he has loosely tied it. A thick checkered wool muffler rests on his white neck that reads cashmere. His face has weary pain. His lips are dark blue now. He rubs the back of his left hand with his right thumb. Two serpent like letters reads “S S”.
To the world, Samden Ongyal Lepcha, is an arrogant rising star. He has his own ways to deal with people which is why he rubs them all in the wrong side.
He is known to be a goofy guy with talent. The world doesn’t approve of his blunt words. He speaks his heart out on paper. To the world he is an open book. But only he knows that he has kept few chapters closed.
His former manager called him
“A self-satisfying egoist”.
He lost weight, friends and appetite for life at an early age. He gained love, pain and inspiration in the couple of months.
He doesn’t understand why Suzanna loves him; everyone leaves ultimately but her. She is his constant.
The bar plays his song, he smiles at this.
He knows he will not make it big. A truth that he is always reminded by the world. That an artist born at this side of the world is either taken by kaal (death) or by Nepal. But nobody knows that’s the only thing he lives to do. He cannot breathe without his passion. Lately apart from music, she has become his enervation.
She is, so young, so naive.
He remembers that only a year ago she had captured his heart outside this very restaurant.
How he didn’t know? He met her again and the series of meetings made her his muse.
He has never told her he loved her. Words weren’t necessary for her.
“Sing” she would demand.
Her eyes that worshipped him. Those eyes, she is enough. But he knows he isn’t.
“Leave” he would scold her but she is as obstinate as he is.
How her folks have done many things to make her understand the bad influence he is to her. Yet she always finds her way back to him.
Like an angry grey cloud, that burst into rain and those raindrops mix with the mountains and rivers that flow with all its water to go back to being the cloud of the same sky. The cycle of life repeats itself.
She always finds her way back to him.
She doesn’t know when it started. How he became this essential to her, like air for her lungs. Not a single day has gone without meeting him, until last week. He is important for her why doesn’t the world see that? She doesn’t know it yet, people only see what they want to see.
Last Friday, she walked hand in hand with him on a deserted road.
The evening was darkening. The road was clean and occasional cars moved across the snake bend road.
She has grown to be a beautiful woman too. Youthful charm surrounds her. Her hair floats into a wavy curl. She wears pink gloss that makes her face look more tan. She is of tall frame but Samden is taller. Her eyes are round black and doe like at equal distance. Her pink smile add up radiance to her body. Samden thinks of a song that would fit with that smile.
He gave her his warm jacket while he blew white smoke off his cigarette to keep himself warm against the cold February.
His hands were cold and hard. Hers felt soft and weak.
“If I tell you to leave all this, would you do that for me” she teased him.
She took the burning cigarette off his hand and took a few puffs.
She coughed smoke and her beautiful tan face grew redder. He chuckled.
“That’s why you shouldn’t change my mind” he pulled her close and bend to kiss her cheeks.
“If that is so, let me try it again” she took another puff. Her face turned purple.
His laughter still echoes in that lonely road.
A car pulled over.
“Suzanna!”, a surprising voice called her.
She bend forward with squinting eyes to see her grandfather and her uncle in the car. The cigarette kept burning. She immediately threw it away.
“Get inside” her uncle gave a sharp look to drowsy eyed Samden.
“Get inside” her grandfather said sternly.
She looked at Samden pitifully and went inside the car.
The car sped slowly against the grey road. She could see Samden standing alone watching her go away.
“Stop the car.” She told her uncle.
“Stop the car or I will jump” an unknown brash spirit had gotten hold of her.
Her uncle stopped the car and turned around to scold her but she ran away to him.
He on the other hand knew it then, the depth of her love and devotion towards him.
She ran into his arm. Their hearts fluttered.
“Listen, they will try to keep me away from you. I will call you okay, I will meet you at Gyatso at 4, okay. 14th remember. I will come no matter what.”
He kissed her bushy hair. “Take care kid” and released her.
She waved him goodbye and gave him her best smile.
As predicted, Suzanna was confined and her every move was monitored. She wasn’t allowed to be alone. Her cellphone was taken away.
His number was blocked. Her sim destroyed. She listened without complaint.
She became a good girl like her folks had always asked her to be.
When they came to know about Samden a year ago, she was beaten by her mother and Aunt. This didn’t stop her.
They didn’t stop beating her either. Her face was like a canvas with bruised eyes and blue marks. Like exorcism conducted to get rid of a bad spirit, she was beaten almost daily.
She was called a whore though she was a virgin.
And one day her grandfather threatened him in his house. He remained quiet while his mother blamed Suzanna.
When he used to meet her. She would be black and blue. Why? He would question himself yet he had no answer why this tragedy.
Why did she love him this much? He had once asked her.
“Because that’s the only thing I know” she had said.
There are millions beautiful creatures why did she choose him. He had asked her.
“Because you chose me first. Now I have nothing to choose. No options”
He knew how beautiful she was and how boys turned their heads to glance at her.
To think of her dangling into someone else’s arms was a painful thought. Yet sometimes he would accuse her of being unfaithful.
One Evening before the meeting she called him.
“I have to meet you” she had hurriedly told him, “Be there at 4, I love you”
He looks at his watch the hour and the minute hand indicates it four. The song has ended. He scratches his nose. It’s been a week without her. It’s also been a week without anything down his system. To calm his soul. It was the longest week for him.
He wrote songs about her. That week on his old Walkman. He thought of dedicating an entire album for her but the future feels like a lucid dream, the saddest oxymoron.
He rests his head on the wooden table. The song ends.
Somebody taps his head. He knows it’s her. He pretends to be asleep.
She takes the rubber band off his hair.
She chuckles. He smiles underneath the table.
He faces her and tucks his hair behind his ears, her eyes are weary. Her lips look swollen. Her tan face has lost its colour.
I can see her soul is no more of rainbow. But I feels like the burning flame of blue and red.
His smile dies when his eyes meet her face.
Why would they do that to their own kind? He could not understand.
He touches her slightly swollen face.
“Did I do that?” He whispers, afraid.
She smiles, “You can never hurt me.” She turns around to hold her bag. “I bought a present for you.”
He gets irritated “Suzanna, for God’s sake you are seventeen why are you so considerate? Why do people have to hurt you? Why are you okay being hurt?”
Suzanna looks puzzled after few seconds she smiles, “when people hurt you that’s because they are hurt somewhere. This is not a valid excuse but that’s how the world is. They hurt you because they are afraid.”
“You scare me with all your wise words. Don’t be a saint” he replies without letting her finish the sentence, “Why can’t you be normal seventeen years old girl having a normal boyfriend, leading a normal life?”
“This is normal to me”
“No this isn’t” his voice has become so loud that the owner is now stretching her head to see the source of the sound.
“Why everything has to be me?”
His eyes are sad today. “Why would you suffer because of me?”
“This isn’t suffering, Sam. Look at me” her eyes are gleaming with tears and her face is torn into a smile.
“I love you and what makes you believe that it’s suffering? I would suffer this all again and again for a moment with you. You are worth suffering for.”
She hands him a pair of gloves. He tosses them aside.
“I am sorry I have nothing to give you” he says. “Come here.”
He pulls her close.
The curtains are closed. He can smell the earthy smell off her hair. She sits on his lap. His hand on hers. Her hand on his face. They kiss passionately, breathlessly, giving way to short moans.
Her lips still smells like strawberry. His hand moves towards her supple bosom. He carefully fondles them.
She pulls his hair and kisses his neck. He pulls her hair harder. She giggles. He kisses her flustered cheeks.
His hand entangled in her curly hair.
He cannot understand why she loves curling her hair. She has such a beautiful straight hair.
“If I tell you to take me away from here, will u do that?” She whispers into his ears.
“Where would you want to go?” He whispers back panting.
“Anywhere with you” she leans her head towards him.
“This evening?” He asks.
“After this evening.”
Samden pulls her away. “Did you run away from home?”
She is silent.
He looks on the floor for evidence. She has only a sling bag nothing more.
“Tell me, where you actually under a house arrest?” his voice is becoming harsh.
She always fears his this phase.
“Do you think I am a fool? You go around fucking others and think you’d fuck me too.” He pulls her hair. She begs for mercy.
I can see her left hand has a wound she has tried to carelessly cover. It looks like a burnt cigarette.
“Calm down” she half screams his name.
His eyes are blood shot red. Sometimes he cannot control himself. He tries so hard to control his rage. She tries to prove her fidelity to him. He constantly needs assurance and when the heat dies he regrets putting her through it all. He knows she has nowhere to go. She can be hurt anywhere.
She is not chaos but she lives in it, a girl of many paradoxes. So mature at sixteen yet so immature in many ways.
Few months ago, he had broken her elbow because he saw her with one of her cousin brother. She had her hand around her cousin. That evening, she was punished because she touched someone else. He sure said sorry million times after that. She told her family it was an accident but He knew it was consciously done. To make it up to her, he too broke his arm.
He feels burden to be around her not knowing when his mind snaps and open the gate to this demon to take over his body. There is a part of him that loves her so much yet the other half cannot see himself happy. He knows she doesn’t deserve a maniac like him.
How many times he had asked her to leave but she always finds her way back to him. Like every lost things that one way or other comes back to its master.
He buries his face into her hair “I am sorry” he hugs her tight. He is guilty.
She cannot breathe. He hugs her tightly.
“Samden” she screams. He finally let her go. She jumps off the box hitting her head on the doorway. There is a lonely glass on the table filled with whisky. He gulps it down in one go.
He blinks his eyes into a real world
And pushes his demon inside. “Let’s go out”
He pulls her out of the bar. She is still moving her hand around her feeble body not because of cold but his hug ached her. He moves faster. They reach the green bridge. The sky is faint crimson. It is five in the evening.
The clouds are few. The sun is dying behind those few remaining clouds. He was always fascinated by the dying sun. She is quiet beside him. Her heart aches. Tears swell up to the brim of her eyes but she quietly sucks it within.
“Are you crying?” He asks.
She wiggles her head to lie. The water in her eyes betrays her. She wipes them away.
His hand holds her soft hand tightly. The wind blows cold invading his black windcheater. He opens it to let the wind brush him off and asks her to wear it.
He sees her nose has turned cold and red. Her eyes look swollen. She obeys and puts his windcheater. It is too loose for her. He laughs at the sight.
His teeth clatter as the wind brushes him. He wears a thin white cotton shirt. The passerby around them walking the long green bridge stare at them as if they are the mad couple.
“Do you love me?” He whispers to her.
“You know I do.”, she replies.
He measures the height of the bridge with his eyes. Will it hurt? he thinks.
Now she is assured he is back. She touches his face with her warm hands.
“Do you love me, Suzanna?”
“Yes” she leans on him.
“I wrote a song for you” he smiles at her
“Actually I wrote many, do you want to hear?”
She smiles and nods her head and rests her head on his shoulder. Once again the tramps around glare at them.
“Suzanna, do you love me?” His voice is barely a whisper. His face is inches away from her.
She nods to this repeated question.
“I want you to do something, now, Suzanna” he says softly.
“Go and buy me a pack of cigarettes, when you come back I will sing a song for you, okay. And I will take you away with me, all right? You won’t have to worry about anything. I won’t hurt you. They won’t hurt you. Do you understand?”
“Now run kid, go fetch me cigarettes, will you?”
She runs away like she is told.
He sighs and measures the depth of the height.
Cars move without any noise like a hot butter sliding off a soot coated pan. He has to find courage.
I wait at the edge of the bridge. After exactly 50 seconds I am allowed to be almost a foot near him. This is the tricky part. This is the difficult part and for me, this is the horrible seconds I dread because of what happens to me and my victim.
While my brothers take away humans who are killed in natural calamities, natural deaths and who are murdered. I am assigned to people who take their own lives.
Death is but a gateway for some.
For my victims it’s an unending labyrinth, a limbo.
They have to pass it again and again after they decide to end their stay on earth.
Their decision seems logical to them but after they commit their life to me, they never escape from the feelings that they wanted to escape. It broadens and becomes a net for them and they are forever entangled with the same emotions that they had while taking their own lives.
I am not least bothered about their emotions but they become my emotions too.
Because as they commit to fall from their own graces I have to catch their soul to an unending pit of their own despondency. While doing so the creator has cursed me such that I become them and they become me.
For split-seconds, I possess their souls and they possess mine.
For a moment, we swap places
As I deliver them to the pit, a part of their soul will remain within me. Thus I am now, millions of such souls. A breathing bag of misery.
My dreaded moment has come.
Samden hesitates. The clock around my wrist is ticking. I am now but a foot closer to him. I wait.
Samden turns to see his black windcheater.
She is running. “Suzanna. Stop” he shouts. Half of the people stop to look at him.
She stops midway.
He opens his arms wide,
“Suzanna, you know I love you.”
She cannot understand why now, why today he chose to confess those words. Whatever it is, she is extremely happy.
Some girls around him giggle. The people around him resume their walk not giving him any attention. Valentine’s Day is indeed an overrated youth holiday.
He sings with arms wide. There is wide white smile on his face
Suzanna, don’t you cry for me
I’ll always love you
Till my last breath
Or maybe after that.
Suzanna, Oh Suzann.”
He falls back. His voice fading. I can hear her shriek and someone else is shouting too. The act is commited so swiftly no one could know that. I grab his soul as his head touches the earth. His soul possess me.
This moment he is me and I am him. We watch her. She is screaming with her two hands around her ears, a deafening cry. We can see the veins throbbing on her coloured neck. She is burning red and collapses on the ground.
I feel deep pain in my chest. Group of men gather around the bridge.
Blood oozes out of the body and cars suddenly stop, inches away from the body. The white cotton shirt isn’t white anymore. The colour red spreads all over. His face is up to the sky. His eyes vacant and black. His limbs twisted broken. Thick red leaks away from his lifeless corpse.
My eyes continually looks for her. There is someone crying within me.
At this moment I feel strange.
I have completed my assignment, yet I feel incomplete.
Among the sea of faces that crowd around her, I try to get one last glance of her.
The sun departs at the horizon making darkness visible as it engulfs the sky and the land. I see colours everywhere, flames sparks bright and dim from every soul.
I will not get her second glance though I want to spend eternity here. Fate and time conspire again, they lead me and I have to follow, I am chained to them; they move me.
Death is indeed just a gateway for some souls. I reluctantly fly away to my next victim, but I turn back to have that one last glance at her, I see her blue and red flames dying to produce soot black vapour.
My eyes leak an unknown liquid, the soul within me weeps.
I fly away because it is indeed a very hectic season for me.