Short stories

A Season to Die

I could not bear the agony of knowing I was still alive. Why? It was a pain greater than any I had ever known. To live without Love, to know that everything I have learned and worked for become invalid, to see through the centre of the earth and discover the many layers that weighed down on top of one another slowly corroding the surface – what then was I left with? Something within me shrieked so loud that it was almost deafening. Yet the greatest mystery was no one could hear it. Was it my soul? Was it my conscience? Whatever it was, it screamed for me; perhaps even a little for humanity. A casual observer once said to me, “Que sera sera.” Is that really possible? Que sera sera? One part of me broke into fits of laughter, almost in hysterics. I broke into tears, almost in hysterics. The wind whispered in my ear “Que sera sera.” My soul bawled in exasperation. She did not agree; neither could she understand the inertia to her misery. She became brusquely out of touch. I could not see her anymore. All I was left with was the immeasurable darkness.

“I have no answer to your questions.”

“Be thankful that someone saved you in time or else you’d have really died.”

“I should have. This is, to me, a fate worse than death.”

“I am here to help you but I know your type. You think your lives are so miserable and society has pushed you into a corner. You don’t want to be helped. It is just as well. Your manager has already bought all of my time.”

“All my life, I’ve tried to get away from people like you. Looks like I’ll never succeed.”

“Look, I’m not trying to be your friend. I’m just trying to do my job. You can make this easier by cooperating or we can sit here all day. Like I said, your manager has bought ALL of my time.”

Bitch. There was nowhere for me to run. No matter where I went, these people, with their arrogant conventions and seemingly sensible but superficial rules, would ambush me. Their ways have no meaning. The only reason they do it is because of their self-centredness, their blind sense of hubris and the inability to see beyond themselves. They refuse to admit that their own pathetic lives are dull, pointless and without an ounce of importance. I hate these people.

“Tell me about the man you were seeing.”

“What for? You wouldn’t understand.”

“Fine. Then you’d die without having someone hear your story.”

Hesitant for a while, I decided that I really had nothing to lose since I had already come this far. So I humoured the shrink.

“Well, he was a bartender. I loved him. When I met him, I just knew. Strange as it sounds, it was as if I had known him forever and…”

“But he was married?”

“Yes, I’ll get to that part if you’d please let me finish. When I started seeing him, I didn’t know he was married. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. We were people from two different circles. I was the idealistic thinker and he, the patient listener. Yet science brought us together. Unlike poles attracting.”

The witch was stifling her laughter. I would have and probably should have struck a blow in her fucking face. But I have no more energy. It was as if a wave of lethargy tied its ropes all over my body. And honestly I could not be bothered.

“Continue. Pour your woes out to me.”

“Have you ever fallen in love, Doctor?”

I asked politely, with no intention of a romantic discussion. It was more like a desperate reflex to her outright sarcasm.

“Of course, I am married, with two children. Just two, so my husband and I could manage our busy careers, as well as the family,” she replied matter-of-factly, without much thought.

“Is marriage and love the same to you? Haven’t you ever felt so small and yet, so important in his presence? Are you aware that you could possess emotions so strong it would cast your soul from your very existence and make you think of things beyond reason? Beyond conventional explanations?

The woman deliberated; and for a while, she was deep in thought. There was a look of irritation on her countenance. She had no idea. The crazy lady had no idea but she would not admit defeat. The doctor returned and had to say a piece in defense of her civilized beings.

“Well, you can live in your own fantasies. Things like that only happen in movies. In real life, you make do. Aim high and you’ll fall hard.”

“You know, I tried to kill myself before I turned into a Clone – like you.”

Fumes were rising above her head. Hallelujah! There is an ounce of human emotion somewhere behind that shield after all. 

“Are you suggesting we all go out and date married men so that we can prove that we are different?”

Stupid woman. Never would she grasp the true magnitude of love. Too much fog was blocking her view – no wonder she cannot think clearly. Her brain is probably clogged. I sighed. Poor woman.

“I apologize to no one. Some people search for love their whole lives and can’t even claim to have had a true friend. In him, I found both. Life is so short; destiny brings people together but it didn’t guarantee a bed of roses and it shouldn’t. We are who we are. You can’t escape your fate… or Retribution. It will find you.”

My mind was at ease. Nothing disturbed me and I do sincerely believe that fate is predestined. Try to fix it; it gets worse. Civilization is just a bad excuse to resolve the things we cannot explain. By making us identical, we still would not have the answers; it just makes it more convenient not to pursue.

To the Doctor, I am just another crazy, depressed woman who should never have gone off Prozac. Along with the innumerable passers-by, I am but one of those “Anti-Establishment” types. To me, she is a Clone – hollow with a thick outer layer so nobody can see through her emptiness. Perhaps, we are all fleeting clouds with no particular purpose or meaning. Meanings have no meanings. She is insane to me; I am insane to her. How can anyone tell what is right or what is wrong?

“Let’s move on. Why did you consume the pills?”

I cannot explain. It must be Vitriol – the bitterness. I remember it now. There was no way of getting rid of it. Struggling for hours and yet, the substance still exists. Encaged within its buttresses, all I wanted was to loosen her rein. Periods of convulsion reverberated the walls of my consciousness. A suspicion arose that I had gone mad. Mad.

“I was too happy and perfect with him. The news had spread to our families and they disapproved. Everybody disapproved; they called me names – horrible words. He was strong. Wanted to go against the odds. I caved, under the stress. I shall never forgive myself for that. Eventually, my ‘decent’ half won the battle. I lost; I lost! I have become a lackey of society. Obligation conquers all.”

I had nothing else to say. My story has ended. I had tried, in vain, to end the control over me before it became totalitarian.

“I see the story has a good ending. Well, at least you can go on with your life now. Mind my words – a normal life – without the frays.”

Her detachment amazed me. Maybe the Doctor was just doing her job. We are all bound by our occupations. I was weak; in the process, I not only lost him, I lost my best friend. I lost myself. Coward.

“Well I have no such capacity left. Que sera sera – whatever will be, will be.”

The season has come.

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