Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
It was a wet morning and my favorite day of the week, Friday. This was the day when I first saw Isabella about 4 years ago. Her piercing smile is still etched in my mind and there have been no Fridays ever since that she hasn’t come by and flashed her smile at me. Her lips seem to be dancing to some kind of a tune, and today once again I knew I was going to witness that mesmerizing dance. Everyday I come across a sea of people from different places, races, creeds and religions and there are some faces I forget and there are some I remember and hers was a face to remember with golden brown curls, ocean blue eyes and a perky nose, I can go on endlessly describing her.
I was lost in her thoughts and didn’t even realize when Carl came in and said “breakfast time” as he put my breakfast in order. Ah fresh fruits` I thought as I moved towards my breakfast showing my gratitude to Carl who smiled and left, closing the door behind him. After a sumptuous meal I was just wandering about when I saw the fat kid, Ryan come by with his mother. He would come by every once in a month or so and god I hated him. He never had any respect for anything and today would be no different I thought. My doubts were confirmed when he yelled and made a nasty face at me. I could swear by my life that at that instant all I wanted to do was strangle the little brat. Ryan’s mother was a total contrast to her son, a total sweetheart. She would always be a gentle soul trying to teach Ryan how to behave but all in vain. Ryan made a face just before leaving and his mother smiled and waved goodbye. I responded with the same. It was not long before I was lost in Isabella’s thoughts again.
Every Friday morning I used to get this feeling that what if Isabella didn’t turn up today, but she came, for every Friday in the last four years she made sure she came. I knew deep down in my heart that she would come but my mind never agreed with me and that’s what made the wait all the more frustrating and long. I still remember how on the third Friday last November when I was waiting for her and she didn’t turn up till dusk, she didn’t wait for long as her brother came up and said “Isabella we have to head home, its late”. That was when I became aware of her name. Since then there was so much I wanted to do, so much I wanted to say but to me she was like this totally different specie. Someone who exists for only a while and the rest of the time she is just like a dream, someone from a far away land where I can never go but only picture in the ocean of my thoughts.
I snapped out of my dream world when I heard a bunch of Japanese people arrive. They always managed to lighten me up as they were some of the nicest people anyone could come across. There was this little Japanese kid with them who seemed kind of amused as he waved and smiled. His little Asian eyes twinkling with joy. Before I could return the gesture the little boy took off like a missile. It wasn’t long before the rest of the Japanese left.
It was almost mid day now and there was still no sign of Isabella and I was growing impatient by the minute. The feeling that Isabella wont show today again took over as I grew restless and pelted a stone towards the sky. It didn’t take a lot of altitude before it landed on Nicky’s shoulders who by the way was Carl’s girl and worked with him. She turned and came towards me and said “someone’s in a bad mood, is there anything I can get you”. She was one of the few people who understood me and I was so happy for Carl as I thought they compliment each other really well. She was standing there looking at me as if wondering where my mind wandered. It wasn’t long before she had to leave as I heard Carl call her. Just as she left, the nightmare came to haunt me again and by that I mean Ryan. He is still here I thought as he walked towards me. I knew I had to stop myself from losing my temper and that he was only here for a short while and his mother will fetch him soon. He made a face, a really disgusting one. “Hey Ryan that face you are making looks better than your normal face. How about making it permanent.” Said Isabella as she walked towards us. I just stood there motionless as I saw her. Ryan turned, made another of his special faces at Isabella and fled. “He lives on my block, he is one nasty rascal” she said and waved at me. I waved back at her and she smiled, she knew instantly how happy I was to see her, like always. Usually she didn’t speak to me much but whenever she did I felt on top of the world. She would only come by and stay for a while. She was right in front of me but still the distance seemed never ending, at the back of my mind I knew that she would be gone again in a little while, back to the place where she lived. I always tried to paint the picture of that place in my mind, the place I knew as a far away land, of which I wanted to be a part of. Never did I look towards the sky without asking the almighty to let me be with her, but all to no avail.
She hanged around longer than usual that day and I just prayed that the moment should never end. But just then her brother came up and pulled her by her hand and said “Isabella lets go, mom’s waiting”. She gazed at me as our eyes locked and I felt that something was just not right. It was as if she wanted me to know something but wasn’t sure if she should really say it or not. She took a step towards me and waved and for the first time gave a smile which seemed more forced than natural. “Goodbye Johnson” was all she could say before her brother pulled her away. They walked off as I stood there looking at them. She turned once just before she was out of sight. I still couldn’t figure out as to what had happened and confused I helped myself to a drink of water; happy all the same as I had just met her. After dinner I tried to force myself to sleep but Isabella’s thoughts flooded my mind. This was more like a routine. I am not really sure as to how long it took me to sleep that night.
Next morning I got up a little later than usual thinking that I have only 6 days to go before I see Isabella again. Saturday morning always brought a smile to Carl’s face as he knew he could spend the entire Saturday evening and Sunday with Nicky. He fixed me a grand breakfast and said “see you on Monday John”. I lazed around for a while before I got up and walked around for sometime. Friday was the only day I lived for and unlike Monday, Saturday was the worst day of the week for me. There were quite a lot of people around as it was the weekend but nothing seemed interesting. Everyone was having a nice time as I saw kids running around and couples holding hands and aged people strolling around enjoying the sunny day that it was. They didn’t seem to have a worry in the world and all they cared about was to have a great time as most of them were way past their working age. The day seemed to drag but finally it was over and so were the next 5 until it was Thursday evening again, and I got ready to sleep knowing what day it was tomorrow.
I rubbed my eyes as I opened them to a beautiful Friday morning preparing myself for my rendezvous with the person who I saw every time I closed my eyes and wanted to be with every time I opened them.
Morning turned into afternoon and afternoon turned into evening and there was no sign of Isabella. I looked at my 5’o clock shadow and glanced at the sun which was on its way down the horizon. I prayed to him to wait a little longer but then my prayers never come true. Soon it was dark as night took its toll. There were not many people around and the number only decreased and still no hint of Isabella. Where was she? Why didn’t she come? Is she alright? Thousands of different thoughts struck me at the same time, but there was little I could do. I had never felt so helpless and low in my entire life. There was no way of knowing why she didn’t come by for the first time in 4 long years. I was sad and there was no one to share it with and I wished the best for Isabella as I tried to put myself to sleep.
It has been three weeks now since she had come by and Carl was really worried as he could notice the change in my attitude over the past few days. Joy was something I could not relate to anymore and Isabella was the only thing I could think of day in and day out. Today was Friday again and I had but little hope of seeing Isabella. Right from morning I sat like a statue scanning the crowd for Isabella. I searched and searched in the sea of people but it was as if it was not meant to be. My heart just didn’t know when to give up and eyes didn’t know when to stop searching. Just then I spotted Ryan coming towards me. This was the last thing I wanted as I was already down and out. But there was no stopping Ryan. It was as if he knew I hated him and that gave him some immense joy as he stood there making one of his many weird faces. “Who is going to save you today?” he said. “Even Isabella has left the city as her family has moved away to Sydney”. Those words speared my eardrums as I stood there trying to absorb what Ryan had just said. Isabella was gone I thought as my knees grew weak. I realized why she had a forced smile on her face when I saw her last.
I didn’t notice the face Ryan made as I turned away from him and sat down lost in my thoughts. I was furious at God because he knew there was no way I could be with her but now I couldn’t even see her. For me she was always this girl from a place I didn’t know anything about, a place I called the far away land, where I just didn’t belong, I just didn’t fit and I just couldn’t go to. Dreaming was the closest I could get to that place. What made me feel worse was that now she was further away. I was heart broken.
Suddenly I heard a large thud as Ryan knocked down the signboard in front of my enclosure just as Carl chased him away and fixed the signboard which read…… “Please do not feed, tease or irritate the monkey. Canberra City Zoo Management.”
WRITTEN BY HARJINDER SINGH RAI