The Final Chronicle
A blur of motion before you. A wall of sound crashing incomprehensibly on your ears. A movie flying in front of you, running too fast to catch a single syllable. Then suddenly, it crashes and all turns black.
A photo album, filled almost to bursting with family photographs, revelry and joy. You flick through page after page as they fill before you. Then suddenly, you find an incomplete page, an empty story. A teardrop falls, dappling the page.
Welcome to my family.
Mom and Dad had differences. I always knew that. Everyone did, it seemed. I found that out, over and over. Taunts in playground. Jibes in the cafeteria. All a lifetime away. I knew that Mom and Dad had differences....
What I didn’t know was that they had so many differences that they couldn’t stand living together.
It was always something small. An argument over whose duty it was to handle housework, every morning when they went to work; an argument over who had to fetch me, starting when I was three (imagine how you’d feel if it seems like your parents would rather leave you behind). I never understood why they had to fight so much. Heck, I don’t fight so much and I’m still just a kid. It seemed like I could take better care of myself than they did of me, what with their continuous fights.
I just never knew it could go so far.
I’m a smart kid. Everyone says that, whether as praise, taunt or flattery. Everyone in school says it, everyone in the neighbourhood says it. Everyone but my parents. All the smartness in the world couldn’t help me tape my parent’s relationship back together.
Like so many colossal chasms, it started out small. A squabble over whether or not to go out for dinner. How it flared into an argument about how my father feels stifled by my mother’s tendency to stay at home, I have no idea. A half-hour that repeats itself in my mind and memory and yet still makes no sense to me.
“You don’t care what I want. You never have,” she said in a shaking voice.
“I’d say the boot’s on the wrong foot,” he fired back in a vitriolic tone.
“Says the one who-”
“Stop it! Stop it both of you! I can’t stand this!” (Exit the wounded child who then runs, runs as far away from the house as possible.)
And the lights of memory fade to black.
I walk down the street now, thinking over a hundred things. As I approach the schoolyard, I see so many friends and none of them mine. No, I’ve had no friends in a while. Only people who pretend to like me then backstab me. That’s what you get for being different and smart at the same time. That’s what children, the vicious creatures they are, do to someone who has problems. I’ve been the prime object of taunts ever since the news of my parents’ breakup went global. Oh, thank you, latest “friend” of mine.
I think maybe the best thing for me, would be to disappear. Vanish into the night. Somehow, suicide has never appealed to me, even in the worst of times. Out into the night, with only a rucksack. India’s full of interesting places. I could go on a road trip. See if my parents miss me. Maybe they’ll miss me enough to try once again for my sake. Yeah, good luck with that.
Five months later
It had been three days since we left the base camp. As I trudged forward, my shoes sank into the soft snow. As I stepped forward, I wondered, perhaps for the twentieth time, why I had chosen to come here. What insight had I hoped to gain when I first made the decision, unable to breathe, tense, stifled as I felt I was in the sheltered suburb where I had lived all my life?
I reflected on the experiences I had accumulated on this trip along with the weariness in my bones and snow dusted on my shoulders. I shuddered to think of the latest of these: being trapped in a pit fall all night.
I had been walking along a mountain range when I was seized with the desire to climb higher than I had ever before. As I stepped forward, eyes on the stars, I suddenly plummeted downward, falling five feet in an instant. A flash of sound caught my ear as I slipped.
“Hello?” I called. “Is anyone there? I need help.”
A man appeared at the rim of my vision. “Very strange animal this, talking animal.”
I stared in stark disbelief. “I’m not an animal, I’m human. I fell in.”
“That’s what they all say.”
“What?” The word tore itself from my mouth as I felt weak. What lunatic had I encountered, a man who imagined talking animals? (Kindly ignore the months I spent doing that as a child.)
“They all say they’re human. Just a ploy.”
“Friend, I AM human. How can I prove it?”
“Give me some money. Animals don’t carry money.”
That would be alright, I thought. Or it would be if I had more than I needed.
“I don’t have any money,” I called back.
“There! You see, you’re an animal.”
I groaned. This was going to be a long night.
It took three hours and a hundred rupees to convince that insane man that I was human.
For half a dozen years, I’ve been keen on extreme sports. Living on the edge seemed to relieve the inner pain I was forced to conceal: the omnipresent pain of growing up in a broken family. I suppose in a way, that I am trying to feel that I am worth something, that there’s more to life than lost innocence. Perhaps a glimpse of the world from a new perspective is what I need, to revive some zest.
Companionable loneliness surrounded me as I scrabbled up another ledge, in what seems like an endless series, just burden to carry. “Why do I even bother?” I muttered, half-expecting the wall face to reply.
Its mute acceptance was sufficient, yet from somewhere an answer came, almost physically audible. I scanned the landscape again, trying to perceive more. Then I saw it, a small glimmer of light among clouds, enough to reveal a sparkling panorama, filling everything with beauty and joy. The landscape seemed to gleam, embracing my question and responding with zeal and wonder. A glistening river trickled downstream. A hawk flew north, majestically beating its strong and fierce wings as its call resounded across the land. A flash of light illuminated the new day, the herald of new hope: a sign of eternal optimism for all around. For us lonely wanderers of the night. For me.
“So this is what life is!” I whispered. “Would you believe such wonder?”
The rock face had no opinion but the sunlight seemed to twinkle at me.
One day, I was idly thinking about MNOG II. I've always loved the title "The Final Chronicle" and was wondering about what it really meant. Suddenly, the idea behind this story struck me and I began penning down the first paragraph. I later combined it with a short story I had written about a young adult hiking in the mountains, in search of a raison d'etre.
Note: Rupee is the currency of India. Rs. 100 is a little under 2 USD, but is enough to buy a meal here.
Hope you like it.
Edited by KHofBS01, Jun 25 2012 - 02:22 PM.