Friday, March 19, 2010

Not how long we live, but how long we love

Dear Unvarying Reader,
I have written some stories and quite many thoughts on these pages. I can't at all term this one specific reader as my fan, and she many a times hates what I write, or doesn't approve of it. With regards to stories and thoughts, I had received views that my writings are absurd, wierd or dark or about the occult. Well, we are all here to do what we are all here to do. I am built that way, and always write what comes naturally to me.
But this reader is important to me and Theseus. The reader many a times expressed that she likes to read stuff with a happy ending and a kind of a nice love story - in simple language. I thought I should get out of my normal mode of writing whatever I write and try a hand at this. It was a challenge for me as a writer and I enjoyed writing this a little more than my other pieces - as I love to challenge myself. 
So here it is my dear reader... my first work on something which is not my true style. Hope I have succeeded in my smalltime quest. And let me know what else would you like to read... from this dark writer.

It was 7 AM. Melissa climbed down the flight of stairs from her house to the pavement and unlocked her bicycle. The road was wet from the shower the previous night and as she rode it down the street, she could see the squirrels playing on a tree, as though dancing. The leaves rustled in the cool monsoon wind and made a rhythmic kind of sound. The moist air around was resonant of the sweet smell of earth.
Though the surroundings and weather were something which would even make a lackluster kind of person sing in a melodious tune, Mel was unresponsive to all of this. It was very reasonable for her to be that way, because of what she had gone through recently. A heartbreak. Her boyfriend had cheated on her. She had cried for long, and had had nightmares and also light effects of insomnia. Hurt by the incident – but she hadn’t turned bitter. She thought all the people were not the same and something within her made her believe that the good in the world was not lost. Since a few days, her thoughts mostly swayed to the horrible incidents which hurt her, but she tried her best to keep herself occupied with studies and maintaining and adding new gadgets to her aquarium at home. She loved flowers, but since long, the flower vase was empty.
Lost in her soft but hurtful thoughts, as she was going through a cross-road, a car appeared from the left and she lost temporary momentum of hitting the brakes and lost her balance, her heart started beating like bullets fired from a war gun. She closed her eyes. At that spilt second, she felt pushed along with her bicycle and felt the arms of a man touching her shoulders as she felt levitated in the air.
She opened her eyes with surprise and saw a man, a little more than 6 feet tall and little over the age of forty, she presumed.
“Be careful next time kid. Where were you lost?” he said, as he helped her to the side on the pavement. He had lifted the bicycle and moved it from the way of the speeding vehicle.
Mel’s legs were rubbery, as she was aware she nearly escaped a very ghastly accident.
Though she didn’t understand what to say, she had to say something. The man had just saved her.
“Thank you mister,” she said, her voice still shivering.
“It’s ok kid, you be careful hence,” he said as he saw her.
“Yes, I will. Thanks once again,” Mel said, and she pedaled her way forward.

As she reached her college, riding all the way cautiously and more aware of the road, her feet were now stable.
“Hey Mel, how are you today?” Gillian said. Gillian had been her friend since grade school.
“Fine, fine. Just escaped something nasty on the way, but there was a kind man who saved me,” she said as she locked her bicycle on the stand.
“Oh, we shall talk about that later. Men haven’t been kind to you girl, so you can stop using the word ‘kind’. You alright now? It’s time for math”, Gillian said as her feet hurried towards the corridors.
“Oh yeah, the dreaded math. I will flunk this time I guess. Numbers are just not my thing.” She said as she explored her bag for the books.
As they walked into the class, and the lecture began, Mel just kept thinking about the exams which were up next week.
Following the lecture, while all her friends were fooling around , pulling each other’s leg, figuratively, Mel sat down on the park bench, flipping pages of her math book, and all the math formulae and numbers made her feel she is dyslexic. She was worried. She knew she could not afford to not be up to snuff this time with math.
“Seems like you are thick with numbers huh”, a girl sitting on the same bench said. She had long hair, blue eyes and looked confident and mature.
“Yeah, my grey cells seem to hate math. Just doesn’t make peace with me no matter how hard I try.” Mel said, somewhat disgusted and wondering why this stranger is interested.
“Well, I can help you out you know. If you want, that is.” The stranger said, in a tone which was very assuring.
“Well, thanks. But why would you help me out with this?” Mel asked, confused.
“There are no reasons for helping anyone in need, is there?” The girl said, getting closer to Mel.
“Ok. Thanks again. By the way, I am Melissa. My friends call me Mel. And you are?” Mel led out her hand for a shake, and her trust in this stranger was confusing her now.
The stranger shook her hand with a smile which made Mel feel right as rain. “Janet. So shall we meet here tomorrow, post your college is done?”
“Yeh. Sure. Thanks. And do you study here? I haven’t seen you here before.” Mel asked as she got up from the bench.
“Oh well, I am a new student here from overseas. New Orleans. Don’t forget to get your calculator tomorrow.” Janet said, still seated, and smiled.
Mel, went to her bicycle and while she was unlocking it, she found the most red rose she had ever seen on the seat. She looked around but saw no one. As she picked it up, she saw on a petal, it was written ‘I Love You’.
She looked around once again, and was a little disturbed. She just hoped it was not a psycho who was stalking her. But she didn’t face anything like this since days, and nothing seemed suspicious. She plucked the petal and took the flower, and rode home.
She placed the flower in the empty vase on her window sill, and filled it with sufficient water.

The next day, she went to college, attended her lectures and met Janet as scheduled. Janet was brilliant. She taught Mel all the basics and the formulae with many a pneumonic so well, that Mel felt confident. After bidding goodbye to Janet for the day, though she didn’t express it, Mel felt very grateful to Janet. Six days for the exams and Mel was already feeling confident.
As she went back to her bicycle, the flower was there again, with the written petal. Somehow, she didn’t feel unsafe, and she once again plucked the petal and took the rose. On her way back, she was in a mindset of mystery. Maybe it was some of her friends playing a prank on her.
For two consecutive days Janet taught Mel the tricks of mathematics and calculus. And both the days she found the rose on her bicycle seat, with the petal.
The evening she returned home, Mel felt uneasy. She got a terrible pain in her head and in her stomach. She was rushed to the hospital by her parents. The pain was excruciating and the doctors gave a morphine injection to soothe her, but that was not helping her much.
In the hour after midnight, a doctor walked in. Mel was awake from the pain. He looked at her reports and came and sat on the chair beside her bed.
“I know you’re in pain.” He said.
“I am here for long now, and I will miss my exams. I will lose a year, and my parents don’t have enough funds to waste on my tuitions fees for another year right now.” Mel said, as a tear rolled down her eye, partly because of the pain, partly because of the worry.
“Don’t worry, you will be alright, and you won’t waste a year at all.” The elderly doctor said, as he touched her forehead. Mel immediately went into a slumber.
The next morning, she got up and felt as fresh as a blooming bud with dew on it. A doctor walked in with her parents – the doctor who had administered the morphine – and smiled at her.
“You have been saved by a miracle. You had a bad liver, and we were expecting you to get into a coma in the night. But somehow, all your reports are fine now. Your tests have come out clean as of 8 AM this morning. This is a nothing but a marvel. You can leave for home in sometime.” The doctor said, as he left the room.
Her parents hugged her.
As she was leaving, she wanted to meet the doctor who visited her in the night. She asked the head nurse about him, and the head nurse gave a look as if she had seen an UFO.
“There is no doctor in our panel who looks like that.” The nurse said. “Anyways, it is almost lunch time now, and you can check in this directory. It has details of all our doctors affiliated with us.”
Mel flipped through the pages, but didn’t find the old doctor’s profile anywhere.
Mel was surprised and awed. Who was he anyways?
Mel was advised rest for some days, and those days she stayed at home and studied math the way Janet taught her to. She wanted to give her exams and clear. She couldn’t afford to financially burden her parents anymore.

Each morning as she went out on her porch, the flower was there on the seat of her bicycle, with the petal, and Mel was now getting worried and surprised and felt nice at the same time. No one was stalking her and now her curiosity was increasing as to who is this silent admirer – and the one who claims that he or she loves her. For three days as she picked up the flower from her bicycle stationed on her porch, she placed the flowers in the vase which was now almost full. The most astonishing thing was, the roses never wilted. She felt some affirmative electricity around her which she couldn’t just explain and she chose not to think of it much.
The day of the exam arrived, and Mel felt confident. She had studied well, thanks to Janet. The test finished and Mel came out of the class, much to her dismay to see Gillian’s face stressed.
“Hey Gillian, what happened? How was your test.” Mel asked, concerned.
“I think I will just scrape through. It was the toughest paper in years. Mel, don’t be disheartened. I will help you cope the next time. Will teach you so you clear next time. I feel so sorry.” Gillian said as they walked towards the exit of the corridor.
“Hmm. Well. Gillian, infact my test was great. I think I will score at a 90.” Mel said, and Gillian stopped.
“What? Well, I mean… that’s great. But how comes? You dreaded this subject.” Gillian said, looking confused.
“I met Janet. She is a senior student from New Orleans. She met me at the park bench and taught me math, for a brief period. And it helped me. A lot.” Mel responded, then continued after a pause, “Actually, I should try and get her number and thank her. You carry on Gillian, I will visit the office and get her number, so I can call and thank her.”
Gillian and Mel hugged each other and departed.
Mel walked over to the office and inquired about Janet. The office replied that there was no student by that name which ever took an admission in this college. Mel was now perplexed, dazed.
Once again, on her bicycle, she saw the rose. This time she didn’t pluck the petal, and took it home – though on her way, she passed by the park. Janet was not there.
Nathan looked down upon the city from a height of the empire state building at 2 AM. As he closed his eyes, he could hear millions of voices. Thoughts of people swarmed his ears and he could hear them one minute at a time. From beautiful to ugly to outrageous.
“I can see you’re giving too much attention to a human. Your mind is crowded by her thoughts.,” Aurelius said.
Nathan got a start. “Father, I didn’t hear you coming.”
“I can read you Nathan. The most important principle we follow is not to get attached to any mortal. We are just here to answer our calling, and that is to save as many good souls from the trials and sorrows as possible, from the effects of Lucifer and the other evils which these mortals have created for themselves.” Aurelius said in a deep tone.
“I love her father. I have helped countless mortals since hundreds of years, but Melissa is different. She has no corruption in her mind, and her ways, her thoughts just make me want to be with her. It is something I have never felt before. I want to show myself to her. Talk to her as myself.” Nathan said, as he sighed.
“Do you even know the price of this Nathan? If you chose to show your true self to her, it means you will have to turn into a mortal. You will lose most of your powers. You will be imprisoned in a body. A fragile human body.” Aurelius said, his voice getting louder, and angrier. Nathan had been his only son.
“I love her father. And I am going to be with her tomorrow. Humans have such a beautiful institution of marriage. I want to marry her.” Nathan said, a little sternly.
“Mortals – though many of them are honourable – have to face other mortals who are evil. Many of them bleed. They suffer. They cry. They die. What is it worth? If you be with her, will you be able to help her the way you can with your powers now? Human life is unpredictable, dangerous. What if she dies? What if you die?” The voice of Aurelius now grew thunderous, with a tear wanting to roll out of his eye.
“We cannot prevent all evils father. Like I could not prevent her heartbreak. We are too limited of our powers. We are not omnipotent. But love makes all things possible and worthwhile. Even in trials and sorrows, love binds. Even if we die prematurely, I believe it is not how long anyone lives, but how long anyone loves that makes a human’s life worthwhile.” Nathan said.
“Well Nathan, I can read that your thoughts are unalterable, and you will do this despite you have my consent, or not.” Aurelius said, bowing his head.
“You can come and see me anytime father. I regret I cannot come and see you. I can only think of you.” Nathan said as he extended his arms to hug Aurelius – one last time.
“Think of me, and I shall be there. I cannot be biased and look upon you all the time, but I will be there when you think of me. Godspeed, my son” Aurelius said as he hugged his son.

After a week or so, as Mel rode out to the local departmental store, she was missing the flowers. The day of her exam was the last day she had found a rose. The roses were still blooming in her vase, and the enigma around it never left her mind.

As she left the store after completing her chores, the rose was once again seen on the seat of her bicycle. She saw a boy, nineteen to twenty-one years old, fair, with golden brown short hair and green eyes, looking at her. Mel now knew at once it must be him who left the roses all this while.
“So it was you, who left all these roses all this while for me,” she said as she picked it up. This time there was no petal with anything written on it. She didn’t mention anything about it.
“I love you Melissa, and I have been watching over you since many years. I am sorry for all wrong that happened to you. I just couldn’t prevent it. For it was based on your free will. I could only help you when your inner will wanted something.” Nathan said, as he came closer.
“I don’t even know you. Who are you? And how do you know my name?” Mel said, bedazzled. His other words partly were processed by her, and partly were unheard.
“I know. But you will. I am Nathan, and I live not far from your place. Shall we walk?” Nathan asked.
Mel didn’t respond and started walking with her bicycle alongside. She didn’t know what to say to him, and he spoke nothing. He occasionally looked at her and smiled. She tried her best from reciprocating to this.
Nathan raised his head and said, “The earth smells pleasant after some nice rain, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah it does,” Mel said as she looked at him and let out a faint smile.
She had many questions in her mind. Who is he? Why does he like me? Could I trust him? What is he like? Where did Janet disappear?

As they came across a crossroad, she was still lost in her thoughts. Nathan held the bicycle and stopped it. “You need to get out of this habit of wandering in your thoughts while crossing the street. Eight days back, it almost got you killed. Can you be a little more careful about yourself, please?” he said.
Mel couldn’t help but feel faintly in a fairytale. She was totally speechless the whole way, but something told her that everything was going all right.
As they approached her home, Nathan stopped and spoke to her.
“I know you have many questions. I am going to answer all of them. Can we meet for coffee in the evening at seven?”
“Yes.” Mel said.
Nathan left and walked half a block.
Just then, he turned and looked back. Mel was still standing at her door. He smiled. She smiled back at him.


  1. I really apprecaite your efforts, especially so, since this is anti your system.

    This story reminds me of superman who gives up his powers and leaves Krypton to be with his dame.

    But that supernatural element is always there!!

    Your Dear Reader

  2. Brilliant. This was a great read...different from your earlier stories like The Letter, 3 AM, Love at First Sight, The Obvious, etc. I believe you can write anything you put your mind to.. hungry for more.


  3. huh? my comment appeared and disappeared? now this blog software is with inconsistencies? :) Marcus, what you wrote was great. I liked the story. despite I like what u write (ur actual natural story telling skills), this one will suit the masses I guess. but i know u dont write for the masses - the mortals. still a good piece.. and btw, who is this 'dear reader' for who u changed ur writing style, though u succeeded in ur attempt with flying colors. ur gonna be a bomb in the future of literature and this fan believes in this completely.

  4. G8... this is really very nice, I really like reading all ur thoughts especially "quotes".This s sumthing remarkable