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Monday, August 15, 2011

The bittersweet night

    I had not been down this beach in what seems like ages. The setting sun, sandy beach and the waves as they lap up against the feet always seemed to mesmerize me. Pulling up a beach chair, my eyes start to wander down the beach and see that life is in full swing. Children building sand castles, pretty young things tanning themselves and an odd couple or two walking down the beach whispering sweet nothing to all that were willing to hear their secret enlightening messages. Time seemed to float by at its own pace as the sun lazily made its way across the clear blue sky. Packing my stuff, I dropped off the chair and umbrella at the drop point and started to wander off to the lone building to satiate my hunger. The lingering smell of perfume and cologne mixed with the heavy smoke greeted me as I entered my long forgotten hunting ground. Time had flown by, yet it seemed to have stood still in this place. The juke box near the entrance was still there pumping out some long forgotten Willy Nelson song, an empty stage once full seemed to cry out for attention while the bar at the other end seemed as lively as ever. The burly bartender who was once young and now old and balding still seemed to the only permanent structure besides the other items and his eyes seemed to light up seeing me. Pulling up a stool, my hands reached out as a tall frosty slid comfortably into my hands.

    Time seemed to flow by slowly and I had lost track of time. It was almost closing time when I heard a voice as soft as s yet as silk yet as sharp as the sharpest knife reminding me its closing time. Turning my head around, I saw a sight that seemed to mesmerize me and kept me under its spell till a booming laughter startled me. A chiding voice asked me if I didn’t recognize her whom I had last seen many moons back. The deep blackness of the eyes hypnotized me and drew me in like a moth to a lone street lamp. As I started to tumble into those depthless eyes, I realized time had indeed flown by and the young lady which I had left behind in pursuit of other adventures had transformed into a young lady which I simply could not recognize.

    I had known Jane since childhood, yet she was always the type that kept to herself and mingled only when she wanted to. Today was one of those days which reminded me of my childhood days when the fireside talks and camping trips used to last from dusk to the break of dawn when she suddenly used to disappear without a word. Once in awhile, I used to see a stark fear in her eyes as she used to break free of my hold and disappear into the night not to be seen again till dusk. Not a word used to be said and I let it be as her soft silky voice and hypnotizing eyes used to melt my heart. Time flew by as the food was finished, drinks ordered and drained to the last drops and the food joint emptied out till there was no soul in sight yet it seemed like we had not caught up on our lost lives. The joint slowly started to shut down and we were forced to seek refuge upstairs to seek other adventures.

    The dreamless sleep in which I was lost in was shattered by the radio alarm which blared out some song as the faceless man moaned about the changing weather patterns and sudden storm which might hit the town in the night. The constant chatter of the radio jockey started to push the bone deep sleep ever so slowly away. He talked just about everything under the sun and I really seemed to enjoy the monologue which consisted of how awful the weather was, the food joints, who bashed whom last night at the bar and how much the town had changed in the last ten years.

    Still half asleep, I started to mumble Jane’s name and started to extend my arm to drag her a little closer. An empty bed, wrinkled bed sheet, the smell of perfume and cologne hung heavy in the air, an empty pillow yet no warm body. My hand started frantically run back and forth as my mind became agitated and sleep lost its hold on me. The sound of a tugboat while blaring out its whistle drew me out the dark thoughts I was floating in. I slowly came to the senses like a snake waking up from deep sleep. The bone deep weariness fell off me and I slowly started to felt refreshed. The sounds of men and heavy machinery were heard humming by below and another lonesome ships horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding me how far from home I was.

    Waking up from a deep sleep, I got out of the bed. My body was stiff and muscles sore from the events of last night. Looking at the empty bed, I called out Jane’s name out loud yet the empty house just echoed back. The room was once more as empty as it was the day before. Throwing the bed sheet off, I sat on the edge and wondered what happened and what my next course of action will be. The old clock hanging on the wall down in the hallway boomed as the hand struck ten. It startled me out of the deep thought I was in and I only realized this by the fact that the alarm clock radio had stopped playing the same old songs I had heard for the last many years and the lights were shut off except for the place where we were lying on bed. The clothes were scattered all over the room. The little diversion had turned minutes into hours. The bed sheets were soaked and I hunted for a new set before the maid came in the morning to chide us for making such a mess. I turned my head to look out the window. Rubbing my face to drive away the weariness, I started to massage my neck and the bittersweet memories flooded back into my mind. A tinge of sadness at the loss of my humanity and the promise of immortality made me wonder why I agreed and I realized that I was ready to give it all up for the lady I loved. I saw that there it was partly cloudy sky; a full moon seemed to look down at the land as if looking for something. The star lit night made me wonder what my future holds.

    The memories still seemed to haunt me as I had asked her “You still awake?” as I had ran my fingers down her bare arm. Taking a deep breath, she shook her head she mumbled in the negative. Not able to find neither my pants nor shirt, I walked around the bed to stretch my legs hoping that the curtains were drawn and hoped to find my way back home before I fell asleep here. Looking out the door, I saw that the street lights showed empty streets and the town seemed deserted except for the few drunks who weaved through the roads and the sounds stray dogs that were busy chasing a few cars that passed through the town main intersection lulled me off to sleep once more.

    Time flew by and I finally regained consciousness as I rose from the well of darkness and into this plane of existence. The sensory overload was painful as I grabbed my head and moaned. The scent of humans with their blood pumping through their veins was fueling my hunger and I felt like a rabid dog. Pulling the curtain aside to take a morning view, I saw the sun was just peeking over the horizon and the passing landscape was covered in a fine mist and the sun bathed it in an orange light which slowly turned into yellow. Pulling the heavy curtains shut as quickly as possible, I suppressed the painful scream that was rising from my throat. Tilting my hat back and wiping the day old sweat off my brow, I looked down into the valley through the open crack between the window and curtain and saw a dust cloud swirling crazily and throwing debris all over. Looking at the meandering river which flowed next to the window, the river looked so cool, refreshing and it seemed to call me out. I wanted to hop off and walk barefoot on the green grass and slip into the river to drive away the coiled up stress. Rivers always had a free and untamed look to it and it always seemed to hold me under a spell whenever I ventured near.

    Feeling a little sore, I stood up and started to wander down the aisle to break the monotony. I eventually found myself in the kitchen where I grabbed the coffee jar and poured some into my mug to banish the cobwebs from my mind and to see if I can pick up the threads of the dreams I was having once more.

    I finished of the last remnants of the food and gulped down the coffee before it got warm. I found my way to the small cubicle which they called the restroom and took a moment which seemed like an eternity to wash off all the dust, grime and sweat off me. The weariness fell off me and I felt refreshed. Looking at the mirror while the water dripped off my head and face made me realize where once stood a young man now I saw a white haired wrinkled man who had the haunted look in his eyes. I sat awhile by the heavily draped window and smoked the remaining part of my cigar. As if sensing something, I felt drawn to the door leading down to the basement. Turning the brass knob, I started to venture into the darkness, yet could see and sense all. Reaching my hand out, I shook the shoulder of the figure that was rolled into a ball and deep asleep. Head snapped up, a feral growl let out as the jaws seemed to quickly descend towards me yet stopped as recognition dawned upon Jane. As I sunk into a sleep of forgetfulness to wait for the darkness to return, the sounds of long haul trucks were heard humming nearby and a lonesome train horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding me how far from home I was.