Inch by inch

I’ve been gazing out the window all night. There was nothing that could disturb me, not even the patron of sleep itself. My friends and I were to go to the winter fair the next day. I was too excited to listen to my body screaming for rest. No way my friend. Not when I’m riding my train of thought.

It’s been snowing hard all night in my little mountain town. In any other home, the next morning, you’d the see the man of the house in a fit of rage. “The snow is going to make me late for work!”, he’d complain. Not in my house though.

Father doesn’t work.

Father left his job several years ago and became an alcoholic. More aptly said, he was fired. They deemed him incompetent. How much effort does it take to wash dishes anyway, I’ve always asked myself. Maybe when I’m old enough to work, I’ll continue the task my father used to do. Mom will be really happy if I buy her new clothes.

The crystal flakes piled up ever so slowly. Wonder why they don’t have the slightest bit of resemblance to the flowery shapes they normally depict on television. At least it was shown that way the few times I’ve seen them on my friends’ television sets. I don’t have one at home, of course. Mom tells me we had to exchange the one we had a long time ago for food coupons. She misses it deeply.

Sleep stabs me in the back. I have a nightmare about the grim reaper chasing me.

I startle to the sound of some boys screaming my name. Darn. I fell asleep too late, and didn’t realise it’s already time for us to leave for the fair. I apologise to them.

“Get your poor ass up man! We’ll miss any first participant prizes!”, the impolite one said. My other friends were quick to snub him for that comment. I didn’t mind though in any case. They were my friends after all.

I freshened up quickly, and slipped into my favourite winter coat. It’s an old one, in my favourite colour, orange. Actually, it’s the other way around. It’s my favourite colour because of the coat itself.

We left my home soon, dragging ourselves across the snowy pavement. My friends were talking about their favourite TV show, and how their mothers didn’t appreciate them watching it. Vulgar comedy, they’d protest. We laughed our way to the fair.

The guys wanted to try the rollercoaster ride. I wasn’t too keen on it. Not because I was afraid, most certainly not. I didn’t have any more money with me than to buy a pretzel. My friends hopped on for the ride. I didn’t want to look like a loser. I hated that. Not that I was to blame for this. Luckily, the ticket collector realised my situation. With a smile, he told me that the ride’s on him. Robbed of my humility, I stepped into the only free coach. Murphy decided that it should be the leading car, and it be empty, that I have no ears to my side that could hear my screams. My friends were right behind me. I hoped that I give them an entertaining view. The ride ensues, and we make the tortorously slow ascent to the peak of the hill.

The descent begins.

Maybe I should have stayed out of this, or at least tried to lie that I was scared back there. Pride can take you into the worst of situations at times. But the thrill of danger tickled me, I could feel my fear being blanketed by the adrenaline rush. But a voice told me I wasn’t going to make it. It was the same voice that would never lie to me. Maybe it was God, who I prayed to everyday. God never lied to me. The father in our church said that God loved the poor, so it was only natural that He be honest with me.

The ride becomes uneasy. I feel my carriage shaking more than it is supposed to, at least in my opinion. The first loop begins. What I saw next, convinced me that the voice in my head was saying the truth.

There weren’t any carriages behind mine.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the rest of the train back at the peak of the hill. My carriage wasn’t supposed to go down so early. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. I could see people below running around. Random as it was, it clearly etched out the word ‘panic’ in my eyes.

The wheels slipped. I couldn’t tell whether it was weightlessness or just my soul preparing itself to leave, during the penultimate moment. I was upside down. The ride’s motor down below moving closer and closer to my face. Time nearly froze in that last second. The pain was excruciatingly slow.

I felt bad that I wouldn’t make my mother happy. But I was happy now that she had more food coupons for herself now. A light shone brightly in my face. Death was so predictable. My soul slowly left its grip of my body, and I had a clean view of myself now. I love the colour orange. And just then, I felt the resonance of my friends screaming from the top of the summit:

“Oh my God! They killed Kenny!”… “You bastards!”

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4 thoughts on “Inch by inch

    1. Lalith Suresh

      Well, I used to write stories as a kid, but none of them ever came out in public. 🙂 Maybe I’ve got a little bit of that left in me I guess. 🙂

      Reply

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