He always felt that he saw things in a different light, not that he sees things period. He thought it was insight, not Schizophrenia. He always pitied people who were crazy. Thought they should all be killed off with the disabled and elderly. No room in this world for the weak. It’s a dog-eat dog world, a pond where the big fish feed on the little fish, and this tiny realization has just put him at the bottom of the feeding chain.
Nobody must know.
He must always be composed, to be reliable, reserved to make less mistakes, and wise to give people the guidance they need. He wanted to create a smoke screen, so that people don’t see into him..and realize he is what he used to call a loony.
He realized that seeing things that aren’t really there doesn’t confuse him, it makes things clearer, that he doesn’t need pity, rather than he should be an example. For even if as a regular person he is merely mediocre ( which is not the case with him) he had more to deal with. He has achieved more. He covers the same ground the next regular fellow does but with greater effort. If he has reached where he is today with this secret disability, this means he has far greater potential than what we see on the surface.
When Mr. Adham pops up, it doesn’t confuse him. He doesn’t spend all his time wondering whether when he meets you if you are real or just a product of his very overactive and creative mind, that would be downright distracting, he merely understands something his mind is trying to tell him, since even the mind presents the unreasonable and the illogical with complete reason and logic. A paternal figure appearing in reality like Mr. Adham is nothing more than his mind telling him, he lacks guidance, and trust. It tells him how much he hates his father, his older brother, his Boss, teachers and his President.
As the new reality of things was tinting his new shades of perception, he trodded down the street to his car, smoking a cigarette, jawbreaker in mouth. He spotted a lovely girl heading into a supermarket, he recognized her from the crowd he sees all the time, she seemed so out of place he wondered if she was again a mind trick until he saw her interacting with the store clerk. She grabbed a pack of Jawbreakers, sour cinnamon flavoured. She ripped the pack open and tossed one into her mouth as she left the store. There he stood, on the other side of the glass door, The impeccably dressed man of her dreams with a Jawbreaker in his mouth. All she could do is smile and laugh, hoping he would make a move.
He arrived at the place early, he had agreed to meet Christmas and Thomas Jones at Jacko’s at nine, they would try to make the best of showing up early by going in without a reservation. He left a good impression at the door with the bouncer due to his mannerism and commendable attire.
Jacko’s was a new friendly vibed bar at The Emperor
Christmas and Thomas came on time, Riad was seated at the bar in his coat, scarf was rolled up on the bar beside him. His back was facing the rest of the place. He was smoking a cigarette and nestling what seems to be a low balled glass full of whiskey and two half melted ice-cubes. He didn’t apologize for starting without them although they weren’t late. He had too much on his mind to be apologetic. Although he never wanted anyone to give him the extra care, He needed the world to accommodate him right now.
Later that night when the place started filling up, he started seeing more and more familiar faces. Real faces not ones his mind came up with. He always was a confident person and thrived on big crowds. He just felt like wanting to be recluse. Not out of fear, rather than comfort, but his confidence was a lot more than usual. He felt that he is perceiving on a far more superior level. So anyone or anything going on at the place was automatically inferior.
Jinx joined them close to the end, she had a lot of work to do, It was already past midnight and almost everyone was too merrily drunk to sharply scrutinize. It was a Sunday and hence Karaoke Night.
They sang four songs..
He hadn’t had that much fun in a long time.
He finally felt that he can reach security he longed for…not in a person, he was always looking in the wrong place. It was security from within himself that he was searching for, and it was right under his nose.
Look around you Riad, are these the people you always wanted to be like? Didn’t you start drinking to fit in with them? Didn’t you start doing drugs? Seducing their women? Just to try to convince yourself you are better…you fooled everyone, and congrats you are now the social legend you always dreamed of becoming, you never sought their acceptance. You sought your own acceptance, you wanted to sleep at night content with who and what you are, Not what they perceive you to be.
* * *
A few weeks later, she was at a wedding, in a White Knee length dress. Her friends and stylish mother all told her not to wear white to a wedding out of fear of overshadowing the bride, even if the bride is prettier it is still considered rude, Sally however takes no precaution to anyone’s favor. She stood in a not so secluded corner by a high table among a few good acquaintances, some were single, some came as a couple, some came without their better halves, She met Jawbreaker there and couldn’t believe her eyes. When he was clearly approaching her, she almost fainted.
He stood in front of her and reciprocated the smile she gave him in front of the store a few weeks back. She gladly asked him “Sour Cinnamon?”
“Strawberry” he replied…