“This is a full stop to my career. I can feel it. It’s over!”
“Relax! You can’t be sure about it. Let’s wait for the phone call, I’m positive you’ll get the job. I really am.”
But Mark wasn’t listening to his wife anymore. He walked back and forth in their empty living room thinking of career alternatives and secure future plans. Random series of impulses hit his brain disabling him to think logically. He had dreamt about filling up the empty spaces of their home with cosy furniture and lavish interiors one day. That would make Riana happy, yes. He felt desperate.
“We’re going to make it through all this mess. You’ll receive the call anytime now and get that job. Calm down.”
“It’s impossible to calm down now! We’ve tried everything, haven’t we? This is our only hope. This call is going to decide my life! Our life……. I need a beer.”
Ria sat on the chair beside the table and observed the love of her life reach out for beer bottles in the refrigerator. He found 2 old bottles, both empty. They’d run out of money for food supplements this week.
What had happened to their life? The cheer from the office days didn’t last long. They were now only hopeful of a better future. They’d met 2 years ago via mutual colleagues at workplace and were hitched within eight months. It was perfect back then. Ria was a receptionist at their company and Mark, a business analyst. He was sacked six months ago and struggled to survive in this unruly economy. After pulling some strings, he was now hopeful of getting his old position back at the same company. They optimistically discussed their future every night. They realized that they could face any hurdle as long as they had each other. All the cliched movies and music had started to make sense these days.
The phone rang. Mark anxiously turned towards the table.
After three minutes of “yeses”, “okays” and “nos”, he placed the phone down in disbelief. He’d got the job! He bent down and hugged Ria so hard that her rib cage almost cracked. His tears wet her dress. She curled her arms around him and they stayed still for some time. Everything was going to be alright now. They were going to have a beautiful home and a beautiful life. The boss had offered an increase in salary too. In his mind, Mark started to make special plans for the night to celebrate their new beginning when Ria’s phone beeped.
She picked up the phone and opened the message over her husband’s shoulders.
‘From: The Boss.
Job confirmation only after 9pm tonight at Hotel Le Grande, Room 301. Wear Red.’
An indefinite part of Mark’s mornings were dedicated to preparing and consuming a cup of fully oxidized black tea. The gradual diffusion of tea molecules into the hot water prepared him to be calm and relaxed the entire day. Working as a toxicologist in a laboratory, he was accustomed to the odors of a lot of compounds but it was only the aroma of chai laves that could light him up with energy. He would spend a couple of minutes to smell the fragrance arising from the cup, then blow subtle air into it and feel the warm vapors on his face. It didn’t matter to him if he was late for work, he always took some time off to have his cup of nirvana peacefully while sitting on the platform outside the kitchen’s window overlooking the street. These few minutes were the deciding factor for his state of mind through the course of the day. He refused to believe it to be a compulsive disorder. For him, tea was his daily savior.
However, March 31st was not like any other day. It was one year since his breakup with his five year-long girlfriend. Mark woke up earlier than usual and headed towards the kitchen. Everything was at it’s regular place. He picked up the kettle and waited for the water to boil while browsing through the photos of his ex on his cellphone. In one photo, they were in Hawaii on the beach lying next to each other, he held her closely against the backdrop of a valley of flowers in another image from Yellowstone, images from their grad school, a photo of him proposing to her on his knees with a wedding ring in his hand, pictures of them at various parties – all flashed across his eyes that morning.
Sitting on the platform with the tea cup in one hand, Mark gazed as the morning rays slowly spread across the street and switched off his phone. As the rays lit up the kitchen, his hands hanged loose. The tea cup fell down and broke into pieces.
Mark was lying on the floor. The box of jellyfish sample from his lab had worked.
Mrs. Murray dreams of a new residence in the last few years of her life. A new home atop the hill overlooking the ambitious mountains and plentiful streams. A new home receiving the sun’s rays prior to the entire downtown. Sitting on the porch of her new home, she wishes to stare at the birds fly into oblivion.
But alas, Mrs Murray cannot climb up the hill with amputated legs.
This is a story about two boys pursuing engineering from the same college. The first boy was not very serious about his courses and just floated through the semesters without worrying or doing anything phenomenal. He got into this college because of the close friendship between his influential father and the college principal. He was also sure of getting a job at a huge company the same way later on. The second guy struggled, got involved and strove to learn the subjects. He may have not been the brightest in the entire batch or in the top 5 percentile, but he was very much interested in the courses and was willing to take ‘that extra step’. He got admitted into the college after getting a good rank in the entrance exam. He even took extra classes to prepare for these exams. He was thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to study in a prestigious university.
So what happened to these guys? The first guy ended up in a good company using his father’s influence and got everything without having to work hard. He completed his engineering with below average scores but still bagged a six figure salary job. (after all, marks aren’t everything, right?) His life remained to be easy and smooth. The second guy ended up with a mediocre job along with a major part of the rest of the uninterested bunch. His life cycle continues the similar way – striving to succeed in work too. His life is now merely reduced to a 9 to 6 job inside a cubicle of an air conditioned room with a five figure salary.