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Writings > Short Story > Autobiography

Shiver

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My father was a great entrepreneur. When I was a small child, there were many things that I didn’t understand about the world. Now that I am older I came to figure that, usually stuff that comes easily are normally things we take for granted. I started realizing that when the cycle of life started revealing itself to me.

 

I began losing things one after another, a few of which I cherished more than the other. But the great thing is I always got replacements. I remember talking to a friend of mine who at that time was having an unusually bad time with life, compared to mine. He wasn’t able to do many things, from gaining knowledge to procuring a normal job because of a certain handicap that stayed with him.

 

“You don’t know how lucky you are.” That was one of Ahmad’s infamous line that I learned to despise more and more, exponentially. I on the other hand was leading a normal life, just like everyone else in the neighborhood. Ahmad should’ve gone to live in areas that befitted his position but his dad didn’t want to. He believed that the surrounding one grew up in would make him the man he is tomorrow.

 

I told my dad about Ahmad, My dad said to me that it was the parents’ fault if a child is not able to do the things that they were supposed to. He also said that, “but if you really want to blame someone then you should blame God. That is if you can do so.” After saying that he looked at me like he had said something he shouldn’t. “Forget about what I just said.” With that he walked away leaving me alone standing in the hall.

 

A few years had passed and I just completed my degree in a government university. Ahmad congratulated me and once again said, “You don’t know how lucky you are.” As if I wanted to hear him say that!! I should’ve known he’d say something that would turn my mood foul. And it did tick me off, “What do you mean?” I asked. “Do you have any idea how hard I worked for this? I did this on my own without anyone’s help” I almost shrieked at him. “I don’t know what your problem is man, you’re probably just not trying harder. Everyone’s got problems… deal with yours and don’t be envious at people’s successes man.” Ahmad looked taken aback but he nodded his head as if trying to say that he understood. “Maybe you are right Ali.” I knew he didn’t meant what he said. But I didn’t want to spoil my special day, so I too walked away.

 

More years passed, I was now the director at one of my dad’s company. Ahmad my useless friend who didn’t try hard enough in life worked in my company. Surely I was the one who gave him the job that he is thankful for, I figure. No one else would give him a job. He always said that it was the problem he was facing that unabled him to do the many things he wanted in life, especially education. And I think he started to hate people for that, saying that it wasn’t fair how some people get treated.

 

During this time, we were both adults and had our own lives. At least I did. Ahmad still lives with his dad, in the same old house. We didn’t talk as much with each other these days. I guess he finally realized his place in the world. Remember this; whenever anyone says that everyone is equal, you better know that they are just blabbering nonsensical bullshit, they’re being deceitful to appear good. People are not born equal, period.

 

One day when I was in the office and had read this Internet survey on which super heroes were the most realistic…the most favorite of all, I picked mine and as expected the majority voted the same too. Right at that moment through the slightly opened gap of my door, I saw Ahmad walking past my office and for old time’s sake, decided to talk to him for a bit. I called my secretary and asked for him. He walked in; he looked just as poor and ugly as he did when he was younger. I snickered at that thought.

 

 I invited him to sit. I didn’t know what to talk to him, I guess I forgot that I cared a little. I remembered that when we were growing up we used to talk about our favorite superheroes. So I told him about the survey on the web. Ahmad who was looking a little interested was keenly listening to my explanation. “Who do you think, got picked as the favorite hero of all time?” I asked. And before he could say anything I added, “Who else if not my favorite hero of all time, “Bruce Wayne!” I said proudly. “Bruce Wayne! He is strong, powerful and filthy rich. What more can one ask for?” I told him certain with my judgment.

 

His frame and his eyes were deep and gloomy and I can tell that he was as bitter as he used to be. It was pathetic, looking at him. I can’t believe that I grew up with this person. One more distinct flaw about Ahmad was, he liked reading materials of people who are opposed to…well material wealth. Just because these people didn’t have money, they say they don’t need them. What a joke that was.

 

This is what he said about my hero, “If he is powerful and filthy rich, that means he is corrupted and selfish, he can’t call himself a super hero when he doesn’t share his wealth. One doesn’t need to possess powers to donate.” He stopped for a while, looked at the floor and said, “I am not sure if you realized this, but what you just said just exposed your inner self. If that was the subject of your fantasy, it also becomes your goal and your dream. I am not judging you, but I am assuming those are the things you want in life.”

 

Ali looked shocked listening to what I just said; maybe I shouldn’t have been too straightforward with my words. After all, no matter what, he is still my friend and has helped me a lot. He looked at me with his sharp glaring eyes.

 

At This moment the words of my poor father lingered in my head, “no matter how intelligent or rich of wisdom you think you are, when you go against a person with a different opinion don’t even think for a second that he’ll be swept away by your logic and wisdom, rather be prepared to be chased away and ready yourself for hostility.” My mind drifted again to another one of my dad’s most famous phrases, “Everyone no matter who and what they are, when they have to shit they either sit or squat”…And that makes us all the same, According to my dad that is. And that made me feel a little better for saying what I said.

 

I had enough of Ahmad, friend or not he had gone too far. I had to prove to him, to teach him how the world works. I wanted to say, “You were fired!” But the words that came out from my mouth were instead, “you are suspended!” And as he stood I said to his face, “I already am living that life, my friend…I have money, women any anything I wish for. I am a superhero.” Ali laughed at him as he said that.

 

I can’t believe what the arrogant bastard did that to me. I only said that to him because he was my friend. Well, you can’t expect others to read your mind not to mention one’s intention. I’ll just take this as a vacation, though I don’t know what I am going to do with the days to come, I’ll try my best to enjoy these few days.

 

The next day, I got out of the house like I do every weekday. It would be bad if father knew what had happened. I drove to a park and decided to take a walk. I walked for a few minutes and continued walking in the park. It was more interesting and less mundane. My stomach started to rumble and I could see a restaurant quite some distance away.

 

I walked towards in and entered. It was not too old and not new…the chairs were green in color and the tables’ red. I sat and ordered my drink and food. Here I am in a restaurant I’ve never eaten in before. I guess in a way it makes me experimenting. It feels odd being in a restaurant alone. Though I enjoy being alone, eating alone is a whole different thing. But let’s not get judgmental now. I am just saying that eating alone can get a little too boring, unless you want to fully concentrate on the food you’re eating.

 

The next second, I snapped back to reality I was looking at this lady who was pulling up a chair right in front of me and sat facing me. She looked at me with a pleasant smile. I smiled back it was something beyond my control, something that I was taught to do since I was small. I think after years and years of training my lips developed a mind of its own.

 

Her face beamed when she smiled. She was in her forties; a little too old for me but there was this air about her. Almost pure and nice, yes, nice…she looked like a genuinely nice person.

 

“As I walked in, I noticed that you were sitting alone and you look like you could use company” she said smiling, I smiled back. “You could tell?” I asked sarcastic. “What are you selling?” I asked convinced. I was relieved to see that she was still smiling; it only now occurred to me that things could get ugly, if she got angry.

 

“Spot on!” she said excited. “Are you interested in buying?” I thought to myself, despite what she just said, for some reason I like her. “Erm, no I am not interested and even if I were, I wouldn’t be able to pay you, heh” I smiled as I said. She didn’t.

 

“So what do you do?” she asked. In reply, I said, “It doesn’t matter what I do or who I am. Since you decided to sit on my table, we’ll play by my rules, is there something that you feel like talking about or discuss?”

 

“Oh boy, aren’t we a little too hostile?” she said that with a smile on her face, I smiled back. I didn’t want to but I couldn’t help it. “I know your type, silly boy, you can’t expect people to read between the lines or expect them to know why you’re acting a certain way. You have to be more direct and approachable. You know—be one with the system.” She smiled again after saying that. I closed my mouth and sticked my lips together.

 

She not only has a nice ulterior but is also intelligent, I guessed. I could feel my defense loosening. She was looking at me and still smiling, I started to think that her smile is now getting a little annoying… I smiled back.

 

Dark clouds already were already covering the skies when I walked towards the restaurant; it started drizzling a bit when the lady sat across me. Now, it started to pour. It was one of the heaviest in months. Nevertheless I was enjoying every second of it, rain makes me feel a lot more relaxed and calm, the smell too is refreshing, it’s as if the rain and the wind cleans the polluted air and makes it fresh once again. I love the rain and I’d like it to always rain but I am also always reminded of being struck by lightning.

 

She looked like she wanted to say something. I held my chair and pulled it forward, I even leaned forward. Upon looking at this, she smiled—and I smiled back. We noticed someone staring at us, we looked at the cashier still smiling; he too then smiled at us. She then turned her head and I followed. “So let’s say you want something really bad. Wanting something badly is a selfish act, remember that.” She paused. She looked at me intently this time, not smiling for once. “You think you need it as bad as you need your next dosage of oxygen. Don’t promise it or offer anything to it. Just pray to be accepted for what you are. As impossible as that might sound—because once that happens, you build a bond that can’t be destroyed even by a nukiler bomb, as President Bush says it.” She laughed, alone.

 

Our drinks arrived, her phone rang; her ring tone sounded familiar I then knew that it was the ‘Stephanie mills- I never knew love like this before’ song. She picked it up and a second later, after saying, “ok” she placed her phone in her handbag. “I’ve to go now.” She said smiling. I smiled back. She left and I was alone again. What sort of discussion was that? She was just nagging me all along I thought.

 

It was still raining. I didn’t like being in a restaurant alone. I thought of the lady and her ring tone. I started to smile. I noticed the cashier looking at me, smiling too. I stopped smiling.

 

There was this movie I watched, I was in it. I was a poor kid who had a crush. She was quite famous with other guys, maybe because she had a nice face. The one that makes you go, ‘aww, she looks so nice!’ but one shouldn’t be fooled by looks. I wasn’t fooled though. Her attitude and personality was as nice as her face was. Now, to me that is human perfection, almost impossible.

 

But that’s a different chapter, the one I am going to tell you now is about her birthday. First of all I was very happy because I was invited to her birthday party! As I was walking home I realized, on the flop side I had to get her a present that would be befitting of her. I went to the nearest mall. And when I laid eyes on it, I knew I wanted to give it to her. There it was this really nice looking shirt. It was plain, branded and expensive and most importantly nice and suited her.

 

I know I couldn’t afford that kind of luxury with the pocket money I was getting. So what I did was... I bought a plain, cheap shirt. I had a plan, a bad one.

 

 As soon as I reached home, I took my dad’s branded shirt. The same brand as the one I wanted. Took a scissor and cut the logo out carefully. Once I was done I applied some glue on it and pressed it to the one I just bought.

 

The awaited day had come and as we entered her house, I presented her gift to her. She brought it with her as she sat at the table and to my surprise she started tearing the wrapper open and got the shirt out. And as she got it out, she tried it on, it fitted her perfectly—she looked so nice and so happy. She began to jump up and down now; everyone was looking at her amused. It felt good and satisfying looking at her.

 

But the memorable moment, only lasted for so long. All of a sudden, the logo fell off from the shirt. Damned thing fell off! She stopped jumping. Everyone was looking at me now and I… just wanted to run and hide and so I did. I ran away.

 

Well anyways the nice girl is now Ali’s wife. I was happy for her though. A nice girl should live befittingly and nicely. My father said to me that I had no honor but he didn’t understand that I had to swallow my honor.

 

The day Ali suspended me; I had given my entire life savings to my dad and arranged a maid to take care of him. I decided that its time to go for a long-long walk. It was time to find my inner self, this life doesn’t suit me. Perhaps one more befitting of my standards would be. I will drive to a village where a old friend lived in, he is a fisherman. He once told me that a life of a fisherman is one of the most thrilling, dangerous and mind challenging life.

 

I also remember him saying that I was like a brother to him so whenever I feel the need I should feel free to go to him and he’d welcome me as a brother. That was his promise. When we made a promise back then, we knew we had to stand by it and we only make them once we were absoluetly sure of it. I thought that I could use some change, thrill and adventure. I noticed that I was smiling at the thought of being a fisherman. It might take me weeks or months to get there but I made my mind up and for now it was my goal to fulfill, as pathetic as it may sound to you.

 

 

Previous short story:
The Butterfly (Stages)
Next short story:
Untitled
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about the writer

Alam

Often seen as cold, bitter and distant but in reality is cool, sweet and not very distant..haha Sometimes I feel like saying what Kierkegaard said, People understand me so poorly that they even dont understand my complain about them not understanding me. On the other hand often I assume of understanding people completely...so i guess its a given or an irony or something else..depends on how you see it..
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