Futility of life strikes us at an hour when we feel our most active self. All that energy building up, creating a crescendo, ultimately falls into deep dark pits in its culmination, for after all, when has any action ever executed ever mattered? Noel’s life was such a transient phase of such futility, all his efforts and endeavours seem to result in one singular dimension of placidity. No multitude of any kind of action could ever convince him of his worthwhileness, but he never gave up, for maybe even that was a futile action…
Noel did not feel like going anywhere today like he had for a long time now. He sulks around in his striped bathrobe, day or night while surviving on a constant diet of coffee and the “constructive criticism” offered by his servant. Every morning paper he received used to come with threats like how Noel never leaves the house and which means he is unable to take a holiday. Noel never eats anything he cooks and how Noel doesn’t just socialize with anyone in his complex. That winter morning was no exception; Noel was brooding over the empty cup of coffee from last night when his servant came with his morning coffee and the daily newspaper.
“We should stop getting newspapers anymore!” complained the servant.
“Why then? That will not do. ? No! No! No!” exclaimed Noel.
“Why should we? You never read them anyway, and it just gets piled in the corner, laden with dust.”
“That’s right, but don’t we need newspapers to line the bird cages?”
“But we don’t have any!”
“Oh! Right! What about the bookshelves?”
“You don’t read any books, and we certainly don’t have shelves for books in this apartment.”
“If that’s the case then maybe I should read more novels, otherwise the newspapers shall go to waste!”
“Or you could just read the newspapers?”
Noel sipped coffee from his white china coffee mug. His fingers were wrinkled with nicotine stains, with his sinewy hands turning into a mush of soggy muscles. The light band of skin on his ring finger instead of a ring almost fades now and the scars down his wrists are certainly not conspicuous anymore. As warm coffee glided down his throat and made its way down the length of his spine, Noel looked at his moccasin-clad feet, his weak sunken toes are curled up inside his brown leather shoes, except for the one on the left, sticking out of a corner, touching the cold floor and looking a little numb.
Looking at his little numb blue toe, Noel wondered, how do the poor and impoverished survive the blizzards? How do outcasts find warmth and associations? How do disjointed parts of reality feel connected yet amputated? Noel glanced at his fidgeting servant; the servant knew what was to come now, he would be dismissed and it be would hours and hours of his master straying about his room, staring at walls and babbling to himself. He sometimes felt that his master was bonkers for sure, but then, he was too accustomed to his present life to inquire about flaws. He left Noel alone.
The concept of space, time and size vary from time to time. When first buying this apartment, Noel found this room to be quite spacious and airy, but now it just feels like a dungeon. The once liberating yellow wallpaper had now been stripped down and replaced with dreary pale moonlight blue distemper- sometimes exhilarating, but most times strangulating. Noel hardly noticed his servant go, until he heard the light thud of the heavy wooden door closing. Lighter doors would have been much more peaceful!
With heavy trudging steps, Noel came in front of his wall, THE WALL. It’s kind of a daily ritual now, each day he comes and stares at it, and imagines of the millions of opportunities he is missing on. It’s been years since he had shed a tear, but today he was feeling a tinge of nostalgia, soaking up in the reminiscence. They are closing the company in which Noel used to work. Although Noel had stopped going to work, the company was the only thing he knew, not anymore. He wasn’t upset but could he really be happy about it? Swirling around in his whirlpool of thoughts and reflections, Noel had gone astray into a world beyond the reach of all; so inaccessible and deep within the mind, that when a cold sturdy solid hand was placed over his shoulder, it almost startled him, almost. It was Allan, young Allan, with his white shirt and plaid trousers, ruffled hair and rolled up sleeves, casual Allan, carefree Allan. Allan had hardly changed from the last time when Noel had seen him; multitudes of tides of time have passed in between, but things between Noel and Allan remained the same, some things never change after all.
“What are you staring at, old friend?” inquired Allan.
The very vanity of the question shook Noel.
“Can’t you see the wall?” said Noel.
“Yes, but why stare?”
“What else can I possibly do?”
“Does it pain you?”
“How can it not Allan? How can it not? My love lives across it, I feel her pushing her body against it, I feel every nerve, every curve of her body, I can almost touch her, but I can’t see her Allan, I just can’t.”
“Does she call you?”
“Every minute, every second of my existence Allan, she calls me, she urges me to break down this wall between us, and this agony of separation is killing us bit by bit.”
“Then, why don’t you?”
“Why don’t I what?”
“Break it down!”
Noel paces his hand through his hair, little drops of perspiration collect on the corner of his forehead, his heart starts racing.
“I could, but…” replied Noel.
“But what Noel, how long are you going to ignore the call of your love? Is this the life you imagine, sulking around in your bathrobe and loathing the life you live?”
Noel had no answer, the nearness to the probability of being with his lover made him dizzy with anxiety. Could it really be that simple? Break the wall? Just break the wall? The whole possibility of the situation made him anxious. But Noel had little time to act upon the thought before he could realize, Allan had picked up the hammer from the adjacent coffee table and smashed it into the wall.
The wall broke! Noel couldn’t believe his eyes…
Shattered pieces lay around on the floor, the deed was done. Maybe now he could feel his love, maybe now he could be free.
Noel grabbed one of the shards amidst the scattered remnants and held on to it. Its irregular sharp ends pierced into his thin flesh and streams of blood flowed down in between his clasped fingers.
The pleasure of pain, the damages of love.
Noel wanted to rejoice in this sanguine glory and as he was about to thank Allan, Noel saw, Allan was gone, maybe, forever…
Noel looked at the gushing sanguine madness of his hands, the gaping emptiness of the broken wall and to void all around him. The world around him, in a single act of fate, had widened up to several times. Full of despair and agitation, Noel screamed his lungs out, and could say only one word,
Noel’s servant came rushing into Noel’s bedroom. He saw his master lying on the floor, convoluting in desperate cries, screaming a name which he had never ever heard in these long years that he had spent with him.
Noel, on seeing his servant, called out in anguish.
“Please stop him, please stop Allan!”
“Stop whom sir? No one has ever visited you for 20 years since you left your job at the company.” replied the servant, calmly.
Noel looked down his bloody hand and let the grabbed pieces fall to the floor while his servant stooped down to collect the broken pieces of the mirror of his dresser. The hammer laid there on the floor in negligence, next to the silent duo.