05/03/2017 by Siddiqui Fayesal
I pulled the trigger and click.
I was convinced I was dead. The pistol was now empty and I had no reason to believe otherwise. Flinging it away, ensuring it carefully landed on the couch, I sat back and thought of the life that I had lived; was it worth thinking about? Maybe it was. There was never a moment that I was any happier than I was now.
Surprisingly, it was never a dreadful feeling that I had conjured up when I had had the opportunity to ruminate upon this situation without interference. This exact feeling, this extensive euphoria was never unplanned; and, if I am allowed to be truly honest with myself, the sense of ending which I was experiencing now was exactly as I had envisaged in the dark private hours of my life.
The blood flowed freely from the dark, almost circular shaped wound that the bullet had made. It was like the final goodbye of a friend. It flowed smoothly without any perfunctory mannerisms of an uncomfortable visitor. It didn’t hem and haw at the gates, stretching goodbyes into the night and making it awkward, for both, the guest and the visitor! It just flowed without any pointless salutations, without any fanciful pomp and splendour.
Looking for the wound, I was reminded of the others that I had seen in my life. The wound would be of the same reddish hue, the blood would be of some shade of red or pink, smelling a similar rusty and salty smear, the shape would be the same circular, slightly smoking and the same gushing of the life force. Although, I couldn’t see the wound yet as I tried stretching my neck attempting to look into the void I created. The dizziness in my head made me snap my neck back into a comfortable angle and lean on the wall.
The gun was still smoking; its barrel still pointed at me as if telling me off.
I laughed at it.
The life of a human has been ordained from above.
If you’re one of those who believes that fate is sculpted by the confused sleight of hand of a minor magician or by an incompetent potter at his father’s wheel whose speed is beyond the younger man’s childish fingers; if you think that you are authorized to ordain your life simply because you are, then, my friend, it is already too late.
I now know how wrong that notion is because I was exactly like that too. I too believed that the very air I breathed, the very particles and every atom that was stuffed in the deepest crevices of my lungs was only because I truly deserve it and that the air would rather exhaust itself into a puff of nothing than being snuffed by someone else, of a lower pedigree, of a lower value.
The gun, although out of reach, seems to grow larger as these words take form in my mind and paints itself on my skull’s inside. I ignore it. It must be the dizziness of my head, the blood flowing out; my life sailing away from me. I better ignore it.
I’ll ignore it, the weapon of choice. I was told by many that a knife would be better employed to cull the damaged soul out of an undamaged body. But anyone who has been at crossroads like I have will tell you that going quietly doesn’t really mean much. Why not go with a bang, some would say?
Suddenly a mist descends in the very vortex of my thoughts and brings with it the feeling of immense guilt. A thought forces itself inside my head and I find myself correcting that last statement.
My action seems a result of gullible misdemeanors and wrongful action based upon guilt.
Yes, I hear myself telling my other half off. Apparently, my one-half tells the other, that I am guilty of making my corporeal body go through the trauma and pain, for disrespecting it.
I force the thought out. Spill it away like a slippery eel, like a fresh melon seed. Into the void I throw it. But the harder I try the thoughts forces itself inside me. It tears me apart, my yin and yang are in denial and smoky thoughts are capturing the free will that I was so proud of just a moment ago.
I play the kill inside my mind again. Over and over again and the beauty of my goodbye comes back to haunt me. The goodbye, the final act of mine that would cleanse the earth for good doesn’t seem so spotless now. The smoky thought lifts me and throws me to the ceiling where I float above the scene. I see me load it and press the muzzle somewhere near my kidney and I feel the moment squeeze and crystallize. I am thrown down with such force that even when I’m nothing but smoke I shut my eyes.
I open it to find myself staring into the muzzle. I, a small intangible smoky thought, looking through the dark tunnel and expecting to die again when the bullet rips me apart. The soft click of the trigger comes from far away and I know that any second the bullet will whizz past me, no, through me, and expect a red hot ball of metal shooting out, but I wait in vain.
The bullet never comes. The smoke is all gone. The room is clear and so are my thoughts. Those smoky wisps are nowhere; neither in my head nor dancing out of the muzzle.
My thoughts are taut with understanding and clear with intention and, yes, I have to accept it aloud, with guilt.
I wish that the bullet extinguished itself before rushing through my flesh and embedding itself in my kidney. My heads spins and I lift my palm up to see it red.
Grief and guilt join hands and my head lolls down.
I am aware of a presence in the room but I cannot see anything. The smoking gun that lay so comfortably on the couch lies there still. I remember it smoking for a long time. I also remember smoky inside my head changing my thoughts.
As if in acknowledgment of its crime, the gun suddenly clatters to the floor with a loud sound.
I fall in a heap and go out with a bang indeed.
–Harish and Siddiqui F.
PS: The idea was Harish’s. The narrative, mine.