Each Sauntering Step : Chapter 6

I am watching a play. The scene: A large white room with a white roundtable for six in the middle. There are two chairs located diametrically opposite to each other one on the left of the scene and one on the right. On the right hand side, I sit, dressed completely in white, facing an empty chair.

I: I…

[The walls turn black]

I [continuing, unperturbed]: …saw this girl the other day. I often see her on my way out of Singh’s/Arun’s building. I don’t know her name, but I like to believe it’s Anita. I imagine she’s a friend of Arun’s. I meet her at his place. He introduces her to me. Ashwin, Anita. Anita, Ashwin. We get chatting. She’s amazing.

We go on a date. An couple of beers for me, mojitos for her, a couple of cigarettes here, a couple there. We hit it off immediately. Back at my place, we’re much more than friends. We’ve been together for six  years now. We’re having wild, passionate sex; she is perfect in every way. I imagine her voluptuous body rise and 

A man who looks like me, except taller and bulkier enters stage left and sits down on the empty chair opposite I. 

Me [interrupting]: Don’t you find that disturbing?

I: Find what disturbing?

Me: The constant fantasising — this animalistic, primal fantasising. 

I: I… I guess. Yes I do. But it’s only in my head; is that so wrong?

Me: Of course it is. What’s the point of your education if you can’t choose what to think, and discard obviously distasteful thoughts, thoughts what are detrimental to your own self-esteem?

I: But…

Me: Continue, you make out and make out. Make out. We make out. Out and out. In and out.

The table disappears; so does Me. I sits alone on his chair, resting his palms on his knees and rocking his torso gently back and forth. The light is dim, bathing the walls in a light shade of grey. A spotlight focuses on I’s face.

I: I’m on stage, singing, covering old punk songs — full of emotion, raw energy.

The light goes off.

When the lights come back on, Me, his chair and the table are back, as before.

Me: You’re such a loser.

I: I really like the view of the sea from here. Unbounded. Infinite. A billion diamonds disappearing and reappearing on blue velvet. Like mum’s handkerchief from Kashmir.

The table, chair and Me disappear again. The lights are turned down again. I is alone again.

I: I’m playing the piano.

Me enters the scene from the right and stands behind I’s chair like an interrogating officer from an old American cop show.

Me [angrily]: You haven’t played the piano in years.

I: My shirts are neatly stacked on my bed – my two mattresses neatly stacked one on top of the other by the open window. There are no cigarette butts outside my window.

Me: Liar.

I: They’re Singh’s. I don’t smoke anymore.

Me: Liar. You smoke too much. You smoke too much when you drink. You should stop drinking.

I: I don’t drink anymore.

Me [seething]: Well, what about last night? What about yesterday? You’re out of a job. You haven’t even told mom and dad. You don’t even know what you want to do with your life. None of this would’ve happened if you just stopped with the drinking as you said you would yesterday, day before, the day before that, and before that, and —

I: I really need to stop drinking, don’t I?

Me [suddenly calm]: Yes.

I: But what then?

Me: Then it all gets better.

I [dismissively]: No it doesn’t.

Me: No it doesn’t.

I: …

Me: You can do whatever you want to do. Take the new job. Talk to Viren. Join X-Arch.

I: But I need a break…

Me: Then take a break. You can do whatever you want to do. Travel if you want, see the world. If not, take the new job and have a much better time. You have nothing to worry about. Why’re you just moaning all the time? All the time… moan, moan, moan…

I: What about booze?

Me: You’ve done it before. You were three months clean before yesterday, weren’t you? Do the same thing you did then.

I: Yeah, I can do that.

Me: Yes. You can.

I: Yes. Yes I can.

The table, chair, and Me disappear.

I disappears.

The curtain falls.