smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Lara’s story

Lara didn’t normally talk to strangers. But today she lost her job and found out her boyfriend had a wife and three daughters, all in the same hour – lunch. So when the man next to her  on the bus asked her if she was ok, well, there wasn’t any stopping the words.

EDSA from end to end takes almost two hours. And in those two hours, Lara poured her heart out to this stranger. Thin, almost to the point of actually looking malnourished, with a scraggly beard, and hands that looked unnaturally large because of a pair of half-fingered knitted gloves. Whenever the man spoke, Lara couldn’t take her eyes of those hands. The man moved them gracefully, like an orchestra conductor or maybe a piano player striking invisible keys in midair, punctuating every sentence and pause until she felt that she understood him more from just looking at his hands than from listening to his words. She wondered how hands could seem so eloquent.

By the end of the ride, Lara had told the man that she intended to hang herself later that night. She thought about using a belt or the electric cord from a lamp she bought just last week.

The man got off the bus, following close on Lara’s heels. “Why would you do that?” he asked. “Because there’s no other way out of this,” she answered.

Somehow, when Lara got home, the man was still there with her. It never occurred to her to ask him why. It felt as though she wanted him to stay with her til the end so that she could at least have someone to talk to.

They entered her house through the front door and passed through the living room on the way to where she slept, a small room with a curtain for a door. Her mother glanced at her once and returned to watching teevee.

In her room, the man sat down on her bed and just looked at her as she prepared to hang herself. “You know you’re not gonna come back after three days, don’t you?” he asked with a strange sad look in his eyes.

“That’s the idea,” she answered.

The cord went over an exposed beam and came down on the other side. Carefully, almost thoughtfully, Lara knotted a loop into the dangling end and tied the other end to a nail on the wall. Satisfied that the knot would hold, Lara slipped the loop over her head and turned to the man. “Well,” she said. “This is it. Thanks for keeping me company.” She smiled at him sadly.

“No problem,” he answered with a sad smile of his own.

The last thing Lara saw, as she slowly choked, was the man standing up and reaching for her face with those hands. She noticed that he had taken off the gloves and saw for the first time that his hands were wounded. Maybe, she thought, that was why he wore the gloves in the first place. To keep those gaping holes in his palms from getting infected.

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Filed under: religion, , ,

2 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    What the freak is this? You can’t do this without a backgrounder. Think of our regular readers. Fact, fiction?

  2. shiro says:

    i like it. 🙂

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