Raconteur #2: The War Within

This is part 2 of the six-part series. I suggest reading Part 1 to get the most sense. Click Here for the list of Chapters.

[Part 2 | 1008 Words | 5 Minutes (approx.)]

2:31 AM

The white numbers on the five and a half-inch screen on his phone showed the time. Soham had never suffered from insomnia before. Going to bed early was a habit he couldn’t change if he wanted to. But lately, his sleeping pattern seemed to be altering itself every day. For the previous ten days, he had been struggling with getting a night of peaceful sleep. Every night, he found himself awake around the same time, between two an three in the morning.

Soham blinked hard at the dark ceiling above and took a deep breath. He then turned on his side and picked up his phone. Unlocking it, he pulled up the gallery app. ‘Thank Heavens for the fingerprint sensor,’ he thought as he waited for the pictures to load, ‘unlocking with a pattern now would have been a worse nightmare than this.’ His fingers knew where to tap on the screen to open the picture he was looking for. In less than ten seconds, the screen was filled with a picture of a girl in a garden.

It was an afternoon click, the sun, one hour away from the horizon. The sky was painted in a flawless fiery hue and her dress complemented it with a gorgeous shade of blue. The picture itself was a perfect moment. She had just turned her face towards the camera and her hair was captured in the mid whip as if a breeze had picked it up. The already lustrous jet black mane seemed to be glowing like threads of amber, and her eyes appeared as marvelous crystals, capturing the spark of the setting sun.

Is it a mistake to come there and meet you? Am I doing the right thing, or would I be taking a path leading to more sorrow?’ Soham whispered to the photograph. His own actions did not make sense to him. He had applied for leaves at his office that still weren’t approved. He had booked tickets for both way journeys. He had even booked for lodgings. ‘Why am I having these second thoughts about going there?’ The question completely threw away the sleep from his body. He got off the bed and headed to the bathroom.

Soham placed a hand on the cool tiled wall as the hot water drenched his naked body. He let the water soothe his skin as if tender fingers of some angel were caressing him, giving the soothing touch not only to his skin but also to the agitated nerves within. As the warm rivulets explored the dry crevices of his form, an involuntary moan escaped his lips. The effect it was having on his partly asleep body was good! The storm inside his mind calmed down a bit and he could now see through it. He lowered his head so the water directly hit his neck, part of it cascading forward to his chest, flowing down to his groin in the best way, awakening more than only his senses, and the rest sliding down his back. He still had his eyes closed, and his mind took him to the day it all started. The day he had held her wrists for the first time.

Midnight showers had a way of calming his body, but the dilemma in his mind still held strong, twisting and pulling his thoughts in all directions at once. He wrenched open the cupboard door only to find the bottle of rum completely empty. He needed something to set his mind straight. After much thought, he decided to call his best friend.

“Hi! Is everything alright?” Shree’s voice had the expected mix of alarm and sleepiness when she picked up the call.

“I don’t know, Shree! I can’t figure out what or why I’m doing what I’m doing.” Soham said into the phone.

“Yeah, I can see that. You clearly didn’t notice the AM in the clock of your phone, did you?” There was a slight edge in her voice, though she held it well. “Sorry, it’s the sleep talking. You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you?” She finished in her usual softer voice.

“Yeah, sort of, hard not to when there are only seven days left for the big day.” Soham pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m worried Shree! I’m worried if I am doing the right thing. Somewhere deep down, it feels wrong. It all feels so fucking wrong. . .”

Shree heard him sniff on the other end of the line. “Look, Soham, it is wrong. You’re following a lost cause. She clearly rejected you the first time. So why can’t you just accept that, keep her as a friend, a good memory, and move on? Have you stopped to think that maybe going there, talking about it, would cost you the friendship you have with her? What is compelling you to go there? Or the better question — so you don’t go around justifying yourself — how did she become such a special someone that you have to sacrifice your sleep for her?

Shree heard him sob. In all the time Shree had known Soham, she had never heard him cry. She thought she knew the whole truth about this part of his life. But clearly, something unknown to her was eating her best friend alive. She felt powerless, but her resolve stayed the same. She wanted to help him, she just didn’t know how to. “Soham! Tell me what reallis bothering you? Not this fucked up dilemma of yours, I want you to think and tell me what it is that you really want.”

She expected a few seconds of silence on the line, while Soham collected his thoughts and responded. However, what she got was an instant and powerful scream from his side. For a moment, she thought the worst, but the scream turned to legible words, and she realized how hard it was for him to say the words, even thought they were right there at the front of his mind, “I need to know why the hell she lied to me!”

To Be Continued. . .

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