A new challenge. Here’s a completely unedited, roughest of rough drafts (so “rough” that you might even find spelling errors!) of a story unfolding…. Let’s see where we head to…
A true test… Only type and publish… No proofreads….No edits….
Mr Fragmented Genius.
The demons are back in full force. They unleash their full fury on Zun’s already fragile and buckling mind. He staggers under its sheer ruthlessness. He knows it will pass. This feeling of utter hopelessness and despair. This time, at least. He knows it will pass.
He seeks solace in the familiar motions of a mundane activity. He turns the water on and lets it whoosh into the gleaming sink. For a moment. For a brief moment, there is nothing but the whooshing sound in his head. He takes in a deep breath.
The kitsch walls of the upmarket restaurant are covered in graffiti. Not the carefree , spontaneous, chaotic markings of a rebellious mind; but the paid- for, carefully construed strokes of an amateur, struggling artist. The colors and patterns offend him. They seem to compound the chaos in his head. He knows he should go back. He washes his hand for the fourth time, pulls out a wipe and leaves.
He returns to the dining area. They have rented the banquet hall for the evening. The party seems to have gone rogue. Everyone seems to have had a drink too many. All his colleagues, friends and even borderline- foes seem to be having a swell time. They deserve it. It has been three years. Three years of toil and torture. For Zun, it has been three, very trying years. Everyday testing his sanity some more. Pushing its boundaries farther. Changing him. For the worse.
He settles into his chair and pokes around his food. He wonders if he has snapped. If he will ever be “normal” again. Can he ever be a fully functional “family- man”? Work never bothers him. He knows he can do it even if he is stark, raving mad. Of that he’s sure. In fact his unhinged mind makes his work easier. He is better for it.
The revellers around him start to lose the plot. The racket reaches a crescendo. Too much joy is sickening. Especially if one is witness to it but cannot partake in it. Zun can take it no more. He decides to leave.
He is just about to get into his car. He feels the urge to look to his right. The parking area is dimly lit. He can barely make out silhouettes. He sees a couple walking towards the entrance of the restaurant. They are still engulfed in partial darkness. But he knows it’s her. It is an almost palpable, physical feeling.
As they appear into the halo cast by the fluorescent lights, he sees she’s all dressed-up. Not in her ignore-me- I’m- almost-a-man garb. But in a far more feminine avatar. Her hair; carefully constructed, falling in loose curls framing her impish face. Her smile uninhibited. The kind he dreams about. But for another man. Her husband.
Zun follows the couple with his eyes. Till they are nothing but a speck in the darkness. Till they disappear. He shakes his head. Another battle that he will never win. Another fight that was fought and won, even before he entered the ring.
This is not a love story. Or a story about love lost. Nor does it romanticise and exalt unrequited love. Love is an emotion for those who can understand and feel. Who are capable of feeling emotions. Not for those who are not in command of their own mind. Not for those who are fragmented; confused about their very existence.
Who carry monsters and demons in their head…