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He knew he was awake. He knew it was morning. His brain had powered on, but hadn’t ‘booted to start’ yet. He kept his eyes shut, and let his mind wander. He thought of the things he would have to do today; the chores and the mundane errands, the endless packing and planning, and one very important meeting. He did not want to dwell on that now. He just wanted to be awake with eyes closed.
Last night was hard, but definitely not among the hardest. Not by a long mile. Nothing a few cuts and drinks could not tackle. He wasn’t sure if it the was the Long Dark or the Short Dark though. He tried to gauge his mind’s mood and mien. He gently nudged and prodded his inner self, without daring to disturb Him. He seemed to be reasonably jolly and light. Even so far as to be thinking a few pleasant thoughts. It might be a good day after all.
He finally let his eyes drift open. It wasn’t as light as he thought it would be. It was dawn, not full- blown morning yet. Damn. He hadn’t slept long at all. Well, not that it mattered. He could sleep an entire day, and still feel tired and battered. Four hours of restful, dreamless sleep is almost divine.
He contemplated going back to sleep. Then abruptly, he jumped out of bed, brushed his teeth and put on a pair of tracks and a flimsy tee. He pottered around the room looking for his iPod and headphones. He located them under the bed and shoved them into his pockets. He was still working in partial darkness. He did not feel the need to turn on the lights, the slither of dawn peeking through the curtains would do. He quickly laced up his trainers in his usual quirky way- a double wrap around the ankle and a bow knot to secure; and strode into the first morning light.
The air was cool and crisp. And fresh. It was nippy enough for a light shiver and some goosebumps. He walked briskly for a few minutes and then broke into a jog. He jogged toward the sea. He loved running on the sand. And it was a bloody brilliant way to work- out.
He inhaled deeply and as the air filled his lungs, he could feel his spirits rise. The blackness in his head, was conspicuous by it’s absence. Aah! It was the Short Dark after all. He smiled to himself, it was most definitely going to be a good day!
A ten mile run, 50 crunches, and an equal number of pull- ups and push ups later, Zun felt enlivened and sprightly. The sweat dripped off his brow and stuck to his clothes. It made his flimsy tee even flimsier. The middle- aged throng of women in their chudidars and sneakers passing by stared appreciatively. He wasn’t paying attention though. He was in his White Bright World where he needed no appreciation or flattery be feel like the king of the world. It was going to be a splendid day.
On days like these, he was on super-charge mode. Where time seemed to expand, and his ability to get work done seemed to increase manifold. By late afternoon, he had applied to terminate his gas, telephone and broadband connections. He also packed up all his books into cartons and haggled with and hired a goods- van to transport them home. He even managed to squeeze in a hair (read neighborhood barber) appointment. He wanted to look his best. He didn’t bother with lunch. On days like this, even air alone can be sustenance enough.
He was contemplating another shower when his phone rang. It was one his rowdy colleagues. He corrected himself. Now ex- colleague. He probably wanted to know why he went AWOL last night. Zun was in no mood for small talk and explanations. His mind was on other more important matters.
The hot water felt good. The tiny bathroom steamed up. “One more night” by Maroon 5 played on the radio. He sang along, unmelodious and out of tune but with enough feeling and zest to make up for the lack of melody and tune. He knew he shouldn’t be excited. It was rather pointless. But he was. Undeniably excited. He heard the phone ring again. He sang louder. It continued to ring, stop and then ring again. He swore, grabbed a towel and ended his very enjoyable shower.
He was still dripping when he grabbed the phone to yell at or curse whichever moron (he used far more colorful words in his head) was calling so persistently. His swear words evaporated in his head when he saw the caller- name. He smiled. The slow, languid, crooked, one- sided smile. The smile that left female undergrads, interns, juniors, patients and scrub nurses tingly and weak- kneed.
It was her, calling to say she’d be an hour late. She apologized profusely, and he was extravagant in his “it’s alright”s. But he was on the edge. A White Day meant a lot of excess energy, and now he had an hour to kill. An hour filled with anticipation. He was pissed. In a good way.
He dressed meticulously. Uncharacteristically, he changed and re- changed his clothes about four times. He wasn’t sure what made him look good. He was vaguely aware that some women consider him attractive, but he was clueless as to what particular garments or style enhanced his looks.
He settled on a classic and safe choice of attire. Bordering on boring even. Starched white linen shirt tucked into light blue jeans. He did not even bother trying to tame his wet hair with a comb, he just ran his fingers through them. He left his two- day stubble on, he wanted to look somber and vulnerable. Not dark, and mad like he truly was.
He wore his trademark brown- leather Tag Heuer watch and loafers and got out of the house. He was still forty- minutes early. He fidgeted with the door lock and then with his sleeves, folding them up and then unfolding them about half-a- dozen times. He finally left them folded.
Enough, he berated himself. None of this was going to make any difference. He’d never imagined being this stupid and petty. Ugg! Of all the darned women in the world….