He probably, remembered “it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell” when he saw leaves falling during the autumn. I know I would if I would have been in his place, for his was a story much similar to what Henry wrote. He sacrificed his love so that his love could be with the love of her own. He is in pain, he never would admit it, but the pain is small compared to the happiness she has in her life now.
Back at the newspaper they used to say that you have arrived when the editor calls and hands you an assignment; that you are going to be the next big thing when he calls you and gives you his little grasshopper speech; that you are going to be the next Pulitzer winner. So there I was, standing awed and cowed in front of a large mahogany desk, cluttered with an “organized mess” , the little man scrutinizing me, peering at the me over his horn-rimmed glasses gave me an assignment. He told me in no uncertain terms that I had to interview random people from a random housing complex. This assignment was to check if I could find something interesting in seemingly mundane and boy! I did find something interesting
Hopped up on the never ending carousel of drugs, he spent his days cooped in his dark melancholy room, searching for meaning in life. Something that could interest him, something that would motivate him something that would tell him what all the brouhaha about life is. He had read about love, had gawked at the magical moments glorified on the big screen – something he used to do during the days that seemed ages ago, so the next logical step for him was to find meaning in love. He proposed, and realized that the acceptance or rejection of his proposal didn’t matter, his proposal didn’t arouse any feelings in him. So he went back to his sanctuary, cooped in the dark, trying to ascertain how the spots on the wall changed under the shifting shadows of candle light, all the while blowing smoke in the air.
Hence there I was talking to people, trying to pry into their lives; I had to sweat a lot in order to elicit an honest response from the seemingly honest people out there. Put anyone in front of a camera and everyone has something to hide. However, I got most honest response from the shunned, the pariahs, people who didn’t care about others’ opinions. In a way the society’s indifference had set them free.
He didn’t come off as scary, not even a bit. There was a peace around him; his house in its simple strict austerity seemed more welcoming than those of the ‘sane’ people in that building. He felt guilty, there was remorse in his eyes. If only he had been sober, if only he could have let go of that poison for one day, then he could have saved her. She was nobody to him. He had seen her only once, but he could still remember those eyes hers filled with hope and her mother’s with desperation when she had realized that she won’t see her daughter anymore, and his – first lustful, and then reflecting the jubilation that he got away with another.
He quit. He planned revenge and killed that bastard in a cold heinous manner that was befitting for him. And after spending 5 years in an asylum – a funny name for an equally funny place, he sits in his room asking for forgiveness, not from god for he knows there is no god, but from that girl, for he knows that if he was sober he could have saved her.
I met them, and I was humbled by my experience, their life was flawed, and no person would consider that life to be a life. Hell! I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t come to understand their motivation. I learnt that a human being is a complex being something I always knew but never understood. I felt the joy felt by the “wife less guy, the guy whose wife left him, left him for another man.” I bore the crushing weight of desperation felt by the “junkie- who destroyed his career”, I rooted for him, I willed him to find some meaning in his life. I shed tears with the “mad man” cried for the helpless girl, I shared the punishment meted out by him for himself.
And I realized that I was not the same person anymore, I realized that why that old sly dog is the editor and I am just a journalist. And here I am sitting in from of this old typewriter with a glass of scotch in my hand trying to drown the multitude of feelings that rise up when I remember those 4 days with the pungent “poison” – as that “mad man” would put it.
I also know that this article won’t ever see the light of the day, the editor would read it and he will say that it’s not complete, for this is the evidence of that journey, which I took for the discovery of my self
- This is an account of what the journalist who visited the apartment has written, so for this to make any sense please give blogs of the apartment series a glance
- Also read this . It will answer some of your questions. For others do comment.