Ten.

I saw you stand at the altar, in that wispy white dress, and I couldn't help but think:

I was the luckiest man in the universe.

A hundred and twenty six pairs of eyes, all gleamed at you in their envious, vivacious stares, and yet only one among those many could call you theirs: me.

The steps towards you came effortlessly now, unlike all the times I played this scenario out in my mind: no hesitation, no cold feet, no second thoughts, just the image of you in my mind, your beautiful visage keeping all of my qualms at bay.

I will admit, even putting my tux on this morning, I couldn't help but wonder whether all this was right, whether I'd be forcing my love onto you by taking things this quickly.

But then there you were, with your hazel eyes and cheeky smile, and you reminded me of all those little things that had made me fall for you from so far away:

The way you'd hum showtunes while doing the dishes. You putting your left shoe on before your right, going so far as to take it off if it was the right one first.  The way you sang in your sleep, sometimes even singing whole verses before coming to. The way you'd hold back a smile in the midst of an argument, yet let the corner of your mouth twitch to show that you had forgiven. How you'd let the waterworks flow while watching your soaps, but deny crying every single time. The way your eyes glinted when you shared a hearty laugh with your fiance. The way you'd hug his arm on walks, when other couples were content with holding hands. The way you'd blush when you kissed him, like every time was the first.

The polaroids that adorned several walls of my house - our house, soon -  proved an unspeaking testament to my love, of how I deserved you more than anyone else. Shots of you in every conceivable pose - sitting amidst a pile of letters, standing over a heap of laundry, mouth agape as you try to stifle a yawn, shirt over your arms while you changed, your caramel skin bared as you showered, everything - kept me focused, kept me determined .

I am doing this.


My pace quickened, two steps at time. Four. Eight. Running straight towards you, the pistol slapping against my thigh with every step.



In and out.

One quick dash, one little tackle, and I'll have swept you off your feet and carried out.

Literally.

In and out.

Nine.

"What were the last words you spoke to your father?"

The sight of the casket in front of me had done nothing, but this question put to me by one of the many people garbed in black shocked me out of my trance.

I didn't want to remember, but I felt like I owed the man this at the very least.

He'd come to the door to see me off, like always. He knew I hated it, but that didn't stop him.

It never did.

"Careful, son."
"You don't have to tell me, dad."
"I know, but I just want you to be safe."
"I know, dad."
"The roads can be real treacherous at ti-..."
"Dad, I think I'd prefer a car accident if it meant not having you drone on and treat me like a five year old."


Witnesses say that the car had been just exiting a tunnel when a drunk driver, who'd been snaking in and out of traffic for about a quarter mile, cut the wrong way onto the intersection and T-boned it.

Witnesses say that both cars were launched into the air, tumbling several times before landing on the sidewalk with a sense of perverse finality.

Witnesses say that the body - this body, the one that now lay in this closed casket in front of me- was flung out mid-flip, and dragged across the freeway before it came to a standstill.


And the last words my father would ever hear from me had been how a car accident would have been more preferable to his nagging.

Death was not without a sense of irony.

Perhaps my face had betrayed some emotions that I didn't dare share with my words, but he gave my shoulder a slight squeeze, as if to let me know it was all right, that it wasn't my fault, that everything was going to be okay.

He was wrong, of course.

Another of the men in black stepped towards me.

"They're taking the body away now. I think you should leave."

I wanted to take one last look into the casket, at those brown eyes, that sandy brown hair, all those little things I'd been glad to have inherited from my father, but I knew the time for that had long gone on.

Instead, I turned around and began walking.

And stopped.

The scene ahead reminded me too much of the tunnel that had brought me here: the pitch black darkness with the distant light reminded me too much of that tunnel on the freeway.

But there was that hand on my shoulder again.

"There is no pain there, no suffering. Trust me."

And so I walked, hesitant, wavering in my resolve.

But as I reached the light, all my fears vanished.

And as I floated upwards into nothingness, I couldn't help but take one last at the casket that held my mangled remains, and the father that cried over it.

Eight.

When you have it, it's dumped in a corner, a trophy to be admired, but only from a distance. You do pick it up, but only to ponder on the various cracks and crevasses that line its surface, the imperfections reaching across the line to slap you in the face. It may be a trophy, but its as close to a participation medal as there is. And then you lose it. You start to feel the raw ache of loneliness, the pangs of solitude, totally undeserved. You remember the cracks as untouched valleys, pristine in their beauty, the trophy as having had great sentimental value. You want it back, and you want it back bad. And when you do find it, back it goes into the corner. You tell yourself that it was easy to find, that losing it again wouldn't be that bad anymore, that it wasn't worth the search anyways. The valleys are only endless pits to fall through now, to get lost in interminably. Mankind only wants what it cannot have. Idiots.

Dreams.


She went from door to door, carrying nothing but a worn down rucksack, almost filled to the brim, begging:

"Could you spare me a dream, kind sir?"

Most homes she left empty handed, their tenants already having replaced their dreams with a cubicle job, with children, with a family life, with a big car, a big house, a bigger paycheck, and even bigger disappointment.

When she got to their doors, they'd meet her with the sort of demeanor you'd assign to a pallbearer laying someone to rest. Which, when she thought about it, was exactly what they had been doing, all their lives.

But if she was lucky, she got to a doorstep just as the people on the other side of it felt their worlds crashing down all around them.

They'd always smile at her, having finally found one of their like. They never asked why she wanted them, or what she was going to do with them. They only smiled, and smile they did, mouthing two words each and every time they gave her everything they could:

"Good luck."

She'd sit on their porch, and have a good look at their dreams before moving on.

And then she'd smile too.

The dreams she got from them were always broken.

She didn't mind, of course, for this was exactly what she was looking for. She'd hold them close to her own self, inspecting them with a sense of disconnected bliss.

But not to fix them, no. How could she go about doing that for others, when she never managed to fix her own?


She'd then sit on the side of the road, and sift through her bag, filled with dreams upon dreams, prised and begged from countless strangers, and pull out the only two artifacts among them that belonged to her: an elegant easel, cracked after it was thrown in a fit of rage eons past, and a framed Masters degree that once adorned her parents bedroom.

She'd hold her dreams next to theirs, and enjoy the warmth these dreams gave her, revel in the fact that she wasn't the only one who'd walked down the dreary path of watching their hopes and aspirations shatter into a million brilliant pieces.

And then she'd move on, content.

But not for long before she would have to start begging again.



RANDOMOSITY (is that a word?)

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