He did not know how it had happened.
He was born in a world of disparity, betrayal, greed, anger and violence. His failure to blend in to his world made him feel unwanted. He adopted himself to his surroundings. He learnt the tricks of his world easily, juggling with emotions, fending off the smiles, nurturing the anger, and worked his way to adulthood.
They were all disappointed in him. They were disappointed because they could never subdue him, corner him or attack him. They saw the despair in his eyes, dishonesty in his demeanour and lies in his smiles. They knew it all too well, they lived the same life themselves.They were disappointed that he was playing their game better than them.
He never knew when it had happened.
He remembers the unfamiliar uneasiness at night, at times the fake smile that pained his lips, the half-hearted nod that creaked his neck, the thoughts that propped themselves up from the depths and he assured himself that it was all good. He does not remember when it all went away. He does not remember when it all became too comfortable. He did not realise that a part of him had drifted away.
He never knew that it had happened.
Life to him was always a choice between the first or the last, the best or the worst. From the promise of a lifetime to a one night stand, he could sail through it all with same amount commitment or sacrifice. The amount that is just about right to get him the best or the worst at that point of time. He remembers the bus driver who used to pick them up for school everyday. He was always punctual, very careful and took pride in his duty. He would remember every child by their names, help them get into the bus, ensured that their parents picked them up from the bus stop before he left. The judicious bus driver annoyed him.
"Can I get you something?", she asked.
He looked up from his desk and frowned. What is she still doing in the office, he wondered. "Go home, Sheila! Goodnight." He dismissed her.
He stared at the screen. A happy family smiled back at him. A wife, two daughters and a house. How often does a man need a soul to make it all work? The thought never crossed his mind. He does not care if he needs one. "I won't be home, tonight. Got some work to finish." He called up his wife. A brief pause, and the click sound on the other end.
He got up. Took the lift and went down to the car park. Started the car and sped away to 46, New Port street. He jumped all the red lights, tried to run over every single pedestrian who dared to challenge the stealth of the night and managed to screech in front of his destination. He looked up. The light on the window of the 40th floor beckoned him. He was disappointed. He took his bag, got out of the car and locked the door. He looked up. Again.
And then it happened. First he started fidgeting. Then before he knew, he was running. He was running from the window of 46, New Port street, he was running from the Pontiac, he was running from the trees that guarded the pavement, the prestigious hospital where he practised, the bigger cabin that he had envied next to his, the prized seats for the next Sox games, the family that smiled back from the screen, the books that lined his father's study, the cheerful laughter of his mother, the village clinic where he did his internship, the girl he first kissed, the twinkle of her eyes that mesmerized him, the football he first netted and the first sigh that escaped him. He ran from it all, as fast as he could, he knew if he ran fast enough it would all go away, he would be able to let it all go. 29 years, 4 months, 15 days - all of it.
"Why are you sweating?" she asked. "Never mind, you are late. Come in. We are waiting for you." He stood at the door on the 40th floor, a lifetime later.
"Edward, Sameer is here. Let's start the paperwork." She sat down. The glasses, the coats, the pinstrips nodded. A mechanical voice read out, "At 1600 hours yesterday, a pair of kidneys were retrieved from an accident on I60. Dr. Sameer Sahani confirms that the kidneys match the proposed recipient admitted in St Johns hospital. The organs are being transported to St Johns hospital and can be transplanted by 0600 hours today. Dr. Sameer Sahani will be heading the surgery..."
Somewhere in St. John Hospital's ICU a pair of kidneys were denied it's last chance. Somewhere in a bank account a hundred thousand dollars were anonymously transferred, somewhere in a house, a mother turned on her bed hoping for a donor to save her daughter's life, somewhere a soul drifted further away.
What if, he had known what had happened? What if he had known when it happened? Would that save the arch-villain? Would he have ran? The fastest race of his life? Do we? Even after we know...Or is it that the true nemesis always knows it all. What happened. When it had happened. And that is their strength and their power? - The drifted soul?