It’s him or her

Donna never has the difficulty to wake up in the morning and face the day head-on like today. She was in a daze the entire Sunday and later in the night she decided to do something to break the pattern of her thoughts. And nothing was more therapeutic than picking up a book and read. The decision to revisit all the classics she owned enthused her a bit. Yet in the morning she puts her alarm to snooze twice.

“How am I going to raise the topic up? How will she react? She is known for her violent outbursts. Moreover I could lose a friend”, she thinks aloud to herself while getting up from the bed hesitantly. “I can’t control life’s twists and turns. Little did I know we both would end up liking the same person”, she counters herself.

She chooses ‘Atlas Shrugged’ from the shelf, gets ready and runs to catch her train. Her commuting time is long and she can finish a chunk of the book in it. But she is unable focus. The troubling thoughts linger. The anxiety keeps on mounting as the journey towards her destination progresses. And it arrives, she gets down. She hopes the brain fog will lift after a brisk walk.

A man with a disheveled appearance seems to be approaching her.  Before she manages to move aside, she hears his voice, baritone and eloquent entirely defying his looks,” I am Christo, can I have this walk with you till the university”.

She is broken out of her stupor,” Do we know each other?”

“I know you and eventually you will know me after this walk”, he says confidently with a cut glass accent.

“A stalker…Could he be one? I must keep my calm” She thinks to herself and says “What makes you think I would agree to your proposition”

“You will because at this moment you need a sounding board. I could be very well one if you allow me so”, he says.

“What do you know about me? “, she says and she is rather annoyed by now.

“Ok! Let me clear up the air. I frequently take this train route. You may not have noticed me but I keep a note. And particularly today your being so pre-occupied caught my eye.”

Still suspicious of his intentions, she retorts,” You assume that the fact you claim to be a regular co-passenger makes you assume that I will open up with you. And anyway you are mistaken. I am absolutely fine.”

“Either talk to me or carry the burden. Make a choice. It’s him or her. What choice gives you more comfort? Make that and don’t look back”, he says and moves away leaving her speechless.

Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them”, he says as he dissapears.

That was the quote from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ she cherishes.

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9 Responses to It’s him or her

  1. KSCollier says:

    I’m not sure I would have said so much to a stranger, or had a stranger say so much especially an unusual conversation like this one. But he disappears, makes me wonder who was this guy? Right? Very good, but never quote italics. If he says it before he leaves it should be typed regular and not with italics and then you can quote it. Your explanation is enough. If he is quoting a quote it would be written this way—
    “‘Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them,’” he says as he disappears. (a single quote within a quote) But then, it would be wise to check “The Chicago Manual of Style”

    Makes me want to know more. Who was this stranger who seemed to know her so well?

    Good job!

  2. narayani says:

    Thanks for writing in. Appreciate your comments.

    It was the protagonist’s imagination. The stranger was not real. That’s what I meant. Perhaps left the end a bit vague. To put it simplistically, she is so much immersed into books that they speak to her.

    Am new to writing:) will definitely look up for the manual.

  3. Debasis Tripathy says:

    Your highly effectual, inconclusive piece of prose forced me to think. Good one.

  4. Bill says:

    To make clearer the imaginative man, you could say:

    he says as he disappears from her mind. (or thoughts).

  5. jude says:

    You have shown the different emotions Donna is experiencing with good use of the dialogue. An intriguing ending.

  6. Isai says:

    I love the plot and the imaginary guy (voice in her head/conscience)

    Great stuff! Be careful with your tenses……switching from past to present in the same sentence.
    Keep up the writing. xx

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