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  • Teachers' Club Nepal
  • My Age : Samyam Shrestha

     

    Today I might have been 33. You might think it weird that I am beginning this story by telling you my age but it’s kind of important because it’s the only thing I have got left. I am an orphan. I don’t know whereabouts of my parents and also don’t have any clue whether they are alive. I was raised in orphan care. But finally the people who were taking care of me did not see any “potential” in me and started “the discrimination” by keeping me out from the rest of the group even though we had the same thing in common, no parents. That’s when they started to get physical. So I ran from that place. I ran as fast as I could and didn’t look back. I didn’t look back at the so-called sympathy and the temporary house provided hoping that one day I would become great and make their name shine the brightest. I didn’t run towards a particular destination but I ran away from hell! Things can change very fast. The place that was once a heaven to me now was nothing more than a place that I wanted to forget. I didn’t have a name, an aim and not even people to care about hoping they would also do the same for me someday. After a lot of running, I ended up in an abandoned barn. It was totally deserted especially of intelligence. I started living there not because I didn’t have anywhere else to go but it made me feel as if I was already there where I was supposed to be. The place was not quite empty though. The largest animal on the property was a horse. I don’t know how it got there and most importantly how it survived there but it did. I guessed it was a survivor like me. Seeing her beauty and agility (I don’t know why) a name popped in my mind. Lucy.


    After three months and thirteen days in the barn, I woke up to find out that my Lucy was gone. She could run with the wind and a touch of beauty was forever present throughout her body. She was the fastest horse I had ever seen and willingly the fastest I would ever see. I thought she was the guardian of the place and she passed on the responsibility to me hoping as well as trusting that I was the right person for the job. I don’t know if you call it hope or dream but everyone has that desire; desire for good fortunes
    and never ending moments of happiness. Hopes about being rich, dreams about getting everything you ever desired and other wishes that never come true. Some may come true and people call it “luck”. Today is one of my special days as it is my fourth birthday of the year. I don’t know when I was born so I celebrate it randomly envisaging that someday it would actually be the right day. I am on my own so I celebrate it alone except a few chickens, thinking that they are the envoys of God. I’ve tried for jobs too but everybody thinks that I am a sub-human and they don’t have a ‘suitable’ job for me. I started growing crops in my farm and chickens too and that was the way I would get on with my life. The weather outside was hot as usual with some occasional cool winds. Everything was going on according to the routine. I was sleeping, chickens were going round in circles of the whole farm in search of food simultaneously. The woeful silence of the morning was broken by a wobbling old car moving in a jerking pace. Finally, it came to a complete stop just on the trail that led to my barn. I tried to peer inside but the windshield was so covered in dust that the transparent glass was impossible to look through. After months, another man was in the barn. Another piece of intelligence than my own, like I had an intelligence! “Shit!!” came a cry from inside the car. Finally he opened the door and stepped outside. He had heels on? I am sorry, make that another ‘woman’ in the barn. “Morning,” said I with a rather confused tone. I guessed I was just surprised to see another living soul in my barn, not that there were dead souls here. “Morning,” said she. “Is that barn yours?” she asked pointing her fair and polished finger towards the farm-house. “It sure is.” I admitted with a smile. “I kind of want a favour from you. Do you have a phone? Or do you know the nearest mechanic’s shop?”
    “Nope. I don’t have a phone and I sure as hell haven’t seen a mechanic around.” She then went to the back of her car and started hustling with some luggage. Meanwhile, I was staring at the car and thinking about how people made it. My knowledge about science was limited. I only knew that water boils after heating. I smiled thinking how dumb I
    was. She came to the front of her car with some bag. “Well at least do you have a place to stay for the day. My car as you see has broken down and it’s freaking hot out here.” “Sure. I’ve a lot of place here. Let’s get you inside away from this heat.” God. I’ve tried for jobs too but everybody thinks that I am a sub-human and they don’t have a ‘suitable’ job for me. I started growing crops in my farm and chickens too and that was the way I would get on with my life. The weather outside was hot as usual with some occasional cool winds. Everything was going on according to the routine. I was sleeping, chickens were going round in circles of the whole farm in search of food simultaneously. The woeful silence of the morning was broken by a wobbling old car moving in a jerking pace. Finally, it came to a complete stop just on the trail that led to my barn. I tried to peer inside but the windshield was so covered in dust that the transparent glass was impossible to look through. After months, another man was in the barn. Another piece of intelligence than my own, like I had an intelligence!
    “Shit!!” came a cry from inside the car. Finally he opened the door and stepped outside. He had heels on? I am sorry, make that another ‘woman’ in the barn. “Morning,” said I with a rather confused tone. I guessed I was just surprised to see another living soul in my barn, not that there were dead souls here. “Morning,” said she. “Is that barn yours?” she asked pointing her fair and polished finger towards the farm-house. “It sure is.” I admitted with a smile. “I kind of want a favour from you. Do you have a phone? Or do you know the nearest mechanic’s shop?” “Nope. I don’t have a phone and I sure as hell haven’t seen a mechanic around.” She then went to the back of her car and started hustling with some luggage. Meanwhile, I was staring at the car and thinking about how people made it. My knowledge about science was limited. I only knew that water boils after heating. I smiled thinking how dumb I was. She came to the front of her car with some bag. “Well at least do you have a place to stay for the day. My car as you see has broken down and it’s freaking hot out here.” “Sure. I’ve a lot of place here. Let’s get you inside away from this heat.”

    “So how long have you lived here?”
    “A decade or so” I lied. It didn’t have any point in doing so but still. After that it got awkwardly silent until we got inside, settled down and were enjoying the cool and occasional breeze. Well, at least I was. She was already working on her car which took a lot of work getting it inside the
    barn. “Hey, I don’t even know your name. What’s it?”
    “Julie and yours?”
    I admit that I hadn’t used my name for quite a long time but I didn’t have the slightest clue that I would completely forget it. I mumbled something and said, “You can call me anything you like Julie.” She gave a faint smile and guessed a few names before, “I got it, and I’ll call you John.” The
    way she looked at me was enough to make me certain that she might be ‘the one’ for me. I liked the sound of that. John, not bad. “Sure, I’m your John then.” She laughed again and then went back to work at her car. “Do you know anything about cars,
    John?”
    “Nope.”
    “Then I’ll teach you something, come here.” After those few words, started the car-a-thon. She started telling me all about cars, its engines, propeller and all those stuffs. But I didn’t hear the most of the narration as I was too busy gazing at her beauty and how her lips moved in a certain rhythm. Sometimes life is intoxicated when you realize that there will be no one waiting for you when you return from work or even a small visit to the groceries shop and you feel that you have nothing or nobody.
    “And that’s how you get the thrust to open up.” She finally concluded.
    “Wow. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t hear it from you.” It was almost 7 in the evening and the sun was slowly descending in the far horizon.
    “God I’m hungry,” said she while looking at me. Her look was enough to make my hunger go away.
    “I’ll get you something but don’t expect something fancy.” She smiled as if she knew I was going to say that.
    I cooked up an egg for her along with some vegetables I had grown in my own backyard. She ate it and after that I suggested that we go out for some air.

    We walked talking about past and what we were going to do in the future. We took turns explaining the details. We had only gone as far as the grass field out in the front of the barn when I suddenly slipped and fell.
    “Are you all right?” She came towards me, and like a replay of my little accident, she also fell and landed a foot away from me.
    Then we both started laughing as if we intended to fall down. Due to the whole day’s work and the recent dinner that we had, we were kind of unable to move. We stared into the sky. The night was clear and the stars were shinning the brightest than other nights. The occasional cool wind which swayed through the grasses silently went from over our face leaving us refreshed.
    “Look at those stars, so bright. Do you know one thing about them?” she asked and answered it
    almost instantly. “They all are in a certain pattern and some believe that they are somehow related with how our future will shape up.”
    “I actually don’t.” I said. That’s when she started to go in detail about few of the pattern that were visible to us right now and again started the star-a-thon. But this time she was even more beautiful than she was inside the barn with the wind playing with her blond hair and the way she used a finger to perfectly place it back into place was magical. She looked at me and we had eye contact. I don’t know how long we stared at each other but I can say that it was quite a long time. She then came closer and whispered something to me.

    “You are a good person John and let nobody tell you different.”
    After that she decided that it was finally time to retire for the day.
    I thought that I was the early person in the whole world but when I got up the next morning she was already packing her things that she took out yesterday.
    “Hey John, guess what? I fixed the car. Thank you so much for letting me pass the night but I really need to go now.”
    I could see the longing in her eyes that she never wanted to go. Well at least not now. But I lacked the courage to say something about it.
    “So, are you leaving?” I asked though I knew what the answer would be. There are times in life when we feel as if everything is lost and moments when even hope is hopeless. I know this wasn’t one of those moments but it was something much worse. She gave a slight nod and headed towards her car. Well that was the last that I saw of her.


    A year later

    The sun was beginning to disappear in the far horizon and a heavy atmosphere warned us beforehand that a strong storm was soon approaching.
    “Is she here yet?” asked Frank who was my partner in the new “J and J Motor Repair Center”.
    He had been asking the same question for almost a year now and I would always have the same answer.
    “Nope.” I sighed. “Don’t know when she would arrive.”
    “Julie, right?” he asked but I knew it was not a question.

    “Must mean a lot to you as you have named the shop after her. Hope you get her soon.”
    I was now somewhat a mechanic. I opened a small auto repair shop just at the far end of the barn which was facing the highway. Since it was the only repair shop on the road, it was always busy. Frank retraced his steps back to the shop and I was about to follow him inside when I saw a car approaching with the disappearing sun in the background. The car halted right before me and the door flew open quite instantly. Then a leg struck out from the door which could not have been more perfectly shaped. It had heels on.
    “I am looking for a mechanic….” She searched for a name tag. “John, I believe.”

    Samyam Shrestha

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