by Man S
Friendship is unconditional
By Man. S.
Adrian was busy working with his project when bell rang. He rose and went to answer the bell. Liz stood there with books in her hand.
She had been to library to help Adrian collect data for his project.
Liz sank in the couch. She looked for the remote of the TV and looked quizzically at Adrian. Adrian shook his head and pointed to the top of the TV. She grabbed it and turned on the Z Trendz. Alice Cooper was playing ‘School is Out’ .
“You know, Jareena is planning to enter the Litfest”.
“Oh, since when bitches took for literature?”, she retorted.
Adrian shrugged off.
Liz made waves in the High East with her fictions that blew off the every topic possible. But her latest “Love Stinks” had bizarre plot. Every guy and gal talked about it adorably.
On the other hand Jareena set her unique place with her foul language, weird attitude and tattooed half exposed breasts. She went around the campus with guitar in her hand and high leather heels zipped to the knees.
“ I have been observing her lately. She has taken to fine taste.” Adrian ventured.
“Cool. You seem to go ga ga over her. What’s up man?”
“ Oh, Come on Liz. I am just suggesting….”
“ A man needs a break. Who knows one can get better of things?”
“Yep, You are right. Go on.”
Liz never liked Adrian talking about Jareena. Especially adorably.
“Coffee?” asked Adrian.
Liz nodded. Adrian disappeared in the kitchen.
After a moment they were throwing popcorns at each other in the middle of coffee sips. They were always happy in each others company.
Max found Liz bent over her books in the library.
“Hey sweetie, heard something about Jareena?”
“Oh, not again!” she glared at him.
“Oops, I said it.” He scratched his head.
“What are you reading at?” Max asked.
“Walter De La Mere”. Liz spoke with delicacy in her voice. Max understood what she was up to.
“Come on Liz, I am serious.”
“OK. Let’s face it. I am looking for some cue for my next fiction. Preparing for LitFest.”
“How do you think I would fare in it?” Max tried to observe her reaction.
“Max, I know you are a making of great writer. I always loved your plots. But your monstrous ideas beat me.”
“Yeah, that fucking sneering character with a knife that always prowls for nymphs. I hate those stuffs, you know.”
Max, at times wrote weird stories. Totally eccentric and off beat.
Jareena entered with Louis. Max fascinated her and gloated over her. Her head banging attitude was his style and type.
He stole a glance at her tattooed breasts. It was cool and sexy. She noticed it.
“What’s the use, man? You’ve never had shown interest in me.”
True. Sex never crossed his mind. He wanted to have an orgy with her rock attitude, not with her body.
“Fuck it.” She seemed disappointed when she made an advance and Max drove home that he was not interested. He was disappointed too. He wanted to see Jareena with an attitude.
“Hey, SMF, what’s up?” She pushed Max.
“Nothin’, tryin’ to mess up with you. You know.”
“Wanna give a go to jamming tonight? At my stinking apartment?”
“I’d love to.”
The night was steaming hot with booze and cigarette. Jareena took rhythm and Max took lead with Louis on drum. They began with Bon Jovi’s ‘Lay your hands on me’. Jareena sounded hoarse and horny every time she screamed ‘lay your hands on me’.
‘Oh man, it is driving me insane.” Max thought while ripping off a solo. Jareena had a scent of it. She went berserk with her guitar and seconds later she tore off her bra and flung it in the air. Louis ended with high adrenaline four by four and the party collapsed with famished energy.
‘Wow, it was high octane gig.” Max said.
He picked up the bra and handed it to Jareena. She took it casually and put on with no haste. Max lit up a cigarette and offered her. Louis prepared another refill. This time it was Smirnoff.
Louis got heavily boozed and went to snore on the sofa very soon.
Jareena moved to her bed room and Max got out to sleep in the car.
Max felt a tug at him at night and found Jareena pulling him to her bedroom. She knew it was too cold to sleep in the car. Max and Jareena slept in the bedroom hugging each other but sex was no territory for them. It was cool relation. A relation of mind, magic and music.
Liz and Adrian smoked with fury when they learnt about his adventure the previous night. They were very much concerned about Max. They were the friends world has never known. Max’s most prized possession in the world. Liz never liked Jareena, specially her attitude. She thought she was bent to ruin Max. Adrian was indifferent. As long as Max acted normal, he was fine with all this.
‘They are talking about you. A controller and evaluation volunteer. Huh…..”, Liz said one Sunday morning. The deadly trio, they called themselves, lived together.
Max nodded munching at burger.
‘Do you have any idea that you are screwing up the proposition?’ frowned Liz.
Max looked at Liz. He moved closer to her, put her hand on her shoulder and said, “ I know, you are my gem, and my best well wisher. You would never let it happen. Would you?”
Liz turned her gaze and looked at Adrian who was busy reading ‘The Rich Dad, The Poor Dad’.
“Adrian, would you say something to this nerd.” She shouted.
Adrian raised his head from the book and dismissed the request with shrug of his shoulder.
Liz pushed Max and rose from her seat. She went in her room and banged the door close. Her fury was obvious and to some extent she had the right to do so.
Max was bent to ruin himself. He never cared for anything.
He sat down staring at the closed door.
‘I am paying for my choice and won’t stop until I get even with it.” He thought.
Max learned from his experience. He had always been a silent guy who would never reveal his feelings. In his innocence, he believed everyone thought the way he did. With many failures in his attempt to seek true love, he had come face to face with life. His relation never found a meaning. He found that everyone was cruel and may be he failed to understand the people he came in contact with. Or he was a gullible that ran into obscure field. Now he realized it is better to resign to what he has. But his complex nature forced him to reject the reality. He could not come to term with his life. Eventually, he had decided to screw the life he was living. He cared for Liz and Adrian. They were the loveliest people he had ever known. He felt sorry for them.
“Max, wanna have coffee?”, Liz asked the next morning.
“No”, he replied. Hangover was killing him. The night was another one full of beats and distortions. Jareena had forced him to go for grass. For him it was new experience. He thanked Jareena for introducing him this lovely stuff. He felt very light and floating. He found headbanging was an exciting experience with grass.
“You should have been ashamed of your condition last night. That bitch, I wish I could shoot her.” Liz murmured. She was going to Adrian’s room with coffee. Max cursed himself for making her miserable. Yeah, he should be ashamed of himself. Not for getting boozed but for hurting her.
He got up from the bed and entered the Adrian’s room. He went near Liz and looked into her eyes. Adrian was indifferent.
“My dear Liz, you know, I can die for you. The only thing that happened best for me in this life is you. Otherwise I would have perished long time back.”
“Would you please be sensible?” , Liz retorted.
“Ok, I will try not to booze. Is that ok?” Max replied.
Liz was very angry. She would not believe Max. Adrian, for the first time, realizing how much he was a pain for her, spoke.
“Listen Max, this is going far too much. We care for you. It hurts when we see you coming late night stumbling and knocking yourself down. And now you have began drugging. Come on, don’t push it too far.”
He was right. I should have known it sooner.
But when Jareena showed up, Max forgot his resolution. She was an antidote for his broken existence. Rock, grass, and Jareena were indispensable for him. He was going insane day by day. It tore Liz apart.
The taxi stopped at Cross Road. Jareena lived two building ahead. Liz looked up towards her lane of apartments. She paid the taxi and moved towards the apartment. Now she could hear the heavy music and shrill and baritone voice making imperfect harmony. As she drew closer, music grew louder and painful. She knocked at the door. But the harsh music continued. She looked for door bell. The door was in dilapidated condition. She banged at the door and waited for few minutes for the response. Now she was raged but before she could make an violent gesture, the door opened and Louis appeared at the door.
“Max, you have got a visitor.” , he said throwing a casual look at Liz.
“Max, come with me.” She said.
“ Don’t you see we are in the middle of something?” roared Jareena.
“You fuck off.” Liz said sharply.
“Lick my ass.” She turned and disappeared in another room.
Max chose to go with her. He could not deny anything to her.
She did not talk to him in the taxi. The silence was torturing him.
“You are leaving for Florida. I have settled everything. It is good company. They are paying you handsome amount for your books. You need to go and sign the contract.”
“ But, passport, visa, money? I ain’t got nothing.” Max was puzzled.
Liz had been working for all these things without Max being informed. Everything was taken care of. Only thing he had to do was say yes.
Finally, Liz had done what she had been aching to do. She always believed in Max’s creative skills. She had read his books. Her creative mind appreciated the flair of his art. She wrote on pessimism in love while Max looked at complex nature of love. Both excelled in their genre. Liz wanted those books to make available to common people and let the world know his qualities. But lately, Max had gone into weirdness and wilderness. She observed him allowing his life to slip away into waywardness of wanton indulgence. With his drug addiction mounting, her restlessness became torturous. She could not see Max withering. She never understood the reason behind it. And Max never allowed anyone to peep into her very personal psyche. You know he was that kind of chap. He had withdrawn himself from world.
“Huh…….what are you staring at?” Liz noticed Max looking at her.
“I don’t want to go away. I am addicted to your company. Your absence will kill me.” Max said.
“We are always there. You are not going away. You are here.” Liz touched her bosom with her palm.
Max looked away. The idea of going away from her was a pain.
He did not speak for sometimes. They walked home while Liz talked a lot about his future plans. Max’s face had distortion. It was hard to control emotion especially when it is overflowing for someone.
He made a decision.
Adrian and Liz sort of cried when they saw off Max. They promised him to visit often. Max did not say anything. Something choked him off. He felt as if his world had fallen apart. The world seemed like a dungeon and he was trapped in the world of cruel and savage people. The barbarism ruled and the rulers surrounded him with spikes and spears jeering at him. Laughing mercilessly, pushing, and dragging him like a prisoner. Liz stood like a barbarian queen and Adrian the King Tarquin.
His face was stern and stiff. He smiled at them. Grabbing his guitar, he swung around and moved to board. The flight took off after half an hour. He looked out of the window. Liz and Adrian were looking at him until the sight grew hazy and blurred. He closed his eyes.
Adrian woke up with a start. Liz was tugging at him. Expression on her face told him that something was wrong.
“Look at this mail from Alcatraz. Max has not reported yet.” Her voice was distressed.
“But he left three days back.” Adrian said.
“What the hell is he up to? This man is a pain in our neck.” She was angry.
Adrian jumped off his bed and said, “Grab your suitcase. We are leaving for Florida.”
“No.”, Liz said. Adrian looked with wonder. It was not her.
“Excuse me….” Adrian said.
“Let him go to hell. Why should we care for him? He does not have any care for us. It hardly matters to him that we are suffering just because he is perishing. How can he be so thankless...?” Liz was crying.
The door opened and Max entered. Liz raised her head. She stood up and rushed to him. Her hand swung around. Max went on his knees and wept bitterly. He held to her and cried. She stood motionless allowing him to go on. Adrian looked on. He was in a fix.
“Please, Please, don’t send me away from you. These two days have been monstrous. I can not stay away from you. Please….please….” he was crying bitterly.
“Max, stop this crap” Liz shouted. “You are incorrigible. You have disgraced our friendship. Please go.”
“Please.” He turned to Adrian.
Adrian took him in his arms. He looked at Liz. Liz turned around and left the room in a rage.
Adrian took Max to his room.
“Hey, you asshole, where the fuck are you?”, Adrian came out to see who was shouting.
Jareena stood at the door. Her eyes heavy with grass and sleeplessness. She pushed Adrian and entered the room.
“Where is that fucking asshole Max?” She enquired.
Max came out.
“What the hell…….?”
“Why did you not pick up my phone? I have been calling you like a fucking shit. And how did you dare to hang up on me last night?”
“Please, leave.”, Max whispered.
“What?” She looked shocked.
“I said leave.” Max was as soft as possible.
Jareena walked out stamping her foot.
Liz stood at the window. A smile flitted across her face. She felt she had conquered the world.