What happens to our childhood dreams anyways?
|Word Count: 931
Abid sat on the soft, leather couch all tensed up, as he waited for his name to be called. The lanky, dark eyed young man, with unkempt hair and an untrimmed beard, was dressed in his favorite gray, flannel suit--his only gray, flannel suit. The suit had been put through cleaning so often that its dark gray color had faded into a lighter shade. “For the last time, hopefully!” is what Abid had muttered that morning, while he was putting on the rugged coat for the sixth time in the same week. He hoped that he’d get lucky this time around--he needed to for the hospital bills were coming in fast.
His appearance was completed, surprisingly, by black moccasins, as opposed to the brown ones, which he had worn the last time he had gone for an interview. His old shoes, the brown ones which had been worn for four years straight, finally got respite as the right shoe of the pair had lost its sole while Abid was on his way home from a failed interview, only a day ago. The only remedy Abid could think of was to wear his father’s old, black moccasins, no matter how odd the belongings of a firm, distinguishable figure seemed in the possession of a scrawny structure, like Abid’s. The shoes slipped off from the thirty one year old’s feet, occasionally, because of the mismatch in size, but Abid didn’t mind--he didn’t have a choice.
The interview had been scheduled for 9:30 am. Abid had reached the designated office way before his scheduled time--8:45 am to be exact. Reaching the office by the prescribed time would have been a feat on its own, but the fact that Abid got there with time to spare was surreal, for the night before had been all but perfect for him. One would expect a person to prepare for a big day by resting their eyes the night before. But Abid had spent the entire night working on his English accent and fluency. The job required someone with fluent English and Abid knew it well. Abid also knew that his fluency and accent were far off from the required standards. Still, the standards that he had managed to achieve were no less than a feat, for English was nothing short of an absurdity in the slums from where he hailed. “Why am I required to be fluent in English when all I’m supposed to do is audit,” he had wondered for a second, while he was practicing speech in front of the mirror. He shrugged off the idea, however, for he didn’t have time to waste.
Human needs, however, don’t like being swindled. When Abid decided to spend the night practicing, he forgot a golden rule: You can only control sleep for so long; after that, the sleep controls you. The consequence of being forgetful was that Abid dozed off--on the soft, leather couch. His sleep was not serene obviously, but it was still...sleep. His resting of eyes, in the wake of his loaded mind, made him dream--still sitting on that soft, leather couch.
Abid saw himself, aged three, riding on the sturdy shoulders of his young father. He saw his little arms, spread far and wide as his father piggy-backed him through the narrow halls of their house. “Look at me taking off, Dad! I’m going to be an astro...an astronaut!” he found himself exclaiming. A wide smile was spread across his father’s face.
The piggy-back ride continued, as Abid now saw himself, aged seven, weighing down on his father’s shoulders, who wasn’t as young anymore. He was almost dragging Abid, now, but still maintained a smile about it. Abid, on the other hand, was screaming in joy, “Look at me fly, Dad! I’m gonna be a fighter pilot one day”.
The piggy-back ride ended as Abid, now aged twelve, walked hand in hand with his father, who had gotten a touch lean with a tinge of gray hair. They walked along the shore, kicking the pebbles and sea-shells that came in their way. “Look at me kick, Dad! Am I not the next superstar?” Abid found himself announcing. His father, on the other hand, was smiling.
Their walk continued as Abid--aged twenty--with his arm wrapped around his father--who had a head sprinkling with gray and white--entered a garden. Abid laughed, as he feasted his eyes upon nature’s marvels. “I’ll be a poet one day, Dad! You’ll forget Wordsworth once I’m through!” he heard himself announce, lost in the beauty around him. His father, on the other hand, walked silently, still smiling.
The walk led the two to a bed, on which Abid’s father was now spread, as a scrawny, old and obsolete display. Abid saw his thirty year old self now standing next to the bed, with tears welled up, saying, “I’ll take care of you, Dad! I’m an auditor now”. His father, though, was not smiling. He was in tears, probably at the catastrophe his long illness had caused.
Awoken by the hand of the secretary, Abid entered the interviewer’s office. He was feeling jitters throughout his body, more so at his dream than at the interview.
“In what capacity do you wish to join us, Mr. Abid?” the interviewer questioned.
“I...uh...am a qualified audi...”
Abid fell silent, staring blankly out of window behind the man.
“Is everything alright?” the interviewer inquired, now worried.
He watched, as Abid stared at the trail of an airplane. For him, the scene was weird, at best, whereas for Abid, that trail was a sign...of dreams left behind.