The loner. (This is a post I’ve written for the Indian Bloggers League. Do check the link in the end 🙂 )
“A pack of bread, 4 eggs and ketchup, would you need anything else sir?” The girl on the billing counter asked Jim.
“No, that would be enough. Thanks” Jim replied, with a refreshing and warm smile just like always. His face had something about it that made sure anyone would want to keep looking at him. An innocent smile and expressive eyes, just added to that. He was about 30, taller than an average human being, a muscular well-toned body and a fairly handsome look. There was nothing visible about him at the first look that would not make any girl fall for him.
He drove back 20 miles, reached home, went inside and sat on his chair. Lost in his thoughts, thinking about his life… Just like any other day. Sitting on that comfortable chair and listening to the radio, this was his daily schedule. He lived a monotonous and simple yet lovable life. All he did from morning till evening was to wake up, make his breakfast, have a walk, sit on the chair and listen to the radio. It was only in the night when he worked for an hour, the time when his own little program was broadcasted on the radio. He used to give people advice, those who had lost something or someone important and those who found life too tough to be lived. People knew him as ‘Elvis’. He never revealed his real identity on the show to anyone, and used the name of the person whom he used to listen to the whole day. “The Elvis show” only on channel one… people used to wait for it. No one knew who Elvis is. He didn’t like to share. But he did have a great insight in life which he used to solve others’ problems.
He had been living in the outskirts of Manhattan for more than a decade now. Alan was the only friend he had out in the city. He used to work for Channel one. He was the guy responsible for getting him the Elvis show there. Alan was probably the only person who knew who Elvis was.
“Why don’t you come back to the city? You would have such a great fan following here! People want to know who you are.” Alan always told Jim. “I’m fine.” was all he could ever get from him.
He liked living alone… no people around, not any disturbances and no one asking him what he does… just a calm and natural environment with the occasional chirps of the birds breaking the silence.
No one really visited him there. Even the caretaker of the old building near his house had stopped visiting. It was a great place though. Nature at its best with the fresh dew starting your morning and the beautiful flora covering the lands almost as far as the eyes could see. Jim had quite carefully chosen the place after completing his college from New York and coming up to a decision that living in the city wasn’t his cup of tea.
“Excuse me, is anybody there?” A female voice on the door said.
“Yes, how can I help you?” Asked Jim, reaching to the door. A little surprised as it was quite unlikely for this doorstep to see anyone else but Jim.
“Hi, I am Monica. My car broke down almost one kilometer from here. I was looking for some help but there is no one around. Fortunately I found this place. I hope you don’t mind me disturbing you.” She said with a smiling face. She did look in the need of some help.
Jim inspected her top to bottom. She must have been in her late twenties. She looked charming, dressed well enough to be in some executive meeting. “Yeah, why not. Come in.”
“So… tell me what happened” Jim asked her.
“Well I was going to the city, and as usual I chose to go against my father’s opinion of letting him drive me. And my car broke down while I was going through this area. I wonder why I even chose this route!”
“Maybe because you wanted to meet me” Jim laughed.
“Haha! I wish. So what are you doing here? This place is like… Remote! How do you manage?”
“Well I like aloneness. I think that people around you are just distractions.”
“Oh. I hope I am not distracting you too much.”
“Well I could say your beautiful attire is a little distracting.”
“Oh, so Mr. I like to live alone flirts too?” Monica laughed, trying to ease into the company.
“We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, where is your car? Let’s get you to a mechanic, there is one around 5 kilometers, I will drive you” Jim asked.
“Actually I really want to be in the city by tonight. But the mechanic you mention was closed. I remember seeing the board on my way here.” Monica said, worried.
“Oh… Then we can’t do anything but wait till tomorrow! Do you see any other option?”
“I am afraid not. Would you mind if I stay here till then?” She asked.
“No. It’s fine.” Jim said. Although his usual smile dimmed a little. His sub conscious was clearly looking for other options.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, why not. Come on in. Make yourself comfortable.”
“So what do you do for a living?” Monica asked. Sipping the coffee Jim made for her. For a lone guy who found company uncomfortable, Jim was being a pretty good host. In an hour long of conversation with her, not even once did he make her feel bored.
“Nothing. I have a decent bank balance to let me live like this for a long time”
“Wow! So you just, stay here all day?”
“Yeah. I find nature very pleasing. Plus I am kind of a spiritual person and these trees seem to have an answer to all the life’s problems!”
“That’s just great.” Monica said… “As much as I don’t like sitting idle, I’d not mind taking a break and having a life like you. Isn’t it great how you can just forget all the tension and feel at ease?”
“I sense some personal issues there. Mind if I ask?” Jim never liked beating around the bush.
“Well… I live a corporate life. Everyone chasing each other trying to have a beautiful life and wasting what they have! It’s a rat race.”
“Have you ever seen a eucalyptus tree?” Jim asked.
“Well my rule of being in a corporate is that be like a eucalyptus tree. Have decent characteristic to cure people, but your growth must be a threat to those who don’t like you. Not to mention have a complicated name which makes you sound important.”
“Do you have a solution for everything? In the last few minutes you’ve told me so many things!” She exclaimed.
“I don’t like to brag but there exists a solution for every question. And I seem to know it all” Jim winked.
“I think I’ve heard that before!” Monica’s face lit up. While Jim realized what he did right then.
“That’s a line from the Elvis show!” She exclaimed. “Are you a regular listener?
“Actually, I am Elvis. I like to solve people’s problems.” He smiled. It was the first time he ever told someone his secret.
“Great! It feels great meeting a guy who has no problems in his own life. He solves others’ instead.”
“That’s not true. I also have problems. It’s just that I can’t solve mine. So I concentrate on solving others’.”
“Really? What kind of problems?”
“Do you think I enjoy staying alone? My parents died when I was 13. I was an exceptional reader and learner. But I couldn’t make it to one good university for post grad because I couldn’t mix up with people. I felt abandoned every moment of my life and now I’m here, listening to over 10 people every day how much ruined their life is!”
“I’m really sorry, I had no idea about that. That must be hard on you.”
Monica had started showing real concern for Jim, now that she knew he was Elvis, the guy who had been an emotional support for so many. And she was getting to see the real him.
“So what do you do when all this becomes too much for you?” She asked, as they started walking inside the house.
“I take a walk, like we’re doing now. Think about the things, just vent the frustration out.”
“Must be tough since you don’t talk to people!” She said, as she looked towards the stairway going towards a small room.
Jim guided her in. The room had a shelf, with many small boxes containing human eyes in them.
Her feet froze right where they were… she counted the boxes. “Is that…? Are you a…. You… kill people…! 15 murders!!!” She stammered.
Jim came near her and whispered, “16”.
If you liked the story, do comment and like it here to make me win 🙂 ( http://www.writeupcafe.com/articles/942/77/the-loner/tab/2019)