Two Wrongs Make A Right
Two Wrongs Make A Right5 mins 234 5 mins 234
Gravity is working against me
And gravity wants to bring me down
- Gravity, John Mayer
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division blared from the cassette player for the umpteenth time. Ethan let the familiarity cocoon him. He remembered the lyrics better than his own name at times. It was either Joy Division or Joni Mitchell. His mother seemed to own the cassettes of only two singers. He loved them both none the less.
He knew he would be late even before he had woken up to the steady hum of his favourite song. Sometimes his gut feelings were a little too strong for his liking, just like on the worst day of his life. He had this restless feeling-- a premonition of how something was not right and nothing had been right that day.
‘Damn. Twenty minutes late. Maybe I should start predicting tsunamis or something,’ he whistled to himself.
Life didn’t go always as planned but Ethan Davis was not the one to care. He saw life in black and white cautiously avoiding the thousand shades of grey. For now, he was on “top of the world mood” instead of his usual “rock bottom” one. Life hadn’t been exactly kind to him over the years and last year had been the final straw when the girl he loved with all his heart had died. It had been exactly one year and forty-eight days. Also marking the first day of his last year of high school.
He took a shower, dressed for school and headed down for breakfast. He hardly talked to anyone in his family, a thing he had developed over the past year. All of them used post-it notes to communicate. So, everyone knew where everyone was through a stack of papers on the refrigerator. He had cereal and cheerios for breakfast, stuck a sticky note saying he was out for school, strapped his guitar to the back giving a once over in the mirror and started jogging towards the start of a new life or new hell?
Ethan had to catch the bus in order to make it to school for the second class. He ran as fast as his legs would take him and reached the stop just in time to hop onto the bus before it started for the next stop. He took a seat beside a middle-aged man with black curly hair and an unkempt moustache who was writing something on a notepad. He was dressed in shabby clothes and shoes covered in mud. The society would have labelled the man to be homeless but Ethan knew better than to judge someone solely on the basis of looks.
Ethan was panting hard and tried to slow his breath.
‘Water?’ the man asked.
‘Nah. I will be okay,’ he breathed out.
‘You know I haven’t poisoned the water even though my appearance would tell you otherwise.’
‘It is not your appearance,’ Ethan laughed and remarked taking the bottle from the man’s hands, ‘I just didn’t feel like having some but to quell away your doubts-- here, I’ll drink it. Though my mother did teach me not to take anything from strangers.’
‘Wasn’t that supposed to be candy?’ the man joked back with a smile that crinkled his eyes.
‘I am Andrew Henderson by the way,’ the stranger introduced himself.
‘I’m Davis. Ethan Davis. Way too different from James Bond apart from my style of introduction,’ Davis retorted.
‘Who is James Bond?’
‘Man! Do you live under a rock or what?’
‘Oh, I spent half of my life in Azkaban, if you’d consider that living under a rock,’ He murmured to himself under his breath.
‘What was that old man?’ Davis asked.
‘Just an old man’s habit. You headed to school?’
‘Yeah, I'm running late but school it is.’
‘I have a nephew in school too. I wonder how he is holding up. High school is tough isn’t it?’ Andrew mused.
‘It is tough but not as tough as it can get you know. Although it is different for everyone.’
‘Something tells me it wasn’t that easy for you but I’m glad you made it.’
‘Woah! Welcome to “Predict the Tsunami Club”,’ Ethan laughed out loud.
Andrew joined him in the round of laughter even though he did not get the joke.
It was a good feeling smiling after so long, Ethan thought. Maybe the day wouldn’t be as bad as he had thought it would turn out to be. He wondered how easily he had conversed with a complete stranger and how ironical it was that he couldn’t make it past the minimum necessary words with his own family. He wasn’t the one to complain though. He almost felt—hopeful? He knew better than anyone else that hope was a tricky thing. But just like water, it always found a way of creeping in.
The bus lurched to a stop at the front of his school, Indiana High.
‘This is me,’ Ethan got up from his seat, ‘Guess I'll see you around Mr. Henderson.’
‘Sure kid! See you around and have a good day at school Davis.’
He walked for a bit and reached the entrance of Indiana High and braced himself for the day. It was a prosaic place apart from the au courant entrance gate which was newly installed because some students had vandalized it as a part of the senior year prank last year. The façade of the school was as unimaginative as the rest of it. His junior year was different. Life changing somehow. He mused if it was only because Alina had wreaked a havoc of colours on this otherwise drab place.
Ethan couldn’t afford to think of her now.
He was exactly two minutes late for the second class and immediately broke into a sprint. Running was his morphine. His drug to make him forget all about his surroundings and trail of thoughts. He had been running in circles all his life. But when one keeps running in circles all their life, where do they find the finish line? His legs seemed to have a life of their own.
Suddenly, he was falling. He had collided into something or someone and there was paper everywhere but he didn’t care.
For the most part of his life, he couldn’t shake this feeling that he was free falling. But even in a free fall, gravity always pulls one down. Gravity was working against him. Gravity was always working against him.
He thought about that false sliver of hope again laying on the school floor. Love did tear us apart, he thought. He hadn’t slept through a night in the past year but now seemed to be a good time.