I find myself on my way to Paulson’s place. Place? It’s pretty much a mansion. The number of people he has as part of his staff to manage this little chateau must be the contents of an entire village somewhere. But I wasn’t here to take stock of his staff, or to exchange pleasantries. No, I wanted to ask Paulson. No wait, I wanted to tell him. To tell him that I was, at the very least, glad that he had told me about Jon in the nick of time. I wanted to tell him that he may think he won by sealing Jon’s fate, but that I was still grateful. I wanted to tell him this, that is, if I could keep up this little façade that I had all planned out in my head.
I was driving fairly quickly, but I didn’t know why. I was in no hurry to get there. I just wanted to get this out of the way, I suppose. After passing out in the parking lot of the Kilivalam Central Jail, I woke up at home, in my bed. I must’ve lain there for about a day and a half before I finally decided to do something. Then, I jumped out of bed, got ready, and jumped into the car to head to Paulson’s. There was a whole lot of planning, but there was no real plan.
I turned left off of the main road, and into a series of arterial lesser-main roads. After a couple of minutes, I was pulling up in front of the main gate of Paulson’s house. I swear, every time I saw it I was reminded of something out of King Arthur, always expecting some knight on his valiant steed to come cloppity-clopping out of it. But, all that greeted me was his squinting, profusely sweating, rotund security guard.
“Hullo, I am here to see Paulson sir,” I said in my best English-for-non-native-speakers-at-the-beginner-level language. Perhaps I overestimated.
“Saab nahin hai,” said the guard, almost begging me to stop asking him questions and to not force him to have to deal with me or anyone else in this heat.
“What?” I asked. I wasn’t particularly surprised that he wasn’t here. But at the same time, I wasn’t about to come back another time just to tell him what I had to say. I guess it was an annoyed “what” more than anything else.
At this, he felt the need to try and reciprocate, so he switched to English with a, “Saar naat heer. Saar gone. Saar gone.”
“Phhhffft,” I went as I tilted my head back and stared up at nothing but the roof of my car. “What time is he…” but before I could finish the question the guard was shrugging his shoulders vigorously, telling me that he didn’t know where his “saar” had gone to and what time he would return.
Sitting in my car, staring at this large target of a security guard, I too began to feel the oppressive heat getting to me, as the cold, air-conditioned air from my car escaped through the window I had rolled down to talk to the guard. The hot, wet and sticky air from outside was making me nauseous. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to have to return to Paulson. More than that, I didn’t want to have to remind myself of the events of three days ago. And Paulson was the only thing that would help me make that connection. I thought about it for a second, and then it occurred to me what I could do. I reached down, grabbed a pen and an old ATM machine statement that was faded enough, and scribbled a note to Paulson.
“Here,” I said to the puzzled guard, now more perplexed than uncomfortable, although you wouldn’t say that from his sweat-soaked uniform. “Give this to saar, ok?” I tried to convince him of the urgency of his successfully completing this task. “Give to saar.” All I got in reply was a furious, bobble-headed yes. That was it then. Done.
Peace. A word that means many things to many people. To some, it is the absence of war or conflict in the world around them. To others, it’s a state of existence achieved after understanding that states of being all emerge from the same source and are themselves, transitory. To me, on this afternoon, it was a lovely feeling of having my world make a little bit more sense than it did yesterday, or the day before. All the things that I would have said to Paulson, all the bombastic sounding ways of falsely thanking him that I came up with, all of that ended up as a three-word note on the back of an ATM statement. “You were wrong.” That was it. No matter what he thought he had achieved, Paulson was wrong. Jon did love Lisa. And he was in a much better place now. That’s all that mattered. That’s all that ever would. Peace. At last.