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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In The End: Judgment

Out of the blue. It’s a phrase that people often use to say that something unexpected, something out of the ordinary has happened. To me, it’s just an excuse for not keeping an open mind. Seriously, if people would just take the time to expect the unexpected, we wouldn’t need to worry about entertaining ourselves. Life is plenty exciting without having to actively seek out ways to numb the mind. But, there are some things in this life that we have to sit back and be in awe of, not because they are astounding in their manifestation, but because they happen at all. That was yesterday. In a nutshell, out of the blue.

I woke up to the cell phone ringing near my pillow. Not one to be disturbed, I make sure that my phone is off at night, switching it on in the morning when the alarm goes off and I want to activate the “snooze” function. I must have let the first five calls go unanswered as I lazily and clumsily manhandled my phone to stop it from ringing. Half awake, my mind was already beginning a crazy series of interpretations of the incessant calling, seeing as to how they had come one after the other, like an endless attack of some kind. Number six was up. Face down on the bed, I opened my one free eye to look at the phone do a little pirouette around some central axis. Enough was enough. I was going to find out what this was about, and whoever this was was going to get a piece of my mind for waking me up at all on a Sunday.

Hello?” I groaned, questioningly.

Hello Rajiv? This is Paulson. From high school…” he seemed to half-inquire, tapering off at the end as if to let me know that he wouldn’t have disturbed me if we didn’t go way back. At least not on a Sunday morning.

Hey…Paulson…” I paused mentally, trying to put a face to the name before making an attempt at guessing what this could be about, “It’s been a while. How are you?”

I’m good. Hey, I know I woke you up, but I just wanted to tell you something. Something you will want to know.

Ok?” I agreed hesitantly, my attempt at trying to be cordial thwarted. Also, I was confused by how coldly he seemed to indicate that he wanted to tell me something. Something that I will want to know? It had all the trappings of a conversation about to go wrong. Worse still, it had been more than 10 years since I – well, now Paulson and I – had graduated high school. We hadn’t called or written, or anything. Now this.

Long story short,” he started out ironically, “Jonathan was in Kilivalam Central Jail, and they’re going to hang him. Tomorrow.”

…huh…(cough)…(cough),” I went, embarking on a long string of coughs because I had inadvertently inhaled a sputum of saliva. Shocked! “I…I…what? Are you sure? When did you find out? What…?” I enquired in dumbfounded surprise. Going from half-asleep to wide awake in the blink of an eye was causing my brain to go into overdrive, making me dizzy.

Look,” he heartlessly continued, “I just thought I should let you know because he was your best friend in high school. Quite frankly, though, it’s a case of good riddance…” but I didn’t let him finish.

Is this a sick joke? You lying sack of shit! You don’t call me up on a Sunday and tell me that…

Hey!!!” yelled Paulson, loud enough to knock back my surprised anger and return the favor, “I just wanted to let you know! You don’t even know what this is about, ok?” with which he cursed under his breath as he hung up. This is why we didn’t keep in touch, I was sure.

The next five minutes were stunned silence. I didn’t know what I felt more of, shock or anger. The combination, however, was potent enough to leave me sitting up in bed, kneeling, staring at my phone, which I still gripped tightly in my hand. Was it five minutes? I don’t know. But I only shook myself out of it when the cook came to tell me that breakfast was served. There was no time to lose. I had to find out what was going on.

Continue on to the following part - "In The End: Plea"

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