Life Goes On, But Past Keeps Coming Back
Fifteen days had passed. Fifteen days out of the prison, away from my family, away from home and away from all the hate. Nobody hated me here, they might not have any feeling towards me, but nobody gave me a disgusted look, no one punched me in face abruptly. And people like Andrew; I could really feel his love towards me. He was always affectionate, but never like a strict father, he was friendly and I thought I was able to fulfill the gap in his life. He took me as his own son.
I was good with Mark; he was a freshman, so like almost 10 years younger to me. Every day he would come and rant about so many things that happened in school. How he and his friends made fun of something, how the teacher was sleeping during the class test, which girl was sexy and all that...
"Hey Carson!" Mark's voice made me look behind. I just smiled and said a simple "Hi" much different to the excitement in his voice.
I was always like that; Mark would keep talking about so many things, but I would just stay silent and listen to his non-stop ranting. In some way, it made me feel good. At least somebody here cared enough to talk to me and did not bother about my past. He never really asked me questions, some small questions which I was able to answer without difficulty. Otherwise, he was a constant channel.
"You know what happened today?" As if I had a chance to know. Still I looked at him expectantly like I was very interested to know. Before I could ask him what happened, he had started talking. Typical him.
"Today Angela actually looked at me, smiled at me and she came to me and..." He paused when he noticed that I did not understand anything.
"What? You forgot Angela? Angela!!" I admit her name sounded familiar, like I had already heard about her, but Mark told me so many things about so many people every day, so I could not have remembered about every other person.
"Angela, I told you three... no four days back.. The girl wearing the red skirt... sitting behind me..." He kept on giving clues and finally I actually remembered. Well, she was one of the numerous girls in his school which he had been crushing since freshman years, but it seemed all the girls chose someone else. Poor Mark.
"Uh yes, I remembered." I smiled and he seemed to be assured that his talking is imprinted in my mind. "So today she talked to you."
"No man, when I said she talked to me. See I and Josh were standing at the locker. Well, I was at my locker and Josh had just come in from football ground. I tell you he smelt bad because of the sweat and immediately, he started changing the dress standing just behind me. Then Angela came and when I looked at her, all again the same feeling... My heart fluttered..." He repeated how he felt about Angela.
"...I also smiled. She waved her hand and came towards me and I was about to talk to her when she crossed me and straight into Josh's arms. I wish I had body like him." Oh, oh.
"Well, then why don't you work out and make some six pack or eight pack." I counted the number of books on the third rack. There were some customers roaming in the second floor, so I was keeping a watch if they had come down.
"Well, I really have no time." I could hear Mark's loud sigh.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I go to school. After that I come here and then I have to keep watch on my baby sister till my parents are home, then I do a lot of homework and a lot of study and again the same routine."
"Okay, then why don't you wake up early and try."
"I read till late night. See, how else I manage to get such nice grades?"
"Well, then you have great grades, if not body." Again loud sigh from Mark. I became busy in arranging the last stock. The new stock was supposed to arrive the next day and I or Andrew could go to collect it today itself. Suddenly, I found Mark behind me all excited. I turned towards him puzzled; the look in his eyes was priceless as if he had got some secret formula.
"Carson, you stay all day here, then how come you are so fit?" His hands immediately reached my upper arm and he gave a manly punch.
"Man, you really have got good muscles. I always knew it even if you wore these loose shirts." He shook my shirt as if it was hanged somewhere.
"Tell me how you manage to be so fit?" Any other person would have taken it as a compliment and I also took, but then it reminded me why I had these well-toned muscles and a fit body. It was the result of the daily workout at jail with whatever thing possible. Sometimes I simply used to do weightlifting with the rocks. I could not have told him that I was in jail for six years; he might hate me if he knew the truth. He generally did not ask questions to me, but he had asked then, I had to answer.
"Uh, I used to do a lot of workout." I dragged myself towards another rack, while he was still admiring my muscles. I had to keep myself busy in counting the books; I could not have time to think about these things. I had promised myself to behave better and be good for myself and everyone else. The memory of the past, well memory also was absent, but still, anything that related to my past only made me irritated.
"But, I don't think you do it now." He was again in front of me. I had to utilize my all energy to not shove him out of my sight. I again busied myself in the books and replied without looking at him.
"Well, nowadays I am running for an hour before I start for the shop."
"Oh okay." Probably he had sensed that I was not too comfortable answering his question. He turned and started counting the books on the other side of the rack. Soon it was time for Mark to leave, which meant it was time for Linds to come. She came every day, probably she and Andrew were really good friends and much known to each other.
Like every day, I went near the staircase to see Mark off, but only if he knew that my intention was to see Linds. Each time I saw her, my heart did some abnormal beating, like Mark's heart for Angela. But I never let her doubt about anything. From the first day our encounter was bitter, so I guessed she hated me. At least that was evident in the first few days, when she used to look up at me without any emotion.
"Bye Carson." Mark yelled while he ran down the staircase without looking at me. As usual, Linds's head shot up in my direction and she gave me a small smile. For last some days she had been really giving me small smiles, like trying to be polite. I never returned it though, somehow I was still not comfortable, and specifically after the dream I had about her, the first day.
But she kept smiling at me unaware of the emotions which rippled in my heart with that small smile. I just looked at her and came back to my work. I would not say the emotions were exactly romantic, but it was different, like it was familiar, like it reflected more than I could feel. I shook my head to mentally stabilize myself into book counting again.
After some time, the customer whom I had sent to second floor came back with a fiction book.
"So, you got it?" I asked smiling when he approached me.
"No, but I got something better. I will take this." He handed me a gray color covered book.
"Please come with me." He followed me near Andrew where I gave him the book details. I could feel Lindsay's glare towards me, but for once I also did not turn and say anything. When the customer left, I turned back to go upstairs, in the process making eye contact with Linds. She again smiled and got nothing in return other than just an acknowledging look.
When I reached back at my rack, I knew my heartbeat was not normal. I knew I had developed something towards this brown-haired girl, but was not too sure. Suddenly, I found out the book which the customer was actually searching.
"It should have been in the fiction department." I muttered to myself and went to keep it back in the fiction department, it might have been Mark's or my mistake that it was misplaced. After placing the book in proper place, I thought I might inform Andrew about it, so I went downstairs. When I reached the stairs, I could hear Linds talking to Andrew about me.
"Andrew, correct me if I am wrong, but Carson is different... I mean he acts weird." Linds hesitated saying each word. Andrew just looked at her once, gave a small smile and again got back to his work. He was working a lot lately as new stock of books were about to arrive and the old stock was finishing.
"No seriously Andrew, I know I can trust you, so I wanted to ask you..." She paused for a moment biting her lips. When Andrew looked back at her, she continued, "What's wrong with Carson."
Andrew removed his specs and placed on the table and took a deep breath before answering.
"Linds, as you trust me, I do so. So, I would expect you to not discuss about this, but actually Carson has lost his memory in an accident. He does not even remember his family or me for that matter."
I could see a number of emotions in Linds's face and a worried yet calm expression on Andrew's face. For next two minutes both spoke nothing and I stood silently on the stairs before the pillar where they both could not see me.
"I think it's too much for you to take in." Finally the silence was broken by Andrew.
"Yeah... I... did not expect this." Linds shuttered with her words while shifting uncomfortably in her chair.
"Anyway, it's not a good thing to discuss, someday I might tell you, but actually I am not sure if I want to recount those painful moments." Andrew said, but his eyes spoke a lot of things.
As I could see Linds could probably understand the intensity of these things and she knew there were so many things other than the memory loss about me. She dropped the subject immediately and diverted Andrew to another topic.
"Okay..." She still shuttered while starting the conversation. "Um... uh... anyway, Andrew I forgot to tell something important." Andrew gave his full attention to her.
"Well, you know the orphanage, where I used to go?"
"I was thinking how about I take some nice books for them. I am going there tomorrow."
"I was thinking why not I take the books from here."
"Sure. Go and see. If you like, then take as many as you want."
She was about to get up from her chair, when she turned and said, "Andrew, how do I carry all those books from here and to... there? Will you come with me?"
"Um, well I could have come with you, but tomorrow new stock of books is coming." She pouted and Andrew started thinking until he came up with a new idea.
"Wait a minute." He said to Linds and turned his head up and shouted, "Carson!"
I could not think why he was calling me; probably he wanted me to take care of the new stock as he would be going with Linds. Anyway, I was halfway through the stairs, so it took me some seconds to reach them. When I reached near Andrew, the look on their faces made it evident that they knew I had heard their conversation. But still Andrew told again.
"Carson, Linds here needs some help as she would be taking some books for an orphanage." I just looked at him blank, then he processed the information again.
"She goes to this orphanage regularly and she thought she would take some books for the kids. But she can't carry it there. As you know tomorrow new stock is coming, so I need to stay here. She was asking if I could come with her. But..." He paused and looked, and Linds once and again at me. "Why don't you help her in the orphanage and then you can come back to the shop."
I had not expected this, but something told me that some change was soon approaching. Every time I am with this girl, I have this weird feeling that something was going to change, but it always linked to the past. Suddenly the dream started playing in my head bringing back a little pain.
I have been meaning to upload this chapter from a long time, but just could not. Now you might be thinking, she has these chapters written already and she says she could not upload it?? Well, the problem here is - I have been very sick lately, so sick that it's even different to stand for half an hour. With great difficulty I manage to go office, so all in all - it's my health due to which I am not able to write anything. Because these chapters were ready already, so I am posting them.
Now, I am sorry for not being able to post for around 1 and half months or more. I will post as soon as I can, like I will survive. What are doctors for otherwise? As soon as I am somewhat okay, I will write and post new chapter of 'Strictly Professional'. I am not someone to leave things in between, I might pause, but I will return. Please bear with me.
@Mahak - Well, like I had already told, almost all chapters of this story will be of short length, it's already written, can't change it till chapter 13.
@Ams Kingston - Thank you so much for the comment. I am glad that you are starting to understand. Hope you keep reading, where are you by the way? I have not seen any update from you.
@Tamika - Hi, right, it would have been very bad if he knew from someone else. But he will discover these things himself. And he is a nice person, but I am not going to reveal anything about his past, until he himself tells you. And happy holidays to you too, hope you had great Christmas and New Year.
@XXscenegurlXx - You will come to know how this girl is related to him in the coming chapter.
@Anshita - Exactly, when you are not sure about yourself, how do you go about handling things around you? It's definitely difficult for him, let's see where it goes.
@Swaraj - I am so happy that you have read and liked the mentioned stories. Sorry for this late post, but I hope you understand my problem. Please read Author's Note. I will update 'Strictly Professional' as soon as possible.