He was odd and he would walk around hunched with this peculiar gait that made him look like a wounded war veteran who limped. He seemed so absorbed with himself. I often wondered whether thoughts buzzed around inside his oversized head like flies circling a pile of garbage. He had this effeminate way about him, but his voice was a rich baritone that reminded me of the Contrabassoon. It still shocks me he took his own life because nobody hated him. Some, in fact, nicknamed him ‘a man with a thousand reflections’ and wanted to get to know him better, to put together the hundred pieces that made him so unique, so that they could get a glimpse of the solved puzzle. Loneliness isn’t about being alone in a dimly lit room with a back against a wall, smoking a cigarette; it is being surrounded by distinct realities or a hundred faces—each with their contours, pimples, wrinkles and facial hair (or lack of it)—and still seeing this thick impenetrable fog that threatens. Was he lonely? I don’t know, but then again, what do I know? I’ve lived with my wife for fifty years, and even though she’s been so forthcoming, I think I’ve only peeled a few layers of the onion. Every man’s mind is a galaxy, with ideas and constructs orbiting the core that make him. Sometimes I wonder if he was that complex, if he was an instrument like the piano with its tuning pins, soundboard, keyboard, bridge and case, or if he was just this hollow reed we mistook for a flute. The naïve often have this enigmatic charm that makes them so alluring and makes us see them from all kinds of vantage points, giving us a blurred reality. Maybe it was just us, looking through glasses or a microscope, when we should have seen him for who he was. None of it matters now. He sleeps, and with him rests an over-analytic mind that calculated the steps he took to reach the college canteen from the classroom, or an introspective one that told him that there was no escaping the frightening hands of fate, or a creative one that made him think he was like a character out of a fantasy book, grey in every sense, or a simple one that couldn’t get past some obstacle, and hence caved in.
Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff.
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