He opened his eyes just a little, just enough to let the morning rays gently seep in. It felt warm and fuzzy, just like it always did.
Just another day, he thought.
He zombie-ed across the room to the bathroom where he would let the cold tiles and even colder water seal the deal, his return from Neverland. It always did the trick. Although he wished for once to wake up to a different world.
He waded through his closet that put a girl to shame, to pick up one of the six shirts he had worn the whole of last year. He never really understood why he had to have this huge collection of clothes that he would never wear. Although he promised himself everytime he went shopping that he ‘loved this shirt’. They looked bright and happy in the stores, but neatly stacked up on his shelves, they seemed to have died a little. Nevertheless, he had to be clothed, the world wouldn’t accept him otherwise.
The walk down the street felt like a deja vu everyday. Observing the same old people go on about their chores, ringing the same set of cabs and even hearing the same voice over the radio on his way to work. Even the smallest change en-route excited him now. As he got out out of the cab and walked towards his office, he looked eagerly for a face amongst the crowd that looked familiar. He had been here for so long now, they should have noticed him by now. The man behind the dainty French dessert counter, the lady sweeping away the leaves of yesterday or atleast the old lady who sat hidden behind the bouquets of roses and daisies. He always thought that one day he would send these flowers, from this very stall, to a person who could be worthy of it. Well.. he smirked and walked ahead. He probably wouldn’t, he was not that sort of a person, it would be too cheesy!
As he approached his desk, his desk that he had to pledge himself for the whole day, he remembered how excited he had been on his first day. He had felt that he had finally made a sensible choice, working with a big firm, and that too in a field that he had spent his childhood dreaming about. He had arrived, he thought.
His peers would envy him for being where he was. He had made his point; period. It would all fall into place now, he had thought.
And today, he looked at the chair. It greeted him with the same curiosity for the day ahead, that it had years ago. But it no longer challenged him. He had realized over the years that, people, the people he worked with, his peers, his colleagues, his boss, could always be counted on to jolt him back to reality: he was not living a dream, he was just slaving his way into their appraisal reports. He was not a hero, he was a slave.
And today, just another day, he found it hard to sit there. The rexin felt hard against his skin. The monitor blinked like it always had, but it hurt his eyes today. And when the phone rang, he knew what the voice from the other end would dictate. It was always a cold greeting and a parade of questions about the work pending that would end with an update from his side. They always sounded so rude and heartless in his head. They din’t care, he thought. Infact he wondered if they ever listened to a word he said.
But he would do it, still. He was not born yesterday, he knew how the world worked, what the corporate culture was all about, and that there was no place for elaborate greetings or genuine curiosity about the well being of the slaves. He has dealt with the likes of them before. It was a part of his life as he had accepted, a long time ago.
But it shouldn’t be this hard, that’s what worried him today, just a little bit.
The day passed just like any other. Programs and codes he once dreamt of cracking, he did without the blink of an eye. It did not matter anymore. He did them everyday, and there were people whom he had met who could crack them before he could think about it. It did not matter anymore. It did, once long ago, when dreams were still legitimate and ambition dictated every move. And back then he had promised himself, that the day he made it big, he would be very happy just doing what he loved. And he was.. happy, he thought.
Back in his room after the uneventful day, he sat listening to old melodies, nibbling on his cold dinner. He knew that in a matter of hours he would say goodnight to the world again, hoping halfheartedly to wake up the next day. As he listened to one of his favourite bands play, he remembered how as a child he had yearned for everything he had now. But why then, did it not feel right?
As he checked his mails one last time before calling it a day, his eyes fell upon his album. His collection of photos from his travels. That brought a smile back on his face. He had traveled a lot, mostly for work. Still, he had seen places, met interesting people who had given him rare insights, had experiences worth so much more than the biggest pay cheque he ever received. The pictures did not even begin to describe the powerful experiences he has had. And no matter what he did, they would always be a part of him. Everytime he revisited them in his mind, he could learn something new. And now that he looked back, he realized that had he not gone wandering, he would not have understood the importance of the life he lived, the luxury he enjoyed, the freedom he treasured. And he would travel more, he had his whole life ahead of him.
For the first time that day, he felt happy. He smiled and reached for the light.
As his room went dark again, he snuggled inside his comforter for another sound sleep. He closed his eyes and waited for sleep to arrive. Any minute now.
And then he saw it. He was sitting on a bench at a joggers park by the sea. Boston, was it? He vaguely remembered. Sitting there immersed in the beauty of the place in that time, in that moment. And at that moment, he longed to have someone sit beside him, to whom he did not have to explain just how magical the moment was. Just a hand to hold. Just a heart to love. An explorer like himself who drifted with him wherever their meandering thoughts took them.
He opened his eyes to stare into blackness. And he knew.
But he also knew, that when he woke up the next time, it would be just another day.