Act 3, Scene 3: Reading Unread

Prompt from here.

A few times the thought had occurred to me, yet no reason had ever risen for it to happen. It had always been a thought, a wishful thinking: a scene in which a simple thing happened and no consequences followed – as if it was just another sunrise and another sunset hovering above the polluted skyline.

I blinked, the last copy of National Geographic lying still on the shelf right under my nose. To buy or not to buy – that is the question. There wasn’t any obvious motive to get it other than the conversation I had with him two weeks ago, again revealing how he never ceased to amaze me with his ignorance towards the New World.

How does one not know about National Geographic?
Or is it just me being too geeky to grew up reading it instead of Disneyfied Grimm’s fairytales?
…anyway.

Precious minutes wasted, I gave up and grab the copy, then brought it to the cashier. Within seconds I’ve walked out the bookstore with the infamous yellow-framed magazine in my hand with unclear intention of what to do with it. Was it my old self trying to be nostalgic or my newer self seeking a justification for spending unnecessary money on something I’d give away in the end, I had no idea.

That was last week.

Until this day, the outdated copy is still lying on the table in my room, its perfectly smooth pages mocking my coward act the day I bought it. The circumstances had risen along with the will. Problem was, the courage ran away with its tail between its legs. I let the sun set once more without the magazine changing hands. Then another sunset. And about five more sunsets.

I blinked, the same copy of National Geographic in my hands while I sat on the edge of the bed – once again hearing the imaginary mockery coming from the same unread pages.

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Act 3, Scene 2: Sincerely

Prompt from here.

For the umpteenth time in the last two hours, I froze in front of the old Macbook with the tiny cursor blinking in the almost-empty e-mail draft.

Dear A

How do people write e-mails nowadays? How do they start? Do they still use the old “Dear X” thing? I took a deep breath and squinted my eyes at the screen, hesitantly pressing the delete button a few times and typed in something else.

Good morning,

The forgotten telly blinked on the other side of the room – could tell from the dialogues that it was still the House MD rerun. I’ve forgotten what it’s about since I tried writing this bloody thing. Good morning, though? It’ll be less funny if he opened the mail at midnight. Nah.

Hi,

The hell. This is not high school. And it sounds unprofessional. Let’s not jeopardize my own career here. Remember the big fat line between work and personal life.

Dear A,

Do I really have to use this format?

Dear A,
Thank you for

Thank you for… what?

I groaned, throwing my head back and stared at the ceiling, somehow knowing how long the night was going to be.

Act 3, Scene 1: Scent

Prompt from here.
A companion to this post.

The smell of cigarette smoke filled the usually sandalwood-scented room for a reason I still couldn’t justify.

I don’t smoke.
Nobody I grew up with had kept any kind of cigarette in the house.
I grew up looking down on every smoker I know.
They reek; their stench nauseate – but bearing it was a part of being social – meaning if everyone in your office smoked and you didn’t, you just have to hold your breath and pray you’d make it out alive.

I locked the door behind me and dropped the leather bag unceremoniously on the floor, the censor turning the lights on as I walked into the apartment.

There is always a first time for everything, people told me.
That night, shedding the clothes that brought in the corrupting smell in the first place felt like some kind of loss instead of relieve.

Took me three days and a coworker to realise how much of a dense idiot I am for not realising the reason why.

“Don’t you know? He’s a smoker.”