|Abandon (standard:drama, 4826 words)|
|Author: Bobby Zaman||Added: Mar 30 2002||Views/Reads: 1867/1157||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Two childhood friends discover the pain of growing apart.|
ABANDON by Bobby Zaman A cloud of smoke hung like a veil in front of Shehreen’s porcelain face. My back was knotted up like the innards of a car from sitting around and punching numbers for a dead end job at a bank. No amount of working out, racquetball, or yoga was doing anything to alleviate the pain, but still I dragged myself to Bally’s at the Landmark Century Plaza everyday. On top of that a nagging cough had recently taken over my life and Shehreen’s rampant smoking wasn’t helping. Shehreen, my childhood friend, the closest human being to me. She waved her hand back and forth like a windshield wiper to clear the smoke. I sank down next to her on the couch, exhaustion gripping my body like a clamp, but happy as a nymph that it was Friday. “This pregnancy crap is a killer,” said Shehreen and took a long contemplative puff of her cigarette. Anyone else and I’d be showing them the door for being inconsiderate and rude, but not Shehreen. She got away with everything, and had her own set of keys to my apartment. I’d renounce my parents before I’d ask her to return them. I considered myself pretty fortunate having a friend like Shehreen. She was the only person I saw on a regular basis since all my male friends got married, and two of them, the ones I’d been the closest with, already had one child a piece. My apartment was the home of a non-smoker, an occasionally healthy eater, and a round the clock insomniac that spent his nocturnal hours tapping away on a rickety typewriter, a hand-me-down from an affluent that lived in a suburb where real estate started in the three hundred thousand dollar range. This uncle had also severed all ties with the rest of the family, and I really don’t blame him, because our clan has a despicable habit of landing at relatives’ doorsteps, without notice, at the slightest sign of hardship. I’ll leave the biography of my life and times at that. And the tortured artist bit, about having the very life and blood of my passion being slowly extracted out of me for eight hours every day, all that’s for the diary. This is Shehreen’s tale. We’d known each other since we were three years old, Shehreen being four months younger. Our parents were college friends with a soap opera saga of their own. Neither couple had plans to procreate when we “accidentally” graced their carefree existence with an additional mouth to feed. In a way Shehreen and I were siblings separated at the last stage of shipping at the stork-yard, without the ties of blood, bound to take each other on a reckless odyssey of heartbreak, jealousy, and love. That’s why, in spite of my abhorrence toward smoking, I could never ask Shehreen to put out her cigarette, no matter how much it bothered my cough. Winter raged on outside making the air itself stiff brittle, and treacherous, with wind chills dipping to the nether regions of the barometer and penetrating the skin like a shower of pins and shooting straight to the bone. Opening a window was out of the question. The Friday revelers on my block were already coming out of their homes, scuttling down the sidewalks and hobbling into cabs. Shehreen snuffed the butt of her cigarette into an empty Coke can and immediately lit another one, then began an eloquent tirade. “Nabeel, darling, I swear,” she said, and before going on leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. “You know me. I’m not some radical feminist man-hating hag. But I swear, darling, this world would be so much better without men. The whole lot of them, good and bad. Because, even the good ones turn bad at some point. I know that’s harsh, and I sound ridiculous. Maybe it’s just this being with child that’s messing with my chemistry.” And so on and so on about Original Sin, spineless Adams, and ass kicking Fate. Her eyes shone throughout the speech like an empress’, as if she really was addressing a mass of oppressed and beleaguered souls. “I like to have a good time,” she continued, “and what do I get for it? This nonsense?” her hand fanned out on her belly like a spider. I shifted uneasily in my sweaty gym clothes. “It’s only been three weeks,” I said, the topic being far from the reaches of my knowledge, “Give it time, you might get used to it.” Shehreen’s head tilted as Click here to read the rest of this story (482 more lines)
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