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alcohol John was agitated that day because his fifteenth girlfriend gave him the information that she had found a reliable and trustworthy partner. She had decided to move out of his life, this news was quite shocking for him. He was left all alone in that one room apartment with lots of beer in the fridge, heavy exercise equipment’s, thousands of pictures consuming lot of space in his computer’s memory, boxes full of uncooked meal, and an empty bank account. Their were too many happy memories floating around in his apartment which were slowly converting into nasty ones, showing their real colours by teasing him. He wasn’t angry because she went away from his life, he was angry because firstly, she left him before he could make that move; secondly she didn’t gave a notice in advance and thirdly, because she did this on weekend. He wished to go back in time and be the first one to call off the relationship.

Following his relationship ritual he opened his computer, deleted most of the pictures which had Claudia’s face in them, he saved few and named the fifteenth folder 15th closed – Claudia. A new folder with a name 16th open –Suspense came into existence. Sound of his music system was raised sky-high, he sang loudly until his throat gave up completely, danced like he never did before and finally sat on the floor with his head touching his folded knees. His happiness was slowly changing into sadness. When he couldn’t handle this change of mood and energy he broke into tears. For an hour all his belongings and four walls witnessed a cry from heart. He was having a difficult time in accepting the fact that a relationship door could close on his face. In general, John used to be the one who took the decision to open or close any relationship doors, but this one came as a big surprise. He felt as if he had become a tiny being who was left all alone in that big heartless world, there was no one who could feel his pain, everyone had become blind, deaf and dumb. Even his land lady who always used to come running on a drop of a pin, didn’t came to rescue him. He thought, it was all over for him, his destiny was going downhill, and he declared it to himself that from now onwards his life was going to be miserable for ever. A thought about committing suicide also crossed his mind but then he used his last remenants of wisdom and ignored the evil thought. On this rare occasion he also missed his parents who lived at the other end of the planet, he missed his childhood friends and his innocence which had left him long ago. Earlier, he had no time to think about the past, and the past connections, now he had all the time in the world but no one was available to hear him.

He lied down on the floor, his eyes were blood-red, his face was washed up with real tears, he also knew the art of faking but in his sad and lonely moments he normally used to practice his honesty skills which was penetrated in his mind forcefully during childhood. He looked helplessly at the window, perhaps waiting for the girl to come back to him. He even thought, that if the bell will ring, he will take little longer to open the door and then finally when he will open it and see Claudia on the door with bundles of flowers and mouth full of apology, he will simply ignore her. May be after twenty minutes he will hug her, may be than they will cook their favourite meal together or may be they will go for a drive along the lake side or may be they will watch a movie on their couch with a box full of popcorn or may be they will go for a walk in the garden outside. During their time together he will pretend as if the apologies were accepted but he is still little sad about her actions. Than she will do everything possible to make him happy. He is going to enjoy every single moment of it. He decided to take everything very slow, simply to activate her realisations and to give her a signal that such actions have potential to lead towards miserable and unhappy consequences. He also thought for the first time how will he propose her to marry him. He felt he could die for her, and she was the only person in the world for whom he could do that.

But the bell didn’t rang….!!

All of a sudden, all the faces of her earlier fourteen girlfriends appeared in the room, right above his head in a circle, they all started laughing at him. All his wrong deeds in the past started coming back in his mind one after the other. Carrying sadness and embarrassment in his heart he quickly got up from the floor, picked the clothes which accidentally fall out from his untidy cupboard, somehow he managed to get his body in those clothes. In a hurry he locked his room, presuming all his memories and past deeds will also be locked inside. He took the stairway, didn’t wanted to face anyone in the lift and ran towards his garage. On the way, he got the glimpse of his happy moments back when he saw a bunch of his bar acquaintances coming towards him. He decided not to share any of his personal stuff with them, he behaved as if nothing happened, greeted and followed them at the bar. John drank, and drank and drank until he couldn’t. All that he was trying to hide came out like a free fall of water from his mouth, the world got to know everything that was kept secret. He was little helpless earlier but was able to carry his weight on his feet and dignity on his shoulders by himself. Just within few hours he was a man who was fully depended on other’s pity and shoulders. Earlier he had no control over his one single few months old relationship now he had no control on his tongue, his feet, his emotions, his body and his life on the whole. He was stinking like a pig and behaved like a wild animal.

After the barman kicked all of them out, his bar friends dropped him on the road like sac of potatoes which could not be sold in the market because it had no utility. Entire night he slept on the path, like being in comma. When he got up in the morning, his mobile, credit cards, cash and car was missing. His head was spinning, his clothes were torn, somehow he managed to get back to his apartment. It was also empty, all his belongings were stolen and his acquaintances whom he considered friends were not picking up their phone. Something was lost due to his destiny, rest he lost himself….!!

His integrity as well as the honour of his family was scattered in that bar room in midst of the strangers that night. In the morning he became the talk of the town, a clown and man of no substance!!! He was left with nothing, he cried and cried and cried but it was of no use. Destiny did nothing, he did everything to himself.

After that event, he couldn’t find a decent job in any office, he lost his confidence. Rest of his life he earned small money working as a joker in a town circus. He also volunteered in a help groups to explain alcohol addicts about the negative multifold impacts of alcohol on his life. His free of alcohol life and voluntary services for the community did gave him a wonderful surprise gift, he met the right women, earned respect in the society, government announced an official award and title for him as “best joker of the town”. He became quite rich, famous and continued his work on stage as well as in the community. John renamed his sixteenth folder – 16th Open and Closed forever – John and Sara. Made for each other couple lived with their three children happily after…….!

Author: Rashmi R-R

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Joker

“…..Alcohol ruined me financially and morally, broke my heart and the hearts of too many others. Even though it did this to me and it almost killed me and I haven’t touched a drop of it in seventeen years, sometimes I wonder if I could get away with drinking some now. I totally subscribe to the notion that alcoholism is a mental illness because thinking like that is clearly insane……”

– Craig Ferguson American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

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