Monday, 3 March 2014

I Want My Cigarettes

“I want my cigarettes”

She was waiting, yes she was waiting, on the other side of the river, I had to get across this bridge, the sound of the cars was deafening, traffic was dense as I walked through the narrow bridge. I was being given glares by the cars that passed me by.  I was really in a hurry, I had to meet her today and it was urgent, she had called me and told me to come by the river. 
The bridge seemed too narrow but then it had FoReVeR written on it, I never saw it coming, we had been friends for over 4 years and this last year had seemed tough to get by, I had fallen madly and deeply in love with her this year.
“You are a married man.”
“Yes but it makes no difference to me today,” I had replied back.
“I am touched,” she had sarcastically mentioned and walked away.
For two days I had waited for a call.  Desperately, my soul had wanted to know that it was alright, that she missed me as much I did her, “Don’t,” my mind had snapped back at me, “Don’t get into an emotional entanglement, life is one big party,” but in this consumed state of mind, I didn’t listen.  I continued to dream about her, her eyes were fascinatingly large and wide and I continued to drown in them, thinking of her was like an addiction, too good to be true and too hurtful to live with.  I was staring down masochism and bondage, just then I looked over to the bridge I was on, it had steel ropes tied to it, flowing down from the towers and no matter how hard the wind, it wouldn’t be able to move.
The traffic was slow and it would be, they didn’t design for anything more than two lanes in the 1971, my memories flowed like the river beneath the bridge, it occurred to me that I was so deeply and madly in love that I had forgotten to love myself. 


In 1970, I admit that I had spent 2 months in a mental asylum because of my situation, “I want my cigarettes,” I had told the head nurse at the institution.  Juliana wouldn’t relent, she never did give me my cigarettes and that had agitated me even further.
                   “I Want My Cigarettes!!!”
I had shouted and everyone in the counselling room including other patients had looked over at me really annoyed.  “Why don’t you sit down,” she had advised me sternly.
These two months had been a revelation, there were six of us who formed part of the same group and four of them were volunteers, “What the heck is a volunteer?” I asked and why wasn’t I told about it.
Joe was the first one to answer, “That means I can go home anytime I want.” 
Juliana nodded her head, “Yes, he can, in fact there are very few here who are committed.”
This was an extreme point of view, these guys in my groups were all fine and yet they preferred to stay at the institute than their respective houses.  I figured the idea behind de-addiction is to get you into another.
Strangely enough, the one guy who wasn’t a volunteer was a young guy and that had me wondering, “Me!” I wondered, this young guy should be out on the roads, travelling in convertibles and banging in some six packs and smoking them 20 packs.
“What are you doing here?” I asked Steven, and he looked at me stunned, he had been forcefully got here, so answering that question wasn’t even on his agenda.

“So, I was committed till I left the institution.”

I Want My Cigarettes

Back on the bridge, suddenly I heard the screeching of a car behind me, it was my ex-wife; she was honking and pressing on the accelerator pedal to keep the engine roaring.  “Jim,” she screamed over the traffic, I was standing in the middle of the bridge, stunned look on my face, I wasn’t expecting any situation here, I already had too much on my mind.

“Jim, I want you back, now and forever,” she said as her car ambled right next to
me, the traffic was slow, so we were moving at the same pace.  I didn’t say word, I was too busy looking to the other side of the bridge where she was waiting for me.  My mind had already started dreaming what could be, buy a wedding ring this summer, maybe go for a holiday to Ibiza; my mind had been running while I had been briskly walking on the bridge.  I still couldn’t see her right now, but my heart told me she would be there. 
Suddenly there were confusion on the bridge, I turned around to see the MiniVan that had followed my wife, it was from the institution, my heart felt cold suddenly and I began to run, looking back I saw four of them in white attire get down from the Van and start running after me, cold wind hit my face, my eyes popped open and heart pumping, my legs scissored on the bridge trying to get some gap going between me and them.
I had always been like that, their world versus my world, suddenly I felt an arm around my waist and I was slammed with a force to the tarmac.  He was huge black guy and he kept punching my face, I tried to slip through his grasp but the force of his punches had me scratched and torn, there was already a bulge in my left eye and my lips were bleeding.  I stopped struggling and all four of them caught hold of me, the traffic had come to a stand still as if the spectre of me being picked up and put into the white Van was the most interesting thing in their lives.  The door of the Van shut and darkness engulfed me, the bridge had closed down forever now.

“This Was Tragic, she thought, as she waited and waited .......”