Spring is a lovely time of the year – that’s the one time of the year when you can walk out and not feel sad or gloomy, while listening to the birds chirp and watch the sky turn into a moody overcast grey, just about right to make you believe that it’s going to rain but there’s no sign of it bound to happen soon; it’s that time of the year when you can look back at old memories – happier times when things were actually sensible and had some purpose to them, and weren’t simply a cavalcade of nausea and emotional turmoil; its spring time, that time of the year when you find yourself as happy as a lark, and hats off for a day off – or something predominantly close. That’s how I feel when its spring time, and don’t you deny it yourself, you also feel the same way; wanting to take a walk out in the open, with no responsibility on your head and with precious little to do except just… being yourself for once; being a happier, simpler, satisfied self whose got no chance in hell of being disappointed over what could possibly happen to him.
That’s how I feel whenever I take a walk – it like I woke up one fine morning and there was nothing special to do, and since I’m by myself I could muse over my wanton narcissism with a gleeful song or something of similar spark or rigor; the cheerful equivalent of actually wanting to put on my Sunday clothes and embrace the world. Yeah, sure it’s silly – walking in traditional clothing on a spring day, when everything in the world is running as fast as it is, and what with the fashion sense (such a faux pas would be preposterous for the fashionable youth of today) screaming aloud and making a mockery of the purpose of a spring walk…But, yeah, they don’t get it; waking up, putting on one’s clothes, and then taking the steps outside, fresh rain fallen on the cracks and cleaves of the road, the granite flooring, the matting of natural tarmac grazed out by the Almighty that we always disregard as natural; seeing how the mud is all muddy, and the grass is all grassy, and the sky is all cloudy, while the people are humanly and your just dandy, cheerful with what’s going on with the world and how time, just while observing all these things, comes to a halt. It simply stops running; you’re just there, with all this scenery, and you have nothing holding you back; it makes you smile, because it reminds you of a lot of things that could not have happened and yet they did, but they don’t matter so much because they mean a lot to you and you overlook them. That’s how I feel in my walks – I recall things:
I recalled how the university’s Concordia would suffice the necessary need which one always has: thirst and hunger. They’re one and the same, of course, but here, I digress; you either buy to quench your thirst or you buy to stall your hunger, so it’s specific for both. Our Concordia is not a plane or some vehicle – it’s an industrial hoax that manages to squeeze out its customers with what little they have to give services which could actually be made at home for a lot cheaper and, quite frankly, with a lot more creativity. But this time around, Concordia was empty – it was just the empty seats and nobody around… the guard doesn’t count because that’s his job; guarding things. Nevertheless, that’s what caught my eye, and I recalled with my past eye while walking what we were talking about – that guard and I – before I ventured out for my spring walk:
“Kid, shouldn’t you be having company?”
“What company? I don’t quite follow.”
“You know what I mean, kid – the company; sweet company…”
“Oh that kind” and I laugh warmly, “Oh no, I’m an honest lad! I’m an honest-to-God Samaritan!”
“Don’t give me that bull, kid, that’s what they all say.”
“Oh, is that so? And what do they do?”
“They do a lot o’ things, kid; Things only people in love do, catch my drift?”
I looked at him curiously, “As in…” though in the back of my mind I presumed the answer rang with bow chick-a wow-wow, but I kept quiet.
“I’ve been on guard duty at the other gate, and I see these lovely students o’ this place – mighty fine students at that – go and have their love satisfied… And my oh my, is it a sight to see; heck, I’ve only been here for three days now, and I caught two of such sweeties having themselves a merry good time… cuddling, warming up to themselves… I caught sight of them, but I kept quiet, figured they’d understand and hold back, but they weren’t pushed, so I simply walked over to ‘em… it was in plain sight, you see… and I told that lad, ‘so, kid, how’s it going?’ and he said, ‘it’s going good, boss, and you?’, and I said, ‘yeah, mighty fine it is, but that warming party of yours has me wondering’ and he went quiet. He kept quiet and I told him some friendly word o’ advice abou’ the proverbial ‘coughing’, if you caught my drift so far, kid…”
“Yeah, I did; I heard about such things from my little troupe of friends, but I kept closed ears about it.”
“They must’ve kept a really good rapport with the guards, now, didn’t they?”
“They did… why, what makes you think that?”
“’Cause we’re the ones who define our jobs, kid; everybody’s checked by us – your caught, you’re screwed.”
“… As in… everyone… everyone…”
“Everyone whom we see is being a prick, so not exactly everyone… Primarily because our CO’s given an entire report of who’s done what and all that… And that report is a direct prerogative of the” He took a cough and pointed upwards, “His business, and mighty simple it is; he was caught, kick that runt out”
No surprise we don’t find out the dirt going on in the university, I thought, and chuckled softly, “You got that right, and he sure has it simple.”
“Damn right he does; Even one o’ your fellows too” and he provided a description about what he did, in the open, at one of the blocks. It caught me by surprise. “That place! Are you serious?! That’s suicide – lucky him, you were there, or else it was a one way ticket, alright!”
“Rightly said, kid, so I told him, but he just quipped, ‘couldn’t you have waited a little while longer’! Dear Lord, what a sight for sore eyes he was – caught red handed” He coughed, “hands occupied, begging your pardon”
“Sure no worries; Well I’d better be off now, Have to head off to meet up with a friend on the main road somewhere.”
He gave me a curious look, and I quipped, “Boy friend.”
He laughed. He looked like a guard, and I took a glance at his name – primarily because they’re the bosses around here. Heck, they defined what it meant to be in Vigillum so better safe than sorry. A little advice from him about avoiding something best described by a motion of the elbow moving horizontally from the chest forward and backward – we know what that is, don’t we boys I thought to myself while still walking – and before leaving the university he asked my name, so I told him that.
Yeah, and put yourself in another person’s shoes – easier to get out of trouble than in it, don’t you think so, my friend, I thought to myself, avoiding the patch of sticky mud that was chucking out from the island, covering the granite of the road. It didn’t matter much, the weather really was lovely, and I liked how it was overcast – The sky formations on August 15th around the evening were better, with the phoenix and the mythological fighting between an eagle like creature and some chimera of sorts, classical in the purest sense of the word if Saied was around – and the gust of wind made it even more pleasant, with cold air streaming out the way it did; the island turned greener, but not the green I expected – a “weed green” of sorts. He, he, attack of the weeds! Quick, call out the fertilizers, we have a bed to clean I thought to myself – and curious how I didn’t actually find it queer; I suppose it had to do with the fact that there were these big suspension wire poles around whose foundations these weeds were growing, so it was rational to believe that it wouldn’t have worked out, and was in itself a stupid notion to actually be funny. And also, the shanty that I was passing – a make-shift village that was made solely from mud and brick, thaw roofs and branches, and some bare plastic utilities; typical Afghan settlement that was tell-tale to Rawalpindi/Islamabad; what made this different was that there was another one a few meters away. Yeah, the tale of two shanties, now that’s the book I’m talking about, eh? An epic tale where an Afghan child, with no identity, no national image to relate with, and no education at all, becomes somebody… Not Conan because Conan’s a barbarian of the West, and not an Arab because he’s Afghan; and not Stallone, because they don’t have tongue twisters; and not some Northerner of the Khyber because they despise the residents of that place for ruining their country… but he becomes somebody… and not something stereotypical like the Pathan fraternity, or a gun slinger, or a poet because poets are sissies, or a medical doctor or an engineer, or a politician, or a joker, or an illiterate, but he becomes somebody and I kept thinking like that, passing by some Afghan children who looked at me curiously – they weren’t used to seeing specimen like me, I figured and ignored them. I made passing glances at them, no doubt, but that was mostly to affirm I was human and had ears too – irrespective of those ears not understanding anything they said at all, but I digress; well, so I reached the main road, or as we prefer calling it, man road (Don’t ask, it’s been altered from its original name deliberately, and this was the only name I could come up with).
And well… story ends with me being picked up by Saied and going to his house – what? You were expecting me to get caught and finding myself being held in ransom or something? What’s the matter with you? Yes, it could’ve happened, but I’m extra careful, see – all I had on me was my laptop, and I had no cash, and I was walking with another shirt out as a towel, and nobody would have bothered picking me up since I literally looked like the every-man at that point, loving the spring time even though it was quite literally, warm as warm gets.
But I love walking in the spring-time; it’s such a heart-warming sensation.