Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Harlem's Marmalade

प्रस्तुत कहानी के शीर्षक की सार्थकता absolutely अनुचित हैं|

The truck was cruising at speeds conceivable only to broad sighted men. Van Der Vaughn sat confident; his 200 pound behind placed comfortably on the custom-made seat, howling enthusiastically along to Motown his woman Pam picked out especially for this road trip. Countless old country traffic signals were being passed with not so much of a look of acknowledgment.

Van Der Vaughn had been looking forward for this one journey for twenty five years of the grand enigma that was his life. He didn't come from an easy childhood. His mother was a rag-picker, and he had no father nor any siblings. He was twelve and a half when his mother hanged herself in the Holly Hood's motel. He was put under the care of his Uncle Jim who was a drug dealer cum drunkard. Van worked at a convenience store and did odd jobs for his Uncle's "friends" to put himself through high school. And then, Uncle Jim died. Thereafter, with the help of his Uncle's "friends" he started his own business.

Pam had golden brown hair that looked like the sun at the time it seems to be fading away after a long day of some particularly stressful light-giving. Her eyes were forever on fire. Ablaze with a light so indescribably delightful it cannot be truly expressed in words. That's what he saw in her first. She was wearing her red-yellow uniform waiting on tables at the Sunny Shack, when he walked in one sultry afternoon, cowboy hat in tow, demanding for some just-out flapjacks in that Southern drawl that she always found so charming. He was in haste, like always, always on the ready to reach someplace, do whatever it was that seemed so important. He was the kind of man who never gave attention to details. He wanted results, quick, without any questions asked.

That's why when Pam brought him his pancakes, sans maple syrup, he was surprised to hear himself rebuke the young waitress instantly. She timidly ran in to fetch the jar of syrup, cheeks flushed with embarrassment and reproaching herself for allowing her emotional status to overshadow her work. He sat there at the crowded Shack, feeling a slight sense of regret and unease. However, he knew not whether it was because he indirectly caused himself to waste time merely for syrup; or because of the look of such utter despair he happened to glance at in that young waitress' big beautiful distracted green eyes.

Pam Aldridge had lived a long life. Although she was only eighteen, she felt worn out, old and tired. She was the kind of person that wore her emotions on her sleeve. When she was fifteen, her boyfriend Zack impregnated her and then moved away with his family before she even knew she had a baby in her womb. She had foster parents, as her mother died in childbirth and her father, she never heard of or ever saw. Pam had to drop out of high school because her parents couldn't bear the humiliation, conservative as they were old, of their daughter showing up with a huge belly to school. Plus, she couldn't bear to lose the child growing within her, for she never felt close to anything like she felt now towards her unborn baby.

With a baby on the way, she had little else to do but try and reach Zack. When she realised it was a futile effort, she tried to redirect all the unrequited love she felt for him towards his creation. She read a lot on to-be mothers and motherhood and resolved that she would be the best mother to her baby.

When Addison turned two years old, Pam's foster parents met with a massive car accident. All their assets including her house had to be dissolved as it was discovered then, that her father, Gerald owed the Government a lot of money as he had been evading taxes for thirteen years. So Pam had no home, she stayed with her best friend and confidant Aunt Peyton for a few months before she became her paying roommate. Aunt Peyton was 50 years old, she was a childless spinster and was only glad to have the company of a baby in the house and such a great daughter in Pam. It was around that time that Pam started working with the Shack.

Coming back to the scene at the Shack, now. The reason Pam was so disturbed was because Aunt Peyton had just been diagnosed with a rare heart condition. She would have to be admitted to a hospital very soon. She was worried because Auntie was old and had limited financial provisions. Pam owed her enough to support her in such hard times and thus her mind was plagued with this issue as she didn't have any savings and her income was too measly to support her small family alone. Presently, she hurried back to Van's table, placing the jar of syrup noiselessly onto it, murmuring a brief and distracted "sorry about that."

Van Der Vaughn finished his flapjacks in record time, climbed into his truck and sped away only to return again the next morning. Pam wasn't there and it bugged him and he knew not whether he was bugged because she wasn't there or because he was wondering why she wasn't there. Just when he was about to leave, his morning hunger thus satiated, he saw her attending to a small family over the last table. She glanced at him and Van felt lost and funny in his head. Fumbling, he exited the Shack and drove away.

Van became a regular at the Sunny Shack. On days when he was out of town on work, it would bug Pam as she wondered why he didn't come. One day he walked in late, just before closing time, and went straight up to Pam who sat behind the counter looking dazed. He caught her off guard with his merry exclamation of "Howdy miss!" She was so taken aback with the suddenness of his presence that her heart jumped and she cried "Oh my, you frightened me!"

Next thing you know, Pam and Van started going out. One thing led to another and within eight months they wed in court. Three weeks into their marriage Aunt Peyton, who had been in the hospital for a couple of months, suffered a massive heart attack that proved to be fatal. Addison, now four, was very sad that Big Mommy(Aunt Peyton) had gone for a long holiday in heaven. After a year Pam gave birth to Addison's younger brother Charlie. And so they lived a happy family life.

Back to Van Der Vaughn eleven years on, in his truck. He stopped at a gas station just outside a small town called Rewemtry. He bought himself a can of ginger beer and filled his car with diesel for the long ride back home. His visit here would be short, but the most fulfilling; he knew this.

Forty-five minutes later, he was 3,500 feet up in the air. Rewemtry was known for having the only private skydiving school in all of the State of Wesberry. Before leaping out of the mini air craft, the words of his mother rang in his head, "I wish I could fly. You know, then life would be so... sublime." As he jumped he yelled for joy, "I'm flying Ma, I'm flying for you!"

He felt the wind, sharper then ever, hit the cheeks of his face. He felt a profound sense of euphoria. Then his instructor, Leonard, suddenly exclaimed with extreme alarm that the chute was jammed and could not open. Van Der Vaughn was oblivious to his claim as he was in a world far above from this one by now. It didn't take long before they hit the ground: Van face first. The crash was so instant that he died from impact. Leonard was overwhelmed with grief at what happened. He survived with only a concussion to his head as injury.

Two years on Pam married the neighbouring widower Gareth and went on to make twins with him in the following years. The sense of loss of Van still prevailed in the hearts of his family. The only consolation was that they were sure he went after experiencing all he craved to experience. He didn't even feel death: he was in such escalated ecstasy.

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