Pain Transfer — A Short Story
I wrote this piece close to 4 years ago. Raw and uncut, I figured it would be a good first post for my Medium account. None of this is real, just formed and worded from the depths of my imagination. Enjoy the read and do comment — good or bad :) Thank you in advance.
It confounds, enrages, saddens and strangles my insides because I can’t understand. For the first time in my life, I truly feel beaten yet freed. Wanting yet hating one person in the same vein. Is that even possible? I ask myself even as I close my eyes, wanting her face to fade away. But with each try, her smiling and gushing face only makes me wonder more and more what I could have and can possibly do to love her, want her? “It’s impossible for me to love you!” she says, even as my face hits the pavement with the force reserved by a boxer to land the knockout punch. “Chemistry isn’t there Alex. It just isn’t, and that’s so essential for me…” I nod in agreement, but really shake those lines inside my head at the same time. Wondering if she was refusing to see or maybe has something figured out that I don’t.
It’s agonizing, frustrating and even crippling because she isn’t aware of this kind of lonely state of mind. Hers existed at one point, 6 months ago but was different because she broke a relationship off for obvious reasons. Mine is — one man trying to convince a woman he so endears that even after she pushes him away and even threatens to shut him off from every part her life. He continues praying, hoping fervently and envisioning her having an epiphany that opens her eyes to his unrelenting and dog loyal love.
But what has happened is, I endured. I saw the tears, the emotions, and the trauma she silently endured on those wintery nights. I sat through the storms in her head, even as she bellowed and threatened to sweep me off my own feet with icy gusts and fury. But I never gave up on her, not once did I even come close. And neither did I feel pity for her because she deserved a better emotion than pity. One that was cheerful, uplifting and definite — the sole purpose being to lift her up and out of that unnecessary and undeserving emotional state of glum. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a twinge of anticipation, ray of hope casting promising warmth across her face. That however didn’t start till much later. Where I stand today, this minute with regards to her is wanting to simply hug her, yet the pain of knowing she doesn’t love me at all pulls the reins painfully on that eager bridle of desire. I can liken it to an adage I came up with earlier this afternoon, as strange as this request may sound in this love lovelorn state, I beg you to see the humor and reality in this if you are in as somber a mood as I am.
A bullet, shot from a gun lodges in your shoulder. The pain, excruciating and the blood pumping out of the cracks and fissures from beneath your layers of epidermis thanks to this hot piece of lead, is threatening to kill you. There is pain! We can all agree upon that, but what amused me as I walked out the door to play a game this afternoon and this thought snowballed in my head was this — dislodging that rogue, killer bullet requires more pain to be inflicted in the form of a precise scalpel, a crude and clichéd heated knife or an even cruder alternative i.e. your own fingers, plunging into the sinews and tissue. Gouging away in the slippery and sickeningly sweet smelling and incessant, un-ebbing flow and nuisance of –blood! I am not being graphic to repulse you, not one bit. But think about it for a second, she is the very bullet stuck in my head. It’s no longer a flesh wound u see. She (it) is a thought, an idea of a better tomorrow, a tomorrow filled with love, laughter, togetherness, cheer and much more. But, for me this idea is the bullet, bleeding me of vital blood which is a combination of reality, stark and unadulterated realization and most importantly…I don’t know what else to do because there isn’t time to think. I plunge my fingers into the wound gingerly as tears flow out of my eyes like rivulets trickling down a rock face. My eyes glaze and throw star shaped patterns with the lights that fall into my face, as i look at the streetlights passing overhead in continuum, unrelenting-one blob of star shaped light after the other. The reason they aren’t the usual orange halos are because my fingers find leverage and plunge deeper, now I’m biting my lip till it bleeds.
Memories starting to flash before my eyes- she’s undoing her hair (flash of pain as my eyes shoot open). Her hair falls like a waterfall across her shoulders, so beautiful…I reminisce as my fingers dig hungrily trying to locate the culprit behind this ordeal, but there is no pain. My body in shock, I look at my straining forearm and smile. Fading out, I see her smile and sympathize or was it mockery?! ‘’Awww Alex,you’re so sweet’’ I nod as my eyes close, my fingers now working of their own accord, pushing aside cumbersome pieces of thought, envisioned future palaces built loftily in the air and images of an ‘us’ aside to somehow finally feel the promising edge of that bullet that’s a thought. That’s “her”.
Changing gears now, she has a new boy-toy, one that is palpably a fair degree lower in standards versus the ex and definitely me. Importantly the very idea of her and this new kid sets me on a killer path, read on this amusing story which is a mix of what played out and my dark n twisted imagination-
Post work Christmas dinner she drives him back to his place; they get out of their car and sit on a park bench close to his apartment. They chat, get cozy because it’s chilly, he sees the opening and opportunity to pull her closer for a half hug. The positioning of his body facing her has obvious intentions, opening her up further more cautiously yet happily. A yellow cab meanwhile pulls up along the curb, its motorcycle jacketed passenger tipping the driver an extra 20 dollars, ‘’Turn the lights off and ease away silently as soon as I get out’’ he calmly tells the cab driver, even as he adjusts his position to get a view of the couple. He runs a calloused palm across his heavily bandaged shoulder from which a bullet had just been extracted by his own fingers. A bloody mess and crude operation that one had been! The couple gets closer; the passenger door of the cab opens as the mystery man steps out. He waves the cab away as the door clicks shut behind him quietly versus the usual slam, all intentional. Their heads tilt as the boy initiates a kiss, the young girl letting her final frontier down. At this juncture and final hint of romance, the man in the shadows steps out.
Pulling out a shiny metal handle he holds it tightly and screws on a snub cylinder to its front. The shape revealing clearly in his hand now-a Berretta with a silencer. “This is going to be a quiet affair…” he thought, but then dismissed the thought realizing her reaction to seeing him there would be anything but quiet. He quickened his pace as their heads parted for a split second, he winced as the boy’s lips met hers again with wanton abandon… still unaware. Her words ringing clearly in his head one last time as he coolly raised the gun to shoulder height, ‘’Alex, there has to be chemistry…the looks they don’t even matter at that point… The spark!’’ he smiled to himself as he realized the irony of the word in the context -’’spark”. The gun in his hand felt light, almost too light even with the silencer attached to it. Why? The cartridge contained but one bullet, one single refurbished bullet with a line down the side of the shell from the bone it had shattered.
He refocused his mind at the task on hand, staying calm and collected. He sped up now, his pace quickening even as the dew moistened grass coupled with his rubber soled suede’s gave him stealth. He drew within 40 feet and stopped, unbuttoning his jacket to free his arms. As an afterthought he undid it and dropped it to the ground, revealing a crisp white dress shirt and a tie as black as death. Ironically dressed. Immaculately. To kill. He focused now, narrowing his vision as the two lovers entwined their arms in a half hug, ‘’Dropping your guard eh honey? A little to early wouldn’t you say?’’ he thought to himself and squeezed the trigger’s tip as he unlocked the safety. Breathing steadier now. All he saw was his shoulder, aim, lock and FIRE! The split second between the bullet hissing out of the silencer capped gun and a spray of crimson blood spurting off the boy’s shoulder ushered a sense complete awareness and gave the shooter stock of reality as a wisp of smoke like a secret left the silencer’s mouth. Her scream of shock was muted as she went to her knees, tears running out of her eyes immediately. He wreathed in anguish even as the shooter stepped out of the shadows and surveyed the quick change in scene.
It felt almost like Shakespearean cliché, stages in life- from love to tragedy in seconds without a change in the actors. Only, this was much more real. He stepped up to her as she held him; she looked up clearly in shock upon seeing the familiar face from a very recent past. He allowed her to soak his presence in before speaking, ‘’He needs to feel the pain I felt. You provided the ammunition, I am merely an artist here; who rendered this simple yet cruel and effective tool called pain into a beautiful complete circle. Now you know too what this pain is! I simply took the shrapnel out of me, restructured the very bullet you drove into me and put it into him. What he feels is but an aorta of what i felt. From all this just remember this lady, I loved you! But you mangled it. So it took me pain to remove this pain you caused. That’s all. Simple. Effective. Complete!’’ With that he, he put the gun away and took in the scene one last time before fading into the shadows of the park as quickly as he had arrived. Every bubble of emotion cleared, no more love, no more hate.