The glorifying phenomenon of ignorance encroached upon them at a perfect time. Each of them moved on to lead separate lives with different people. Although one of them is still stuck waiting for it to end.
“Ignorance here is the refusal to partake emotions”, she writes.
Look out your window and try to spot a vehicle. Now, watch carefully you’ll see a young woman coming out of the taxi in her black shirt and grey pants. She looks around in suspicion that someone’s watching her.
Hurry! Hide away now.
She enters the building, unlocks her door and places the briefcase on a round glass table. Linda’s home is very peculiar; its filled with objects of emotional significance. Her brown bookshelf in the room has one rack where you will see only three books with each of them containing a small note from a long lost friend. And lastly a large pinboard with a collection of all the letters she wrote to her mother but never sent them. Linda left Omaha four months ago (October) to find herself a job and live in a different city. She lives alone, works in the day and explores the city in the evening.
Do you see her again? Sitting in the balcony smoking her cigarette.
Even I don’t understand why she smokes. Bugs me.
There is something beautiful about the night sky today, she writes. Her journal is very interesting. It’s not like the usual ones, there are less words and more images. She sketches every incident, memory and denotes it with a small remark under the picture. Not many words have been spoken since her disappearance. Linda never told anyone she was leaving, only her father knew. One day, she just packed up all her things and went away. Nothing said to no one.
Strangely none of the stories were left incomplete. The only reason she left so suddenly because that’s just how everyone left her in the past. Linda’s wish to get away and leave one day like the others had finally come true. She concluded this as her biggest revenge story. Apparently after a month few of her friends left as well for different cities but Chris (the best friend) never did.
She’s leaving the balcony now. I guess it’s time to sleep already.
Is that a Pulp Fiction dialogue? Oh well, today she’s watching a movie then.
Linda has a bad habit of ignoring her thoughts and emotions with different sets of things. Yesterday it was writing a guest article for a website and today it’s a movie. Every night she dozes off while working or in front of the small television. Some days the bedroom is clean and other times everything is just messed up.
Which is a great metaphor to her life, a messed up little life.
*The phone alarm tone rings*
Wake up or you won’t get to see her until the evening or night.
Linda leaves five minutes late with the same briefcase and again in a black shirt with blue trousers. Her way to work is a long ride in the metro then a 5 minute walk to her office.
She looks the most formally successful person doesn’t she? That’s just what she wanted to be or at least look that. Stop looking at her or she’ll see you.
Linda is very happy working in a small company right now, there isn’t a lot of money involved but enough to cover the rent of her apartment. With recession there aren’t many jobs available and after working in a clothing store and a café this was the best option for her right now. After work she walks around in the street exploring the place and looking for a small cheap place to eat out at. Luckily she comes across an old place with cheap and average quality food. While sitting and hogging on her food, she sees a bunch of people reading in front of a small crowd in a café just opposite the restaurant. Enlightened with curiosity she walks inside the café and witnesses something that she fancies a lot – poetry. She just sits in the crowd and hears the poets recite their pieces. One of the pieces by a female poet really moves her, she recalls a few lines while walking home –
I wonder sometimes
how it would be,
when I can finally leave someone.
Just say a few kind words
and bid goodbye to all.
You know how they say “just a coincidence”; well that is what happened next. While waiting for the metro, she sees Chris on the opposite platform. She went up the stairs opposite to the platform and there he is waiting for the metro in his white t-shirt and blue jeans. She calls out to him, he waves and they meet with an awkward handshake. She inquired about him being in the city. He tells Linda about his aunt who is really sick and has no one to take care of her so he is staying with her for a few weeks. After a short silence Chris says that he is getting late so he should better get back on the metro. They wave goodbye to each other like acquaintance. Linda is glad and surprised as well that he never asked about the disappearance. She thinks he applies the ignorance phenomenon here.
Now look, she dropped her keys on the floor.
Today is “Read alone on the couch” day.
Look carefully, she has a book in her hand.
The day ended early today, she just went off to sleep on the couch with the book on her face. After an hour, her phone buzzed thrice but she still didn’t wake up.
Linda wakes up at five in the morning only to find three missed calls on her cellphone. This is unusual because in four months no one has called her. She looks through and finds out that those calls were from Chris. She thinks to herself that out of all the days, her mind chooses to sleep off early yesterday.
Her apartment is a terrible mess thus she decides to clean it and call Chris by 8 am. While cleaning out everything she finds the bag she got from her hometown hiding away in a corner of the closet. She picks it up and opens it. There are a lot of pictures in the bag and a small book with a paper sticking to the back. Linda recalled how Chris used to write little reviews for every book he used to borrow from her. This bundle of memories was getting in the way of moving away from her past and getting on with her new life. With that thought in mind, Linda decides to call Chris to find out what he wanted and just clear everything at once.
Chris picks up and says “Hello”
Linda cuts right to the chase and asks – how come you called me last night?
Chris says he wanted to catch up since she left in an abrupt manner and left no note or text.
Linda hesitates for a moment but then asks if he would want to meet in the evening today?
Chris says yes.
Just as Linda cuts the call, she picks up the bag and keeps it back inside. She gets ready and goes off to work early. Concentrating on work was hard for her today as time passed slowly her brain kept on boggling her for making a decision to meet with her past and face it. The ignorance phenomenon is failing greatly today.
Finishing up with all the reports for the day Linda decides to pack up and leave. Linda’s boss stops her at the office door and appreciates her for the level of commitment she offers to her work. With that small appreciation Linda felt good about her lousy intense day. She accounted it as something to remember her day by. There were going to be many reasons in future that would remind her of this day and for once it was something for the better. Chris and Linda are going to meet at the old restaurant she visited just yesterday. He arrives at the restaurant while she is already seated at the table. They meet again with awkward handshakes and a half hug.
For about 15 minutes there is total silence and the only words they speak are about the menu. Chris begins the conversation by asking her if she was working somewhere. Happy to brag about her work and how well she is doing, she tells him all about the job. He congratulates her on a great job. She enquires about his life and asks him if he was working anywhere. Chris drops into silence and refuses to give an answer. Now that the small talk is over, Chris finally asked her why she left so suddenly. Linda is hesitant to answer but she recalls how much she wants to put all this behind. She tells him how her father wasn’t happy about her leaving town and living in a different city. Plus no one had talked to her in over a month unless it was about some work of their own. Feeling alone sitting outside every night was making it worse. One day she just decided to leave at once. Chris felt bad as he had been too busy as well during that time and didn’t contact for over two months.
Before Chris could say anything, she told him the only way to live a different life for her is to stay away from everyone in her hometown. She wanted to create a different identity for herself in a city where no one knew her. Chris took out a small notepad and wrote down his address and number on it. He tore off the page and gave it to her. He tells her she could call him anytime she needs to and then leaves without eating a bite of his meal. She just kept the number in her wallet and went home after a while.
She got the food home didn’t she?
Well there is going to be some sad music on today and so many cigarettes.
Her life changes with a few words spoken by her and none by Chris. Linda takes down all the letters from the clipboard and takes the books off from the rack. She packs everything up and shuts them in the cupboard. She decided to create a new life while there still was a chance.
The next morning she starts working at her company and saving up every penny she could after paying the rent. After collecting money for almost a year she finally saves up enough to travel to Ireland for a short vacation. Linda starts packing all her things in excitement. She hasn’t been out for a year and this would be another getaway. The diary goes along in the travel bag right on top of all clothes. She takes one last good look at the place and closes the door on her way out.
I know it’s very strange, travelling to Ireland. But I guess she likes places with less crowd. Get a good look one last time, she’s leaving for now. All packed up with her bags and things.
Ireland becomes the third place she describes in her diary with pictures except there are less people in them and more scenery. Ring of Kerry becomes one of her favorite places from Ireland.
She clicks a few pictures as memories and sketches one of them on a whole page in the diary. Getting a picture clicked for herself became a difficult task to ask for from big groups of people. On the last day in Ireland she bought one to two things from the place to keep for herself.
I know you’ve waited for her. Look she’s back. Still clumsy, dropping the keys again on the floor.
Linda unlocked the door and placed the keys on the table. The first thing she decided to do the next day is to get her picture developed (the one with her and the beautiful lake). All she wants to do today is to go to sleep and get a lot of rest. The next day she comes home after work with her picture. Picking out the Ireland map she walks in her room pins both the map and her picture on the board. Sitting down on her bed she stares at the map and the picture. A tear drops down from her eye to her cheek and all the way down to her neck. It wasn’t empty anymore, her new life now has its first ever special memory.
This is how she spends all her time now living in the shadow of her little board and a well to do job. Those little things and a little ignorance made her survive for a year.
It’s Monday and for the first time in a whole year Linda finally makes an effort to truly talk to someone at work. I think she is finally ready to have a new person in this new life of hers. Although it’s not as easy as it used to be. Everyone was either too busy blabbering about their problems to their other friends or too piled up with work. People weren’t interested in discussing any books or listening to her talk about Ireland. Whenever she would talk about any place from Ireland someone would cut her off and bring up a memory involving most of them.
Linda decided to not think much about it and went home to watch a movie. Suddenly an idea popped in her head, engaging with the neighbors. Living for a year in the same building and she didn’t know most of them.
Can you hear her? Is she talking to the neighbor right besides your apartment? Well I hope she doesn’t knock on your door.
Linda leaves for her apartment in disappointment, Mrs. Brown isn’t a very delightful person after all. Sharing her Ireland story was all she wanted to do today but with no one to talk to that became impossible. There was always social media but with no real face expressions and no long discussions about the place there isn’t much point in sharing. She finally gives in and just cooks herself a small meal. She peeks at the board like a small kid and gets happy seeing that picture on the board.
Opening her diary and picking up the pen she starts to write about the day as it’s almost over now. She sketches herself sitting in the living room writing her diary for the first time inside.
What? Are you going to knock on that door? But you’re supposed to imagine this don’t make it all so real. Don’t become her friend. No wait. You knocked already now.
Just remember what you have always kept in mind-
Ten cuidado con la amistad (“Beware Friendship”)