Short Story #1


I woke up with a start, and cursed as the alarm pierced through the blissful silence. My dreams had been filled with hauntingly misty scenes and the more I struggled to remember them, the more elusive they became.

The coffee-maker had kicked in some time in the early hours of the morning, and the rich scent of roasted coffee beans wafted through the house, invigorating my senses. I dragged myself to the kitchen, poured a mug, and let the heat from the mug warm me up. As I spent the first few minutes of the day, alone with my thoughts, I felt a tinge of regret at the fact that I had to live on my own. While I enjoyed the solitude, I missed having someone to talk to, someone to listen to me patiently, someone to have a night out with, or just someone to share a simple meal with.

I was headed for a job interview that morning, my 8th in 3 weeks. I was beginning to get extremely frustrated at the fact that regardless of how well the interview went, I couldn’t get a job. Every single day, the papers published promising job opportunities, jobs for which I was more than qualified. And yet, never once did I receive a call back. What was more insulting was the fact that I was asked to consider jobs for which I was more than qualified. Jobs that did not need even a tenth of the skills I possessed. Jobs that I had no interest in doing.

I pushed all the negativity out of my mind, and got ready for the interview. Out came my favorite shirt and my best shoes. I made my way to the mrt station and waited, as 5 trains went past, before I could finally board a train.

I eyed the array of people who were fast asleep on the seats in front of me, and pondered over the extent to which the rat race was killing all of us. We struggled to earn a living, so that we can buy a house, that we can barely afford to spend time in, because we are too busy earning a living so that we can afford that house. In that mundane humdrum of banality,  I saw a beautiful woman, seated to my right. She was elegantly dressed and there was something charming and captivating about the way she was glued to the hardback she was clutching in her hands, lost in the magical reality the words transported her to. She brought back fond memories of a life long forgotten and I spent the rest of the journey alternating between gazing at her, and flicking my eyes away whenever she sensed my eyes on her.

Far too soon, my destination arrived, and I was swept away by the crowds. With a heavy heart, I bade her a silent farewell, and trudged towards the skyscraper. Being in the business hub of the city never failed to send shivers up my spine. I had loved being an accountant, and not being able to do what I was so good at, what I was so passionate about, was slowing eating me up from the inside.

I walked in to the office, and immediately saw 5 others most certainly vying for the same position, waiting in nervous anticipation. I gave my name to the HR officer, and joined them in waiting.

My name was called, and I entered the interview room and faced 3 interviewers. Given the sheer number of interviews I had attended, no number of interviewers could faze me, and I confidently took my seat.

I answered all questions posed to me, some effortlessly, and some after much thought.

Just as I was leaving, one of the interviewers suddenly leaned forward and asked,

“Sir, why are you looking for a job now? When you are past your retirement years and should be resting.”

I smiled and said,

“My body may be old, but the soul never did age.”

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