The Circle of Life- Short Story
`His name is Adam!’ The mother said and the father happily nodded.
It was a complicated delivery and the doctor himself was relieved when all went well and the baby was born full of life.
Adam opened his eyes to the glaring light. Through the blur he could see the faces and hear noises that he could not decipher.But there was general sense of warmth and welcome. Suddenly he noticed someone familiar and turned to look.
`Hey there! ‘ The Angle was standing there with a warm smile. He looked very familiar as if he had met him recently. As far as Adam remember (his memory was fast deserting him), he was quite a nice guy, although he didn’t remember the details.
`Want to come with me?’ The Angel asked with the same charming smile.
` What, now? Hey, I have just come here. Let me look around. This seems to be a good place and time TO BE’.
`OK ‘ The Angel smiled.` You know that, when you want NOT TO BE, I am always around. Bye for now’.
And he walked out of the door.
Adam was an adorable baby. He was charming and loved by everybody. He turned out to be a very smart boy and did well in school. He grew to be a handsome young man, smart, overachiever, successful. Adam did not talk to The Angel throughout his childhood. But he remembered having seen him occasionally standing at distance, waving and smiling at him warmly. He was never threatening, in fact it was quire reassuring to see him around. Those were the times of bullying crisis at school, time when his mother was on death-bed, time when there was mindless racial violence in neighborhood and they have to change their residence. DA was there but he never approached.
Life was generally kind and benevolent to Adam. He did very well in school and then professionally he started climbing corporate ladders faster than his peers. This ramp walk of success was suddenly disturbed as he stumbled in love and broke his heart. As he sat in a bar, trying to drown his sorrow, he tried to figure out why she didn’t find him worthy, as he always had found himself to be. He was sensitive, young and fool. He contemplated if life was worth living and ordered the sixth drink. He knew instinctively that The Angel had slipped on the bar stool next to him.
`No, not you!’ Adam cried.
`But surely you were contemplating a trip with me, didn’t you?’ the Angel said.
`Come on man, give me a break. Have some sense of humor. I didn’t mean all that really.’ Adam protested. `Hey, life is good, as good as this whisky! You should try it.’ The Angel stared at him
`Look here. I have plenty of money, I have future and I know how to enjoy it. This is just a passing phase. I know i will come out of this. ‘Now GO AWAY, and don’t come uninvited. Leave me alone and let me enjoy my life.’ Adam yelled, as if trying to hear himself over the din of his own emotions.
The Angel sighed. It was funny he thought that Adam should say that he did not have sense of humor. Of course he did. His job particularly amused him, his passengers never ceased to amaze him.It was not just that they suffer from deep amnesia of who they really are.
But the funny part was that everyday they would see people dying all around them, the kings, the tycoons, the pauper, the generals, the leaders, the pimps- all alike meeting their deaths. But they all go through life as if they are never ever going to die.
He found this innate conviction on their part of their immortality and permanence of rest of the world simply amazing.
They went through lifetimes again and again and again.
How many times one needs to repeat a lesson till finally you get it?
Well, I guess that really sums up my job description, he thought.
One fine morning, in his penthouse Adam raised the gun to his temple.
This seemed to be the only way out. He had lost everything in stock market crash.He was reeling from divorce settlement with his second wife.
His children found no commonality between him and found his company mostly boring, detestable, pointless, and occasionally useful and profitable. None of them asked him his opinion. None of them thought they could use his wisdom for going through life. They all wanted to repeat all the mistakes all by themselves.He had been lonely for quite some time. The girls, the alcohol, the porn, nothing could excite him as before.Even looking at his impressive portfolio and bank accounts everyday, no more had the same exhilarating and satisfying effect that it used to have earlier. That feeling the power as he looked down from his office on top floor of the Manhattan building and rolled a pen his hand was a great kick for him. The sensation of power that a stroke of his pen he could make or break a life of thousands of people, which used to send tingling sensation down his spine now had transformed into a nagging hole inside him.
So he was lonely and unhappy. But at least he was rich. But today when all hell broke loose on the Wall Street, it looked like he was not only going TO BE lonely, but also poor, very sad and very likely humiliated.
So NOT TO BE was far better than TO BE. All these years he really liked to be alive, but surely in far better circumstances, than what was coming.
As he raised the gun, The Angel walked in.
`Hi, You came at right time. I am ready NOT TO BE. Lets go.’ Adam said cheerfully.
The Angel sat down, `Well, I am not so sure. May be we should wait for some time, perhaps you might reconsider.’
Adam said, ` You don’t understand, there is nothing in my life that I have left to do. I have seen all, done all. I am done with this world.’
DA eased himself in chair.`But it seems world has not done with you yet; and I am not sure if you have done with the world either.’
Adam’s face darkened. `Oh GOD! It means I have yet to suffer, I would fed to the dogs! He sat down, as hopelessness drew power out of his legs.
`Please, I am really sorry for all that I have done, I am really very sorry! Wont GOD forgive me, if I truly repent?’
`Whom are you talking about?’ DA asked.
`THE GOD? your master?, ain’t you taking me to Him?
`First of all, I have no master. Secondly this is the first time I have seen you remembering this individual, I have not idea who this GOD is. Do you?”
Adam stared at The Angel and muttered to himself , ‘I don’t know if I know, somehow it skipped my mind’
The Angel continued, `Well, if you think talking to him will make you feel better, may be you should find him and ask him about forgiving or whatever. Luckily, I think you have some time, ‘ he looked at his wrist watch.
`Anyways, I have to go now.’ He got up and said.`I have some errands to run.’
`And may be-‘ he added, as he walked to the door, `-before you pick up the gun again, you should pick up the phone, which is going to ring… now.
The phone rang. Absentmindedly Adam picked up the phone as he watched The Angel walking out of the door.
Somebody was talking excitedly. There was going to be bailout. He was SAVED. He was not going to be poor or humiliated. He had second chance, perhaps GOD heard his heart, he was truly repenting. He was rich again, maybe he can be happy again. Maybe he should give second chance to happiness.
On Jan 2012, as Adam relaxed in his summer-house, he felt good about himself.
He had taken charge of his life. He was donating to social causes, he had made peace with his children, he also had found a partner, an attractive kind woman, she was nice, she may be his life partner, without getting into the mess of marriage. He was doing Yoga and he was reading everything about spirituality- from Zen to Karma and Christianity of course. His book shelves were filled with self-help books. He felt finally he was finding peace for his soul.
So as The Angel strolled in, he welcomed him..
`Come my friend, I was wondering where were you all these years?’ Adam said cheerfully.
The Angel replied `You know, I am always around.’
`You see, I could never thank you, you stalled me and I escaped a mistake of lifetime. I got a second chance to live life in better ways and seek GOD as you have suggested.’
`I am glad that you are happy.’ the Angel said.
Adam looked into DA’s eyes and asked, `Surely you were joking when you suggested that you don’t know GOD, right?’
The Angel shrugged his shoulder. He said, `No. I never ever joke, I never lie. I don’t know who you are talking about.’
Adam felt unsettled. His throat parched.
This was completely contrary to all the books he had read, contrary to his belief, blow to his faith. But surely he KNEW. He decided to leave it at that.
`Anyways, so tell me how is the world going to end? Can you make me privy to your secret?’ Adam said cheerfully. `Is it going to be solar flairs or a meteor shower, or Nuclear war. You know I am actually at peace and ready to die in cataclysm. I am ready! Tell me how are you going to take me?’
The Angel pulled a small book from his breast pocket, flipped some pages and said, `You don’t figure on the current lists. Not yet, no any soon. Anyways,’ he gave Adam a long look piercing look. `I am happy that you are at peace. You never looked better before.
But I have to go now, It would be a while before we meet again. Take care.’
As the Angel left, Adam leaned his head back. It was good to know. He has time to do a lot of good things that he should have done and didn’t do all his life. He was blessed with long life.
As Adam tried to turn in bed painfully to ring the bell, the sharp pain, frustration and helplessness, brought tears to his eyes. He badly needed to adjust his left arm which was stuck under him. 7 years of paralysis had been very difficult.
He had donated a large part of his wealth for paralysis research.
For sever years he had watched all the world passed by him. All those young people aspiring to achieve everything that he had once achieved. For seven years everyday morning he will start the biggest battle of his life to turn to one side and get out of the bed by himself. As large battles raged in the outside world, his consciousness battled against his body with willpower. For him everyday was a battle day.
He longingly thought of the Angel, who never turned up in many desperate moments he wanted him to come.
And suddenly he was there.
Adam was now lonely, rich, wise, respected, dependent, crippled and pained
Hi Adam,’ The Angel said softly.
You bastard. At last you come. I have rewritten my will seven times waiting for you. Adam started laughing, that brought tears to his eyes.
`You never told me THIS (he pointed at himself) When you told me you will be away for a while.’ Adam said accusingly.
`Well. It slipped my mind. And anyways that would not have made any difference’ The Angel said.
`Why didn’t you come earlier, my friend, why are you so unkind to me?’ Adam asked
`Well, you always wanted something from life.. you wanted to get better, enjoy life, then figure out life, then correct life, then you wanted to win battle, you wanted to conquer your illness. You were quite attached. You were quite busy with business of life so I did not want to disturb you.’
Adam held his gaze. `You know, I have finished with business of life. There is only one thing remaining, I wanted to find GOD, I wished I had some more time.’
DA stared. He had nothing to add to the subject of GOD.
`You know. I want some real answers now, now that i am ready to come with you. I think i deserve some truth- tell me really who you are? How come you don’t know GOD? Are you the Death? ‘ ADAM turned ignoring his pain to look at The Angel.
The Angel looked at Adam with ancient eyes and timeless calm. `I am TIME. I am THE circle of time. Everything I bring in, I take back. My job is to complete the circle. People, animals, lives, planets, galaxies, universe. I complete the circle. Everything that is created starts at a point on a circle. So point of creation is the first step towards the point of destruction. Just like being born is first day towards end of your life.’
Adam sighed and turned back. ` Hmm. Why start in the first place if we have to come back again?’ He thought.
Does God figure in this scheme of things? especially what paths you take to your end?
Well. Again, I don’t know about that. What path you take is not my concern. If you think, this GOD may help you in that, you will have a lot of time to figure GOD out. Better luck next time! ‘
the Angel winked and smiled at Adam, as Adam felt infinite relief and peace descend over him
The flat line alarm screeched at nurses station.
As the nurse wrapped and held the baby, she asked the mother if she had thought of the name. The last thing the teenager wanted to think was about her baby. She did not reply. She had almost died while birthing this child. The nurse was wise to not to ask questions about the father.In the refugee camp in Somalia, it was rare to find a mother and baby not infected by HIV. The baby was lucky. They had got asylum in Europe. They were on the ship. They will get their visa when they arrive.
As the baby looked around, he saw the same familiar face, smiling.
`Hi Adam, remember me? Want to come with me?’
Hey.. you look kind and familiar. I know you. the baby said.
The last time we spoke, I vaguely remember that i wanted to do something, to figure out something.. but I don’t quite remember. I need to ind out what i was looking for.’
Baby looked around `It feels nice to be back. Feels nice here. I wonder what is there beyond those walls, is that the blue sky and do I hear the sea?’
The Angel gave a warm smile, `Sure, looks like you have a plan, you will have plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to figure that out.I will see you around, i have plenty of work out here.. bye for now.’
The baby felt enormous affection, love and comfort as he suckled his mother. Words and memories deserted him. He was once again that bewildered, curious being.`Life is good’. He thought.
As The Angel walked way, he wondered .` How many times? How many lifetimes?’