Ron & the Writer — Chapter #3

After getting refreshed within a few minutes, I checked the time in my wrist watch.

It was 4.30 p.m. already.

The weather outside was pleasant indeed and a cool gentle wind blew periodically. Putting on my father’s old brown coat, I started strolling down the Green lane, looking around keenly and trying to observe every minute things of the unfamiliar surroundings.

Suddenly, from somewhere I heard loud joyful shrieks— most probably, of a large group of little children. On turning my head to the right, I noticed a shabby hoarding on the wall, hanging from only one of its corners. The letters on it were not too clear to read, still it declared its popular name, “The Bluestone Park”.

Soon I remembered that this was the park that Mr. Andrew had talked about, while giving the precise location of his residence. So, with keen interest, I walked forward to gather a bunch of new ideas for my next write-up. As soon as I stepped inside, a little kid dashed against me and hugged my knees to save himself from falling down. “Sorry Sir!”, he apologized immediately, followed by a sweet grin, then ran away with his large group of friends who were screaming with boundless joy. On the other side, some old men were chatting among themselves while walking briskly, and the youngsters were jogging and working out.

Suddenly, my eyes caught something. On my left, a little boy was seated on a bench holding up a book, which covered his face completely. I was not initially concerned about either of them, until the reddish-orange coloured book cover felt familiar.

Wait, isn’t it my book?!

The big title, “The First Fall” and my name below it proved my intuition to be absolutely correct. I smiled as I felt a bit proud, but decided not to disclose it in front of him.

“Hey, little man!”, I tried to grab attention of the young reader.

He popped up his head and revealed his chubby little round face, and looked at me with his small brown eyes.

“Sorry to disturb you amidst reading. Can I sit here?”, I apologised before asking permission to sit beside him on the same bench.

But he didn’t reply. Neither did he smile at me in return. Instead, he just shifted to the other end of the bench. I sat down and asked him, “What’s your name?”.

There was a minute silence.

Then, with his eyes fixed on the book, he replied in a serious tone, “Ronald Browne. Or Ron”. I peeped into the book and saw that he was reading a story which was based on a true incident that I wrote after I had an account with Michael, my roommate in Texas.

Unfortunately, he had committed suicide due to an unknown depression he was going through. He claimed that he could feel someone's presence in the same house where we stayed and I often found him crying like a kid, without any proper reason.

Initially, he was a very jolly, talkative, fun-loving Floridian boy. For the first few weeks, we used to stay together in the same room and mostly talked about the whole day till late night. I introduced my friends to him and he called his friends to our place and we had a good time altogether.

But things changed as time passed.

He shifted to the other room and lived a lonely life, locking himself in the darkness. He started being irregular to his office, couldn’t complete his works before deadlines and was insulted by his boss for being too disobedient. I tried to understand what he was going through, but he never opened up clearly. What he murmured was “I didn’t kill her, it was a suicide”. When I asked him what he meant by those words, he wiped his tears and turned away from me saying, “Leave me alone for a while”.

On a Thursday night at around 3.30am, I was awakened by a loud thud. I ran to the other room and discovered that all the metal showpieces were strewn on the floor, the heavy flower vase was broken into pieces and the wall pictures were lying on the ground with frames half-broken. The cupboard was left open and all the clothes were scattered on the bed and on the floor. In one corner sat Michael, crying with his head resting on the knees. When I tried to calm him down, he attacked me with his big nails like a wild animal, and left a bleeding mark on my forehead.

I couldn’t keep quiet after this incident. On the next day, I had a meeting in the office. I returned at around 4pm, soon after the meeting ended. When I went to his room to call up his parents from his phone, I discovered something very strange.

Michael was not there in his room.

Generally, he used to lock himself in his room throughout the day, or sometimes he used to come out from his cave to hunt for food like Stone age men.

But that day, the scenario was different. I checked the whole house but couldn’t find him anywhere. I knew that it was not possible for him to move out because I used to lock the main gate from outside and kept the only pair of keys with myself.

Then where did he go?

When I was searching all the rooms, including places like under the beds, behind and inside the cupboards, my phone rang. The security guard of the apartment called up saying, “Sir, are you the one staying with Mr. Michael?”.

“Yes, but what happened?”

“Sir, please come down as soon as possible. Near the garage. Come fast sir”.

I lost my mind after hearing this. I started having thousands of fearful negative thoughts and couldn’t keep calm anymore. Without wasting another single minute, I grabbed my phone from the table and immediately ran downstairs.

As soon as I reached the garage, I felt as if my heart stopped beating.

My dear roommate Michael was lying on the ground, with his chest in direct contact with the earth. I knelt near his body and found that his right ear and neck, along with his nose, had been bleeding very badly, making his condition more pitiful.

There was no doubt in understanding that he had jumped off from our balcony in 18th floor and committed suicide.

I had no clue what to do next. I ran to the room and picked up Michael’s phone to call up his parents. But, to my utter astonishment, I found that all the contact numbers were deleted. The last call had come on the eventful Thursday at 9.40pm. So, I dialled the same number to know whose number it was.

“Hello, Mickey!”, a woman answered the call and continued without a pause. “Your dad and I have been talking about you since today morning. Did you have your lunch?”.

By the last line she spoke, I understood that it was none other than Michael’s mother, who was an Indian by origin. And the innocent and talkative trait that Michael had, was inherited from his own mother. Unable to hear anything from my side, his mother again said, “Hello Mickey, are you hearing me? Hello?”.

“Yes. Umm, I’m Michael’s roommate, Markus. I’m sorry but I’m sending you location of our current residence. Can you please come here as soon as possible? It’s an urgent case”.

I didn’t want to open up the real reason of bringing them to Texas, but I had to give them a hint, when his father spoke with a grave voice.

“Hello, umm... Markus? What... What happened, tell me. Is Mickey alright? What is it so urgent?”.

“Sir, I’m so sorry, but... please come soon. There’s no time to waste. I’ll book your tickets for the next flight today. It’s too urgent. Contact me whenever it’s needed. I’ll call you back after booking your tickets”. Saying this in one flow, I hung up. I had no more courage to narrate them the whole story. I know the pain of losing dear ones, rather, it’s more intolerable when it’s the case of the only children.

However, I shared the location of our residence to them and booked the tickets for the very next flight at 5.30pm on that day.

When they came to our place, they were utterly shocked. Michael’s mother couldn’t control herself and burst into tears. She sat near the dead body of Michael and cried continuously. I gave them water and tried to calm her down, but she was more emotional than his father. Michael’s father stayed strong enough, and wept silently at a corner.

Michael’s body was then taken to the hospital for post-mortem. We waited till the next morning, until the reports came and we were again left speechless. The depression that Michael was going through, resulted into schizophrenia. And that turned out to be the only reason of his hallucinations; of the feeling that someone was there around him. On receiving the reports in hand, his parents puzzled me with numerous questions. I sat with them and explained everything that had happened till that day.

But surprisingly, they seemed to be totally unaware of their son’s activities. His father said, “He had stopped sharing everything with us soon after he left for another city for building up his career. Most of the time, he did not receive our calls and would leave a simple text saying he was busy or in a meeting. Even when he received the call, he used to hang up within two minutes of talking. Whenever we asked him about his work life, personal life, how he managed in the new city, how he balanced everything, and about the people he met, his answer had been, “All good, everything is fine here. Take care of yourselves and stay healthy. I’ll call you back later”. Saying this, he used to hang up”.

His mother said, “Once he called me up in the midnight around 3am and cried continuously. When I asked him what happened, he said, “Why do people misunderstand me, mom? Why am I always the one to bear all the pains?”. When I told him to speak clearly, he replied, “Nothing, mom. Sorry. Good night”, and then he hung up. When I called up after that, his mobile was either switched off or he didn’t pick up the call. He never told us about the actual location where he stayed”. After having a detailed conversation with this parents, I had come to know that he moved to New York from Florida for the first time, then he went to London, then finally to Texas. But sadly, he could find peace nowhere.

“What did he say when you called him up on Thursday night at 9.40pm? On what topic did you have conversation with him?”, I asked his mother.

“Nothing too serious. We were fixing the engagement date of my Indian niece, so that we can visit India and attend her marriage. I just told him that they were asking when Michael would get married. Does he have any girlfriend or we have to take the responsibility of finding his fiancée? He didn’t give a good reply. He just said that he was feeling tired and sleepy. Then he hung up the call”.

At that very point, my mind stopped working. “Did Michael ever speak anything about any girl or girlfriend or something?”, I enquired. They nodded their heads and shrugged.

“Why would Michael always murmur “I didn’t kill her, it was a suicide”? Who was ‘her’ here? Was there any girl who had come in his life he never spoke about, and her memory haunted him till date? They might have broken up and he couldn’t have moved on? May be she died by suicide, but everybody accused him for her death? This might be the reason why he had shifted to London, then to Texas? When his mother spoke about marriage and girlfriend on Thursday over the call, that might have triggered his depression and made him so violent at that night? And I assume this to be the main reason why he committed suicide on Friday afternoon”, I blabbered out everything that had been going on in my mind since after Michael’s death.

Unfortunately, these unanswered questions will remain unanswered forever, because the main character who could have told everything in detail if he wanted to, just gave up his life.

There was a long silence, until it was broken by his mother, who rested her head on his father’s shoulder and resumed to weep. I had no words to console them anymore, still tried hard to make them feel better.

Little did I notice the time when I travelled back in time to Texas, until a football hit my toe and again I was mentally back to the Bluestone Park, seated on the bench beside Ronald Browne. Meanwhile, the young reader had already reached the end of my story My roommate and his hallucinations”.

To be continued in the next part. 

Stay tuned! 🌸

With love,

Darshayita 💕


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