I was walking down the main boulevard of the breezy City of the Breezer. The sun had set and dawn was engulfing the day in the blanket of darkness, thick and fast. The water from the rain during the day had filled the potholes, and the street lights shimmered in their reflection, like stars sprinkled in the street. The cold air pummeled my face in strong gusts now and then, but the thick humidity dampened the inevitable shiver. I was depressed. Today evening’s altercation between my aunt and uncle had gone out of hand, and ended in a shouting match in which it was difficult to decide a winner. I was a toddler when my aunt and uncle took me in after the brutal car accident which took my parents away from me. Since then, my aunt and uncle have been my biggest strength. But to see them hurling such brutal profanities at each other was more scary than depressing. Thus I walked on, alone and miserable, not wanting to go back to the painful reality.
It was at this time when I saw Jamaican Passion walk towards me. He was one of the six types of people after whom the City of the Breezer was named. Looking at my sad countenance, he approached me. He asked me what was the matter and why was I walking around with such a long face. I narrated him my troubles in detail. His face tightened, brows pulled together, arms crossed across his chest and he heaved heavily. When I finished narrating, he burst out with an admonition, squarely blaming me for the troubles at home. He lectured me that I lacked the skill to defuse an explosive situation and I needed to brush-up my “people skills”, and walked off. I knew I had mashed my own foot by involving Jamaican Passion into this, and full of regrets, marched on.
Next I saw Lime gliding jauntily towards me. It was almost as if she did not see the day as overcast and depressing, but it could as well have been a spring morning in her world. She approached me with a grin spreading from ear to ear, and it did not lessen even upon hearing my woeful tale. Instead of commiserating with me, she patted me cheerfully on my back. Buck up boy, she told me. Life is too short to feel depressed. There’s no point in feeling so sad, it will ruin everyone’s mood around you, she said, which I knew was true enough. Look at what a wonderful day it is, she looked up and announced. A smile takes all your worries away were her last words as we parted ways. I could not, even on trying hard, feel the thrill of being alive, the joie-de-vivre that she felt. Feeling worse, if anything, I trudged on.
On turning the corner, I saw Orange walking towards me in his usually nonchalant gait. On hearing my sad story, he snickered. Why do you care, he asked. They are not your parents after all. I told him that for all their love and care in bringing me up, they are. You should not care a fig, he suggested. This life sucks up all the happiness if we start thinking too much about things. Don’t let it affect you. Stop being bothered by it. Life isn't fair enough for us to care about every other thing in our life. He shrugged his shoulders as a sign of ‘this is how it is’, and left me. I did not think I reflected his thoughts and his reflections about life did not help me at all. Despondently, I walked on.
Cranberry instantly knew that there is something wrong. She approached me with an already troubled expression which only worsened in its mournfulness on hearing my heart-breaking tale. Tears filled her eyes and she hugged me, and cried for a full minute. It was as if the trouble was hers than mine. Life was unfair, she said. How sad it is that a young boy like me had to face such a harsh verdict from life. After God took away my parents, it was as if not enough and He brewed fresh troubles in my life, she cried aloud. Dabbing the corner of her eye from her handkerchief, she turned around and left me there. I was touched by the act of empathy but it did nothing to help my cause. I was feeling more gloomy and hopeless than before.
Island Pineapple approached me cautiously. When I narrated my troubles, his mirthless laughter chilled me to my bones. Is that all, he asked. Life will always kick you the hardest when you are down, and it is your time to be kicked my boy, he said cynically. Start expecting the worst from life, and you’ll do just fine. Life is hard and we had to deal with it, he suggested. Turning around, he left me in the middle of the street more joyless, hopeless and cynical than before. My world was crashing in front of my eyes and I could not do a thing to avert the approaching disaster. It was like standing on the beach and watching the mighty wave of the Tsunami charging ahead at full speed to crush your bones. You know what’s coming but you can do little to avert the inevitable.
As I was about to turn back to my miserable life, I recognised the footsteps approaching me. It was Blackberry Crush who came up to me. On seeing my distressed expression, she understood my sadness. Gently nudging me to narrate my sad story, she put a hand on my shoulder. When I had finished narrating my melancholy account, she made me sit down on a nearby bench. You need to understand that this kind of troubles always exist between a man and his wife, and at times these differences bubble to the surface more often and in a more toxic fashion than we can imagine, she explained. It is only after I delve deeper into what is troubling my uncle and aunt can I help in addressing anything that is troubling them. In fact, I was in an advantageous position to be a mediator as I am close to both of them, and if I approach them individually and ask them of their troubles, they might open their heart to me. This way I can connect the dots and figure out the differences that are arising between them, and find ways to address them effectively. Most of our troubles spring forth when we do not communicate much and this problem can beset couples even after they have spent a good 20 years with each other. It is a human folly, and only human love, empathy and trust can overcome it. I knew what I had to do. I hugged Blackberry Crush for being such a sweetheart, took in the warmth of her sweet smile, and walked back with a purpose in life, a gait in my step and hope in my heart.