The Journey The Journey 2017 - 18 - Page 23

R Madhavan Jayakrishnan IX C “Send the next one in,” I said into the microphone, wiping the sweat off my brow. The last one was enough, but I had to keep going. I couldn’t stop; I felt the need to keep going as if it was my destiny. The opened and a man walked in escorted by two guards. The man possessed that smile that sent shivers down your spine. He moved silently and sat himself in the chair. “You can leave” I told the guards, leaning forward in my chair. They looked at the man, and then moved away, as though seeking his approval. “So, how’s your day been, Michael?” I said reading through his file on my desk. “I’m doing fine, thank you,” he said without breaking his smile at all. It was unnerving to be in his presence. He had a presence that seemed to silence even the most unruly of the inmates. “We can continue with the therapy later. Right now, I have a question for you.” I said all of a sudden, closing the file on my desk. “From your time, here, you seem to be different from the other people we at this institute. You’re more…..imposing…..enduring. What happened to you?” He stared straight ahead at me, unerring in his smile. He seemed to ignore my question. I opened my mouth and was about to repeat my question when he spoke. “Before that, I have a question for you. Who do you think you are?” “Of course I know who I am! What kind of a question is that?” I shot back at him. This must be a joke; he must be trying to rile me up. He replied, “I mean every word of what I said, who do you think you are?” with a slight chuckle. I opened my mouth to speak and I actually thought, “Who am I?” “Well, my name is ……..” I coughed as I faltered. What is my name? Of course, I must know my name. Perhaps I must not be thinking straight. “Give me a minute.” I told him as I pulled my wallet out of my pocket. “Take all the time you want,” he said with a laugh and he crossed his legs and leaned back in his chair. I whipped open my wallet. Oh God, this can’t be happening. I found nothing but an ID card in the small global public school pouched within my wallet. I flipped the ID card, expecting to see my face and my name next to it. I found the name to be scratched out and the face peeled off. I stared down in disbelief as I dropped the ID card to the ground. “Who are you?” The question ran through my head again and again. I wondered how my day could get any worse when I looked up to see Michael standing up with the two guards at his side. “Why are you two here? I told you two specifically to stay outside,” I spat at the two guards, as they stood unmoving by his side. “Well, this is a reversal that you didn’t expect, did you?” he said, confidently walking towards me. “You expected me to be the one who didn’t know who he was, who didn’t know what to do, who didn’t find any purpose in his life, who was unstable and odd?” he said, face to face with me. My fists clenched as anger bubbled in my veins. I felt his words hit home as I finally remembered where and what I was. I realized why I was here, I wanted to help people and fix their problems, ignoring the irrational behavior I possessed. Now I understood why I felt the need to help, my help liberated people. It helped them start afresh. It allowed them to begin with a fresh slate that I wanted so eagerly. I turned around to find a mannequin lying behind my seat, its throat slit and a knife lying at the foot of the seat that I had been sitting on a few moments ago. Liberation, freedom, a fresh start. I finally understood what my idea of freedom was. Death. It did seem to free us from this needless life of pain among other emotions. I smiled as I finally understood what I was thinking about and the need I had felt so keenly. I was the patient, never the doctor. Maybe I needed the treatment they were going to give me. Maybe it would liberate me. 23