Jan 3, 2011

The Gangster: Carpe Diem

By Fatima Arfeen

They say what you cannot define does not exist; what if who you are becomes what
you can no longer define? Do you cease to exist? What is that boundary we’re so often
warned about? The one that ‘divides’. That intangible line you never realize you’ve
slipped past until it’s too late? You’re so far consumed by what landed you in that state
of limbo to begin with, it becomes virtually impossible to decipher the voices in your
head. They taunt and they taunt and they taunt. Times like those, the one-way street to
an inevitable doom becomes the only street left to walk because turning back is only just
that fragment of your mind that refuses to release its grasp on denial. Fear, they call it.
That sickly feeling that impresses itself upon you, making you question not only your
sanity, but your humanity. And what if… what if you find you can no longer define
those either? That, my friend, is when you come closest to selling your soul to the devil
in bargain to satisfy your cravings for the smallest ounce of peace, thinking it’ll rid you
of the turbulence within. Sadly, even that evades and abandons. Nothing more is left
of “you” than that hollow shell. The very shell that so convincingly resembles my being.
I tear myself away from the cold eyes that stare back hard in my reflection. I run
my hand over that monster beating through my chest in an attempt to remind myself
that I’m still alive, in this self created, endless, merciless nightmare. Impulsively, my
fist rebounds off the wall and what felt like the beginnings of pain tickled my knuckles.
Blood for blood; it was justified, I convinced myself repeatedly.
My mind slipped back to the time I had been standing in the same spot five years
ago. A homeless nobody wandering the streets, waiting to be found. The tall, suited
man began approaching me, cornering me up against the wall of the silent, isolated lane.
Afraid he had seen me at my worst, I began tucking the freshly stolen wallet deeper into
the pocket of my, also stolen, coat. He became, much to the contrary, my “saviour”,
extending a helpful hand in exchange for my services. Rather unsure of what exactly
these qualified as, even for an uneducated teen, I was smart enough to recognize game
when I saw it. Besides, that watch on his wrist, with all its daintiness, shimmering even
against the ash taint of the sky was, I calculated in my head, a poor reflection of his true
fortune. The deal had been sealed.
I trailed off on a rewind of the roller coaster ride my pathetic excuse for a life had
become. The boy that thought he had cheated destiny watching as the tattered clothes
were replaced by posh suits, first class plane tickets, personal assistants, all expense paid
vacations, a sum total of the American dream to be precise, was only to realize he had
been played against himself. That moment had presented itself.
A harsh knocking on the door snapped me back to the present; I was unconsciously
still holding my face under the cold tap. Swearing under my breath at the source of the
interruption, I hurriedly patted my face dry and slid on the sleek black Ralph Lauren coat.
With a sweeping look at the cracked mirror, my fingers slid onto the icy metal of the
loaded gun that lay by the sink. The familiar feel of the bare barrel against my skin sent a

fresh shot of adrenaline up my spine. I knew, that even if my full capacity, I was nothing
less of an ant to a mountain in comparison to him, but I had to try. For the first time, in a
long time, I was scared out of my skin. As I walked out the door, the final alias had been
abandoned; it was time to face the demons.


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