I went. Simple as that. I am twenty-four—newly twenty-four—and not in the habit of soul-searching. I know what my soul contains. Industrious little businessman/journalist that i am, I take inventory regularly; if pressed, I can draw up an itemized list of its contents.
I made the two-minute ride from College to Friend’s Flat in a black Yamaha RX 100 that had either an excellent pick-up or enough fuel to compliment the excellent pick-up—never both at once. It was a hot, sticky day and I spent most of it listening to whichever stupid song the guy who i still don’t know the name of ; played, whilst drinking rum and smoking gold flake.
No one’s ever asked me what it’s like to be sexually abused as a child—perhaps because it’s not something I readily discuss, or perhaps because the answer is obvious: it’s awful. And I had no delusions on that score. I knew I was speeding up the stairs to allow an older boy to touch me on the pretext of it being a “family game.” I knew I had as little chance as anyone wanting a happy ending with me as their significant other.
I sure as hell knew better than to allow the exact same thing to happen to me again on a vacation to Digha in the near future. Perhaps its fair to put the former line in italics.
A certain someone was thirty-two when i had met him. Seven years earlier, he had raped an elderly neighbor, clobbered her with an axe and nailed her hands to a chair before setting fire to her house. The next day, he had raped and sodomized a girl of twelve and then shot her thirteen-year-old sister, leaving the girl a paraplegic. For these crimes, the state of West Bengal had sentenced him to a double life imprisonment.
But as i made this two-minute bike ride from college to the friend’s flat on his twenty year old Yamaha RX 100, I had this sense of—I’m sitting here mentally snapping my fingers in an attempt to conjure a word that probably doesn’t exist in the lexicon of a twenty-four-year-old cynic—resolve, I suppose. Hope, even, absurd as that sounds. My crazed jaunt felt, on some level, like a rescue attempt; on some level, maybe I believed that this very ride could salvage some part of me.
(This certain someone had, at most, an IQ of 66. At the age of twenty-one, he’d begun to hear voices urging him to commit violent, destructive acts. He spent much of his life in and out of mental institutions. The day before the murder, something had impelled him to seek refuge in a halfway house; there hadn’t been any room. I enclose this information in parentheses because it had little to no legal relevance.)
It was dark by the time I left for home. I waited a while before i took the auto from Tollygunge to Hajra, hoping that the auto-wallah would split a hundred rupee note without making a scene.