Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gordon's Shadow

Gordon had difficulty connecting to people. He could speak to people as long as speech was functional. But as soon as speech would convert into anything near conversation, Gordon would clam up. His mind would stop working, words would dry up and his outward demeanour would change for the worse. People would generally take this as a cue to say goodbye and usually made a mental note to avoid the awkward situation in the future. Gordon had taken steps to treat his social awkwardness but no amount of personality development courses could cure the mental breakdown he would face while conversing with people. Unfortunately, most people mistook his lack of social skills for mental retardation. His office colleagues made snide remarks about him even when he was within earshot not realizing that Gordon could comprehend and feel the pain. His expressionless face would mask the humiliation and the frustration but he would feel the pain nevertheless. Even though he was good at his job as a machinist, he could never make progress in his career. He did not mind the lack of career upgradation as much as he minded the lack of human contact. Gordon's age was 33 and let alone marriage he had not even dated yet.

The only reason Gordon had survived was due to his 4 pet dogs. All of them stray ones. Somehow, he could connect with stray dogs and he especially bonded with the 4 dogs he kept as pets. He had never talked to his dogs like he had seen the other dog owners do. But the dogs never minded. The dogs loved his company and this is what kept Gordon going.

Gordon was once feeding his dogs with milk and biscuits when he heard a meek voice behind him say "Can I play with the dogs as well Sir?". It was his 9 year old next door neighbour. They had never met before but it seemed the kid had a liking for dogs. "Yes. Of-course" Gordon replied. "Wow. Thanks a lot. Thats really nice of you.I love dogs. By the way, I am Steve. What's your name?

Gordon waited for the usual clamming up sensation which would engulf him and would make him stutter his name nervously. But this time something was different. "Gordon" he replied confidently and clearly and with a smile to boot. Maybe it was the kid's enthusiasm and his cheery tone of voice or maybe it was the shared affinity of two dog lovers. Nevertheless, Gordon, for the first time in a long long while, did not mind conversing.

"What are their names Mr. Gordon?"

Gordon had never though of naming his dogs. The thought of calling out his dog's name had never occurred to him. But saying all of this to the kid would surely disappoint him. Gordon replied " This one you see here, he keeps scratching his ears. So I have named him scratchy"

"Scratchy. Hahaha". Laughther. The sweet sound of laughter. Gordon had forgotten how to make anyone laugh. Steve's laughter was the sweetest sound he had ever heard.

"And what about this dog Mr. Gordon. He is so monstrous. What's his name?"

'I have named him Little John" Gordon replied with a smile.

"Hahahahahaha" Steve broke into uncontrollable laughter "Just like in Robin Hood. And what about this dog Mr. Gordon" pointing to a completely black dog.

"Oh. That's Shadow. She is dark and she always follows me around. Just like me Shadow"

"Wow. That's so cool. And what about this dog. The one wagging its tail"

"Thats Gordon Junior. He reminds me of me. You can call him Junior if you want"

"Yes. He is like you. Mysterious but kind. You are an awesome neighbour, Mr. Gordon. Will you be my friend?"

"Yes ofcourse. I will be glad to" Gordon replied happily..

"Thanks! Gotta run now Mr. Gordon. Mum might get worried. See you later!"

"Bye Steve"

Gordon could not remember the last time he had felt so happy. He went into his garage and quietly threw something into the dustbin. It was the rope he was planning to kill himself with.