Something I lost. Hmm .This is a tough one. I could write about the time I lost my laptop’s graphics card to overclocking and load shedding. I can write about the time I lost my sanity and haven’t regained it since. I want to write about the time I lost my first iPod. Damn that’s a sad recollection. I should write about the loss of my grandmother, whom I love very much. I have to write about the time I lost the loves of my life. That happened twice. If I write about how I lost my childhood innocence, it will be a dreadful account. Yes there will be blood in that one. There is also the time my parrot was eaten by a tomcat and I came to find his half devoured carcass in the front yard of my house (the parrot’s carcass, not the cat’s) I lost my friends. Thrice. Life happened. I may or may not write about how I wasted my time procrastinating lost my 3 chances to get admission into a medical college, which was the dream of my parents-not mine, mind you-and how they have been a little disappointed in me ever since. Of course they don’t show it, it’s just something I feel in the air whenever I am around them, that heaviness in the air, that stench of dead dreams that you can’t get rid of because you don’t know the origin of the source; me or them?
Instead let me write about the time I lost my Hearts in Atlantis book to the abyss that is Hammad Rasheed’s dorm room. Surprisingly you shall see how all of the losses connect to this one.
It was love. Love at first sight. I was standing in front of small derelict plaza in the middle of Liberty market, next to that Tattoo shop I can’t recall the name of. Come to think of it I can’t recall the name of the plaza itself. Anyways, enough about my fetish with old buildings and haunting corridors. There, at the end of the corridor in that complex, was a single book shop. No sunlight reached in that dark place. Somehow I knew that this place had called to me all the way from Lahore to my home in Faisalabad.
Preternaturally, I had answered the call. Here I was standing in the shop. The musty smell of old books, the sunbeams, the cigar smoking shopkeeper, the stacks of books I had not heard of before, the welcoming sound of rustling of pages. Oh, how can I put it delicately? It was just too much to take. I greeted the shopkeeper as if he were an old friend and he reciprocated likewise. Bookkeepers.
“Sir g, I am looking for Stephen King’s books. I came all the way from Faisalabad in search of them,” I told him-and I wasn’t lying either-with hope that he will have what I need, nay, yearn for. Back in Faisalabad, all I could find of Stephen King was a book named Cujo, a fascinating introduction to the world of King, but it wasn’t enough.
So here I was, on a quest to buy at least 5 or 7 books from the money that my aunt just gave me fifteen minutes earlier in the car. My initial plan was to cringe to my mom’s feet and beg her for money, but providence lent a hand and I was saved the begging. Thanks God.
So back in the shop, there I was, looking at the Stephen king books the shopkeeper was showing me, deciding which one to buy. I selected IT, Insomnia, Hearts in Atlantis, Four Past Midnight and Rose Madder.
That shopkeeper, God bless him, he sold me the books for a dollar each. There I was, the happiest man on earth, locked and stocked with my supply of nighttime horror.
In my hurry, I had forgotten to tell my parents to wait for me. Since the whole family was moving around in three cars, each assumed that I was with the other when in fact I was busy perusing the books.
In a city I barely knew, without a cell phone, with a bunch of Stephen King books in my hand and no cash in my pants, I was lost.
To be Continued.