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River of memories

Hey, you need some company, handsome?' I looked vacantly at the speaker. It was a pretty, quite young girl. She was wearing a really small skirt and a top that looked ready to burst. I could smell the cheap perfume and see the layers of excessive make-up on her.

'Undoubtedly one of the queens of the night,' I thought dizzily. 'No, I'm fine,' I replied. I don't want any company tonight. I kept on walking, swaying slightly. The whisky was finally getting to my head and I felt a little sick, as if I was on the verge of fainting. I walked in through the park gates and crashed down on a bench.

The lamppost down the small park path was dim, emitting something close to rays of candlelight. It made the darkness seem deeper. The river could be seen as a dark gray road, moving like a serpent; surrounded by the darkness. It reminded me of River Surma, the river that flowed by my village. I let out a sigh, as my brain was flooded with memories of my childhood, of boat journeys, of swimming, of watching huge cargo boats move slowly past, like age-old elephants.

The bulb of the lamppost went out with a pop, perhaps a little voltage fluctuation. My eyes got used to the starlight. I could make out a stray dog scavenging one of the bins for a piece of hamburger or hotdog. The lights on the opposite bank of River Tyne twinkled like stars. I looked up. There was no moon, but the stars were shining brightly. I picked out The Hunter Orion, my favourite constellation. The first constellation I ever actually figured out, thanks to my dad. I felt tears clouding my eyes. Thinking of my dad was a painful thing. There was so much he wanted me to accomplish, and when I did, he wasn't there to see it, none of my parents were. He used to say, 'son, choose your own ways. Since you like science so much, maybe you'll be a scientist, or a teacher. You'd make a great teacher.' His eyes sparkled with hope for the future. My parents died in an accident two days after I gave my masters exam in Physics. I flew in from England but couldn't even make it to the burial. Two months later, my result got out. I passed with a first class first. I was offered a post as a lecturer in Manchester University. Oh, if my parents could see me now, sitting on a park bench in Newcastle, drunk, at two o'clock in the morning. But it doesn't matter anymore. They're dead. So is that stupid job. I've handed in my resignation. I'm not going to be tied down anymore.

I felt my stomach turn violently. I leaned over the side of the bench and vomited all over the grass. There wasn't anything solid in there. Didn't have anything solid that day. My throat burned as the whisky came out. I searched my pocket for a tissue; there was nothing there but a two-way ticket from London to Newcastle, my hotel keys and a pack of cigarettes along with a match. I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my jacket. I felt a bit better. My throat felt a bit sore but it was quite ok. The dog came over and smelt the mess. He didn't like it much and moved on. That's what happens every damn time- things move on.

I thought about my decisions. Did I make the right choices? Resigning my job, selling the house in Bangladesh, the house that my father worked so hard to build? 'Yes,' I thought, 'there was no other options. I had to pay my father's debts. And I don't have anyone to support, I don't need that job either.'

But I did have someone; or rather, I had someone. I just bought a BMW yesterday, which left me, broke. It was a gift, a wedding gift. Shuva got married today. High school romances can be so stupid sometimes. Shuva's my best friend. I loved her ever since year-10. 11 years, my god. It seemed like yesterday we met each other in a classroom in Sylhet. I used to tell her that she should spell her name, 'Shobha'. She would say, 'everyone loves his or her name. That's the one thing they want to spread throughout the world. Why do you think writers, players, actors, singers do what they do?' She's a surgeon now. She fell in love with this doctor who's in the same hospital with her, in Edinburgh.

I feel a similarity between Ed, the main character from a TV show and myself. I was confused whether I should tell her something or not. Does she love me? What if she doesn't? Is it worth risking the friendship? It was during this mixed up confusing time span that I lost her. Real life isn't a TV show. Ed might still end up with the girl of his dreams. My life crashed around me today. The thing that kept me going after my parent's death was Shuva. I didn't stop her; I didn't do anything.

I saw a shooting star. I closed my eyes to make a wish. Then I realized, there's nothing to wish for anymore. I felt my heart twisting and turning in my ribcage. I could feel a tear coming down my cheek. I took out the last cigarette of the packet and lit it with a shaking hand. I sent of a cloud of smoke as if I hoped to hide behind it, trying to sweep off the picture of Shuva walking down the aisle. Her parents didn't have much against marrying a Christian, though they insisted that the wedding ceremony be both Christian and Muslim. Deep inside my heart, I wished they had stopped it, but it's a small part of my heart where green monster jealousy is locked up. The cloud of smoke didn't work. I can't hide from my own head.

'Coward,' a voice inside me spoke up, 'love doesn't wait for cowards like you.'
'But if she's happy with how she is, so be it. All I ever wanted was to make her happy,' I thought desperately.

'So you spent your entire life savings on that bloody BMW so you can sit here and be drunk and feel sorry for your self? What's that? Henry the Groom doesn't have a car and Shuva loves BMWs? Gimme a break! Lamest guy I've ever seen.'

I shook my head. 'It's over, so get up, fool,' the harsh voice said again. I dropped the cigarette and stamped it. I had to get over to the hotel. I needed to sleep. I drank a beer stein full of whisky, Stephen King style. I once read in one of his books about this guy who squeezes lemon juice down his nostrils and drinks a whole lot of whisky. It worked just like the book said it would, “you're so occupied with what's going on with your nose that you don't realize what's going down your throat.”

My train leaves tomorrow. I got another job. This time, I'll be on a cruise ship as a guitarist in the house band. I was always good with the guitar. I'll live it out, see how the story of my life ends. It'll be a new beginning, fresh canvas. I think it will be great to look at the endless waters of the Atlantic under the full moon and, maybe write something, you know. Hey, life's gotta go on, right?

By Estel

Musical Mantra

There is a time in a kids life when s/he first starts listening to music and I mean listening to music addictively. It could be as early as 10 or if you are a sad, sad sap like I am, as late as 14. However since music taste is nowadays a 'trend' thing- I would save you some of my own embarrassments and create a music recommendation column or simply…what everyone is listening to column. And don't worry all you metal lovers out there, I will make sure that for once death metal is mentioned in the press as real music. So we are off…

Lets focus on a great but under-listened band in Bangladesh, Korn. I have no idea why people frown upon it but here is some great music if you want to kick start into the best of nu-metal.

Korn's Twisted Transistor is their new hit single from their new album “See You On The Other Side.” The song is for those who like to head bang and even non-Korn fans would love it. Try to see the video. They show it all the time in VH1- It has to be one of the funniest and best videos ever!

Another Korn must-listen song is Here To Stay from the album Untouchables- in fact some would say it is Korn's best song. Much more heavier, darker and oh, obviously not for everyone.

If your taste is for something much softer try out James Blunt. For those of you who haven't heard James Blunt yet- you should seriously die. The guy has to be one of the most awesome debut solo-artist last year. Listen to “You're Beautiful”- for all those people who recently got tchakafied or whose crush is simply too Beautiful * smiles evilly *. Let me give you a warning first, though. You're Beautiful is really emotional. After all lyrics like

“You're Beautiful, you're beautiful its true
I saw your face in a crowded place
And I don't know what to do
Cause I'll never be with you”
Hit a little close to home for everyone.

Also listen to High and my personal favourite: “Wisemen” to get the soft but upbeat and optimistic feel. Seriously James Blunt songs are those which you can play all day, without ever feeling bored. Try to buy his new album, Back to Bedlam available everywhere in stores.

And for those of you who have been following Rockstar INXS rather avidly, INXS' new single is out featuring JD Fortune. I am sure you have heard it by now, but just for the record “Pretty Vegas” is an awesome song, powerful with a pretty good chorus. And for those of you who hate JD Fortune and love Marty Casy- listen to his Trees. Initially this song revolted me, but this song is very, very, VERY catchy. And after a while weirdly simple lyrics like “It will be you and me, up in the tree” sounds really nice. This song can change your mood. Guaranteed to make you well, happy…if you do become depressed from listening to James Blunt, that is.

Next issue we focus on something for the heavy metal fans. See ya!

By Reggie


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