Chapter 18 by Rakesh Mohan
Adi was pacing up and down the hall, annoyed about never being let into the study. The dark mahogany door was a thing of beauty as well as constant nightmares. Leaning against the door, all he could hear was silence broken by the occasional grunt or sighs of frustration. Sighs of frustration which paled in comparison to Adi. He never really understood what his dad got to behind those doors and for a curious person like himself, it made his blood boil.
The sound of the bell rang across the house, followed by a young girl shouting out Adi’s name. His favorite cousin was home for their playdate, at least this would take his mind off his father holed away in his study. “Stop being so grumpy and bring out the Dulo board, I’ve missed seeing you lose”, said a young chirpy Nadia. Adi was as sore a loser as they come, and their intense Dulo games heated up with the occasional yells and screams. Just as they were finishing up, the sound of the doorbell rang again. When Adi opened the door, his jaw fell in awe. He had only watched Tarzan on the TV and now he had one suited up standing right in front of him. “May I speak with your father please?” asked a more youthful Dorian. Before Adi could respond, he saw his dad rush past to greet Dorian as his mum followed quickly behind, running her hand nervously through her long hair as they chatted on the cold concrete footsteps of their simple suburban home. A few moments later the door shut. Their blue family van turned the corner and was never seen again.
That memory of his parents was something that would wake him up in cold sweats years into his adult life. Something he never admitted to anyone, not even Nadia. It was a day later when Nadia’s mum got the dreaded call that Masha and Talal had gotten into a terrible car crash. Bodies mutilated beyond recognition and only traceable from a DNA test. Everything that followed was a blur. It was a surreal feeling for a young boy to be greeted by friends, family and strangers at the funeral. Contending with the meaning of death, the meaning of being an orphan. Nadia next to him holding his hand in that familiar, warm way saying everything that needed to be said as her tiny fingers tried to grip his hand, as though trying to keep him from literally falling apart.
He couldn’t even give them a proper goodbye, and neither could anyone else as they walked past the pale blue closed casket with those ugly pink flowers draped all around. He hated those flowers. Throughout all this, he never shed a tear. All he kept doing was replaying the final moment he saw his parents get into the car with that Tarzan man.
It was nearly a week after the funeral that Adi could muster the courage to step foot into his dad's now empty study. He sat in the middle of the room and if he closed his eyes he could almost like a seance conjure the familiar sights and smells that now haunted this room. This is where it all began, devouring any and all information he could. Several confidential and top-secret government documents, books on philosophy and print outs of radical extremist views, and the whole lot. His formative years were filled out with nights in his dad’s study, drowning in information from all ends of the spectrum. Maybe it was the loss of his parents that subconsciously turned him into versions of them.
But now as he stared directly into the face of a ghost, Adi could only hear the sound of his own heart thumping in his ears. He didn’t know if it was the rain or tears streaming down his face. His father was now inches from him and as he spoke Adi’s heart came to a stop. “I’m sorry I never said a proper goodbye but, it’s good to see you again my dear boy”.