Thursday, June 23, 2016

Last Words...

It's roughly 3 a.m. in the morning and she is awakened by the sound of her phone shaking uncontrollably on the nighstand.

She doesn’t fret.

Many years ago, while listing out her fears in a journal she had written down ‘Waking up to a phone call in the middle of the night’ right at the top of the page.

Back then she lived in a hostel away from home. Now, with the two people she cared the most for sleeping peacefully in the room next to her, she realizes that fear is no longer a concern.

That’s when she sees the name of the caller.

It’s been 6 months, 6 long months since she heard from him. What on earth could he want to say to her at this time?

The phone continues to vibrate, she picks it up and holds it in her hands, all she wants to do is reduce the racket it is making.

Fortunately, it stops.

“Well that’s that”. She exclaims loudly and falls back on her pillow.
Barely 2 minutes go by and the phone starts buzzing again.

‘Dammit’!

What if it is something urgent ? She wonders.

“Your kindness is both your biggest strength and you greatest weakness Anne”. She remembers her best friend repeatedly declaring over the past two decades.

After what seems like forever she reluctantly slides her finger across the phone screen.

“Hello”. She hears a familar voice say and it makes her smile for a moment. 

Before she even realizes it they are talking to each other like in the old days. A lot of things have happened to both of them and there's plenty of catching up to do.

After a while though, even as the conversation continues, a disconcerting thought begins to occupy her mind.

This is probably going to be the last time they talk to each other.

What do you say to someone when you know there’s a one in a billion chance that you will ever talk to them again? She wonders as she hopes he is thinking of the same thing too.

Slowly but surely they have run out of things to say to each other.

There is silence on both ends of the phone.
When I was a kid I never thought a day would come when the news would ever take on the form of entertainment, or worse still become unreliable or untrustworthy.

But in today’s world, you have to take everything you read, hear or watch with more than just a ‘pinch’ of salt.

It is ironic, but right now I rely heavily on satirical comedy shows like 'The Daily Show' and 'Last Week Tonight' to stay abreast with what’s going on in the world.

The Daily Show is currently hosted by Trevor Noah, a highly affable comedian from South Africa. For over 16 years though, the face of the show was Jon Stewart.
I was traveling when I first heard the news that Jon had decided to quit the network and focus on his family life.

This was not something I saw coming and it broke my heart.
Watching the 21-minute program which often featured some of the biggest personalities in the world on its guest list and talented comedians in the likes of Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Jason Jones among many others was something I looked forward to every single day.

When August 6th came along I watched the finale with bated breath eager to see what would be Jon’s final words to his audience.

Again, he didn’t disappoint.

After thanking his wife and kids, the people who watched the show and everyone both in front and behind the camera He said “An artist I really admire once said that he thinks of his career as a long conversation with the audience, a dialogue, and I really like that metaphor for many different reasons but the main one is because it takes away the idea of finality. This is just, it’s a conversation, this show isn’t ending we’re merely taking a small pause in the conversation, a conversation which by the way, I have hogged, and I apologize for that". 

“I should have at some point turned the camera around to ask, So do you guys have something to add? I’ve really been dominating this in a really selfish way”

“Oh, but I thought that it was a remarkable way of getting to that nothing ends, its, its, just a continuation, it’s a pause in the conversation. So, rather than saying goodbye, or good night, I’m just going to say, I’m gonna go get a drink, and… I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave”.
I have found that many people like me struggle with the finite nature of everything that comes along with life.

In fact I’m one of those people who even avoids saying the word bye in my day to day conversations.

But just because we don’t like it, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be faced by such situations as we move from one phase of life to another. 

No matter how much you hate it, there is almost always an expiry date on everything. 

Whether it’s a farewell party at the office, a phone call, or even an unexpected brief run in with someone you once really cared about, there are times when you know that this might be the last time you see, hear or write to them.

There are no perfect final words that you can tell them, and the last thing you want is to hurt them, or worse still, hurt yourself by saying something inappropriate.

But like Jon, I think it's always better to leave that possibility of reuniting with someone open.

Maybe when you grab that drink and return, you’ll see those people again, and even though it may not be as epic as it once was, you may end up having another good memory to add to your life.

That has got to be worth something.
If you are curious to know what Anne said to the guy on the other end of the phone.

Well, I’ll tell you what she didn’t say.

She didn’t say goodnight, and she didn’t say goodbye.

'Farewells are only painful when you know there is no possibility of saying hello again', She recalled reading somewhere. For now, taking that one in a billion chance seemed to be enough.

Until Next Time.

TGV