Neil
Short Stories

Neil And His Unusual Life

Neil woke up at the sound of an alarm clock kept beside his table. He stretched out his hand to find his spectacles. The room was cold and dark. It was Tuesday and he had an important client meeting at his office. Though he had done the preparations, he lacked the enthusiasm. For a moment, he thought of feigning a headache and taking a leave from the office but then he chucked it. Finally, he got to his feet and walked towards the washroom. After 20 minutes, he came out of the washroom. 

He picked up his phone and typed a message to Farah. “Good morning. I am sorry for yesterday’s argument. I know you were being logical but you see I am afraid of swimming. What if I drown?”

He hit the ‘send’ button.  

For 10 minutes, he scrolled through his social media feeds. He was also hoping that Farah may reply. But she didn’t. “Maybe she is still asleep. No worries. Till then, I must prepare my breakfast else I will have to eat unhealthy snacks.”

While Neil was preparing breakfast, he was constantly checking his phone in the hope to see if Farah had replied. Finally, a notification popped and yes it was Farah’s message. Quickly, Neil opened the message. It read, “I know Neil you are scared of water. But think about the adventure. Moreover, conquering one’s fears is quite important. Moreover, I will be there with you.”

Neil knew this was it. Farah won’t give up. She would try all means to make him learn swimming. After all, she has been doing this for so many years. It was Farah, who insisted he should switch his job and move to another city. He recalled how reluctantly he resigned and joined his current office in Bangalore. Thanks to Farah, he could get rid of that toxic work environment. Not only this, but Farah also helped Neil in ending his narcissistic relationship with his ex-girlfriend. 

When he reached his office, his boss Rohan was busy meeting a few people. He sat at his place. It is then his colleague and close friend Ashok greeted him. “Neil, how are you?”

“Pathetic. I don’t have any enthusiasm for attending today’s client meeting but I have no choice.”

“Don’t worry, Rohan is attending to the clients. I already mailed him the ppt.”

“Thanks, Ashok. Only you are my best friend in this office. I don’t trust anyone other than you and Farah. By the way, I will be meeting Farah today in the evening. So I may leave early.”

“Sounds great. But tell me, are you taking your medicine?”

“Ashok, I am fine. Please don’t remind me about taking medicine. It makes him sick,” Neil replied annoyingly. “I know you are healthy and fine but you need to take your medicines on time. It’s just for your betterment.”

But Neil ignored him and pretended to be busy at work. Ashok went to his workstation and sat thinking about Neil and the accident that left him mentally ill. He recalled how Neil met with an accident four years ago. Neil was badly injured and was rushed to the hospital. After staying unconscious for three days, Neil woke up but he was too weak to talk.  

Doctors told that Neil had some brain injuries as well and these may affect his thinking ability. They were right as after gaining consciousness, Neil started talking about Farah.

Farah was Neil’s girlfriend who loved him unconditionally. The couple was supposed to get married until Farah died in a similar road rash. She was crossing the road while texting & insisting Neil take up the swimming classes. Though she was rushed to the hospital, she succumbed to her injuries. But it was not just about Farah, Neil started talking about the client meeting that he had on the day of the accident. 

Every day, Neil would wake up and prepare for attending his client meeting. He would prepare his breakfast and would drive to the office. He would mention Farah and the ppt he prepared for the client meeting. At 5:00 PM, he would leave for meeting Farah and going to his home. After spending an evening, he would go back to sleep to wake up in the morning with the same repetitive memory. 

Initially, Rohan was reluctant on allowing Neil to the office as he believed Neil should undergo treatment. But it was Ashok and Neil’s family who insisted Rohan. They believed this would help him from losing his remaining sanity. In fact, they also wanted to make Neil believe that Farah is no more. But whenever they tried telling him so, he would get panic and anxiety attacks.

It was 5:00 PM. Neil got up from his seat and started to leave for home. He texted a message to Farah, “Leaving from office. See you in an hour.”

“You go to your home. I’ll meet you tomorrow,” he received a message from Farah. 

“Okay, Farah. No problem. Bye.” Ashok received a message from Neil while deleting the ‘sent’ messages from his cell phone.

Also read: Sunaina: The Widow That Didn’t Cry

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