Kenny took one last breath of the Northampton air and took the bus to the life ahead. The local FM was on.
“These are good times, blue skies, dark nights,
baby… see that you take me, wherever you go.
Baby, see that you save me… a seat next to you”
Kenny let out a lonely smile come to his face, and looked at the arduous road ahead. On the way to Ohio, after 50 years and world just seemed too deliriously fast.
A Goth girl took the seat next to him, all black leather and and a small shiny silver-ish box on her lap and two white wires snaking up to her ears. To Kenny it seemed that she was tethering somewhere in between an orgasmic joy and a head jerking sickness. Kenny looked at her with all the amazement he could muster and the girl kept up at her devotion to her punk star. Suddenly the girl opened her eyes, conscious of a gaze on her. But Kenny couldn’t help.
“You got a problem, Mister? “
It took a fraction of a moment more for Kenny.
“Noh, I was just…”
“Didn’t see a girl before, old man?”
Kenny just smiled at himself and for a moment felt lucky he has been left behind.
“Its okay, don’t mind” , letting a friendly smile do its job.
“Kenny! “, yelled Scott from the road.One more shout and Kenny appeared on his porch, and let a short sharp whistle reach out to Scott. It’s summer in Ohio, and surfing was the best thing a teenager could do. Kenny put on a blue tee on his lanky body, and hopped in his bike. He didn’t have a surfboard. But he loved seeing Scott roll on his board. Sometimes, he would surf on Scott’s blue board and imagine himself touching the blue sky. He loved when the white waves took him along, threw him on another one. And he imagined himself as a conqueror, riding on the blue board, dressed in blue tees, making his way through the blue roaring waves.
“Hey man! wake up!, Ohio is here”, a huge burly guy called Kenny.
Kenny for a moment disoriented, instantly feeling the burden of 60 years.
“Ohio, is it?”
“Yeah man! wake up… hurry along ol’ man”
“Thanks, just managed a shuteye”
A song seemed to be blaring out of radio.
I always knew that I liked this place
You don’t have to look too far
to find a better living place
I feel life while walking down its street
Kenny rubbed the sleep and the waves away from his eyes and got down of the bus.The song of the road seemed to fade away,
The world keeps spinning round and round
this is where all those comes down down, down
Say I love this town, oh yeah I love this town
Kenny had to find Lana and his life again. Ohio was bigger than Northampton, and more dreadful. Kenny found himself strangely disoriented and afraid seeing the skyscrapers and the unending milieu ahead.
“You know what, Richards, why these guys serving time over here feel tough to move back into that world. Its all because, they are somebody out here, boy. He has got friends, he believes he has got a sense of belonginglyness.”
“You mean belongingness”
“Yeah, belonginglyness. Out there nobody knows him, and everybody has forsaken him for good”
“Al , dear ol’ Al “, and he let out a smirk come upto his face. That winter, Al was killed trying to escape. It was a bad plan gone awry. But for the sheer will for freedom, Al almost made it to the compound wall. The next day, even police couldnt identify his face for sure.He jogged his memory, and tried to remember the way to his home. Took another bus and reached the ranch. It was a huge ranch even in those days. But a whole lot many houses have popped up, almost as if sprayed randomly across the panorama. Kenny hobbled his way to the outhouse. With what seemed, Lana has moved away. Or passed away. He went downhill to the nearest neighbor around 600 feet away. Maslows, read the nameplate. He wagered it will be a perfect American family.
He went upto their porch , but hesitated a long time. He stepped forward on the porch to ring the bell, once and took a step back. Hands, tucked inside his pants, betraying apprehension and hesitation from every pore of his body. A young lady, of around 24, opened the door.
“Hello…”, Kenny in his best pleasing tone, that forty three years as a jailbird allowed.
“… I was looking for the Richards family, was just wondering if you know anything about them. Remember the Richards lady, Lana”
” Ohh, yeah… they used to live uphill”, quickly adding seeing the lady change her face from suspicious to puzzled.
The lady’s face instantly seem to lit up.
“Uh huh… the Richards family I see. But dont know much about them. Soon after their elder son, got acquitted, the Richards elders died. With some Lana Gabors still living there till we came, she passed away soon after. She had a son, Mike. A hopeless chap, must say….”
“… Wait a minute, are you a friend of theirs or something like that, didnt you fellas keep in touch?… ” added the lady seeing the hopeful face of Kenny go dead with despair.
” No, nothing like that, I am Kenny, cousin of Lana”
“Aah I see… Kenny… Oh my God!, is it Kenny Richards? The Kenny Richards, the Monster of Northampton?”, her face become horror stricken, yet a faint sense of doubt remained, to see the monster in such a humbling form. Yet instincts are what drives us. She slammed the door shut on Kenny’s face.
Kenny, dejected, started out on the uphill road and when he reached, Kenny gave one last look to his home, and took the long ride back to Ohio.
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