Left Behind (III)

30 01 2008

Present day, 2008

“So, Richards, this is the moment, then”. The Warden mouthed as he half-expectedly waited for something profound to come out, from the man.

A nod. Eyes downcast, a silver beard and a frail frame. Forty three years of jail has given him a lot of things to carry home. Forty three years in death row has taken away, too. Now he walks with a slight bent back, and eyes devoid of any life. Lt. Evans flanking him, handed over his belongings, and a pen.

Kenny took that in unsure hands and signed away an identity taken from him long back.

“Mr. Franklin, all these years, I prayed for my freedom. Now I am not sure if I prayed for the right thing” Kenny said, with his eyes half misty and half reminiscent.

“Its okay,Richards, you will do just fine”, said the Warden, glancing at Evans, unable to look towards Kenny.

Kenny Richards, 63, walked out of the Northampton County Jail on that day. A blue denim shirt, a gray loafer and had all been what he took. He glanced back at what had been his home for so long. Franklin looked from his window, two stairs up, slightly puffing his cigar. The Warden for one fleeting moment, felt that he was looking at him through his rheumatic eyes. And then Kenny turned back trying his best to pace with the life ahead but then he was gone.

Kenny faltering steps fell unsure on the new world. Everything seemed to change. World suddenly seemed to be a distant place and its people all of a sudden indifferent. Al these years, Kenny felt a mortal fear. Today for the first time he felt a fear of being alone.He remembered all his friends, his family, his sister and Tina. His eyes got misty and a drop of tear rolled down from his left cheek. Ohio was far, but he has got to make one final trip. Who knows, his cousin Lana may be still there.

Northampton, it was, even 43 years back. Today it looked to him as the entire world has moved leaving him behind. But Kenny wagered, Montana won’t change. He will be still the same man, even 43 years after, if he is alive. He walked to the downtown part of the town, looking for his old pal. Yet each time a car zoomed past him, it gave him shivers. He cursed, he muttered, he whispered but still it took him more than the old Richards to walk in this town.

“Yes, may I help you?”, a petite girl of 16 years opened the door to Kenny.

“Young lady, is it where Montana lives?”

“Montana? No..nobody lives by that name here…”

“Who is it Samantha?”, a voice frail and withered with the ravages of time spoke from inside.

“Dunno, grandpa, somebody asking for Montana”, replied the girl half-unsure and half-concerned.

A frail figure hobbled from inside, with a stick held tentatively in his hand. The stick seemed to cling to him, yet the old man seem to despise it. Kenny for a moment prayed for the ghost of a chance.

“Jonny Montana is it? ” Kenny’s tone suddenly a lot more hopeful and expectant.

“Yeah boy, it is. This is Montana”, Montana’s voice betraying the surprise and joy of an unexpected company.

“This is Kenny, Montana… remember me?” Kenny smiled, Montana’s fading eyes lit up.

“Its a long story Montana, they have taken 43 years of my life. I served time for something I never did. And each day I passed as my last. Jonny boy its horrible “. Kenny took a sip of Earl Grey and managed a sniffle. Montana nodded.

“I understand Kenny, life had been unfair. You cant fret over it now, Kenny. You got a second chance boy, live it”, Montana assured the defeated man, and assuaged some more.Kenny seemed to understand.

“Maybe I will, stay back in Ohio, Jonny. My nephew must be a big man now. Wonder what he does for a living. Lets see, what can I do up there.”

“Montana I needed some money… to go home”, hesitating words from a proud Kenny. Kenny sighed in his heart what all his sentence has taken from him.

“… you see the nickels and pences of those years don’t go these days.” Kenny spoke with a embarrassed smile.

“Yeah, yeah Kenny boy. I always borrowed from you, didn’t know you would remember those things all these years”, said Montana with a toothy grin.

“Wait.. let me get you some”



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One response

30 01 2008
Left Behind « The Soul and The Witness

[…] …continued […]

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