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Rachael's Story

Rachael's Story

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Published by Masud Khan Shujon
chapters out of my novel that I aspire to write/finish
chapters out of my novel that I aspire to write/finish

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Published by: Masud Khan Shujon on Jul 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rachael’s Story“Joy is coming,” I whispered to Rocky.“Nothing has changed, Joy still detests us. I heard it, the voicesaying one thing, being the polite Joy; what do you call it, oh yeah,being the Bhodrolok; and underneath, I could hear the screaming,his mind wanting to tear into me. But, but, he is coming. At least,he has agreed to come see you.”I was shaking, quivering, losing the strength that I have acquiredover the years, again feeling afraid, molting butterflies dyingexcruciatingly in my stomach; years later, and I am turned againinto that little girl looking up in fear.I waited 20 years to make the call to Joy. Joy, the first Bengali boy Imet, whose innocence and sensitivity I fell in love with. Joy, whoseheart was big enough to embrace me, whose love was deep enoughto almost engulf my darkness, but whose mind’s inability to graspan existence-my existence- so different from his sheltered life,made him a stranger to me during those days when the scared littlegirl in me would surface and bring the shutters down behind myeyes and close me off until the memories would pass. Joy, whoseheart I broke when I walked off on him, from whose eyes I tore theglint, the awe that always shone in them as he smiled at the world,away as I looked for succor and solace in his best friend’s arms. The memory of those same eyes reflecting something other thanlight—something dark, dank and awful as we walked away held usboth back—Rocky and me—from ever contacting Joy. For over 20years, Rocky and I lived, loved, made peace with ourselves and ourbetrayal and abandonment of Joy, but did not pick up the phone oreven drop a note to him explaining ourselves or asking for him toforgive us. Rocky and I spoke about a rapprochement with Joy thefirst few years of our lives together, but did not act on it for fear of being lashed by those eyes, ripped into by the original sin that gavebirth to our idyllic life, and reawakening in me the rune horned ones,the leery eyed demons whom I outgrew over the years. We had noteven talked about Joy for the last decade; it was only after Rockybecame sick, only after we were faced with Karma’s rude slap, didwe start talking about Joy. Then the last few weeks, as Rockybecame infected from a surgery and would call out Joy’s name inthe night from delirium, I started preparing myself to call Joy. So, Idid and it has left me shaking, scared and lost.For 20 years I grew and climbed out of my childhood fears and shedmy cloak of self-loathing, nourished by a man who could talk me outof places and unlit alleys in my mind, who would step in shoo awaythe shadows of old men and crying wolves. Rocky, my second
Bengali boy, my second love, my first love’s best friend, rescued mefrom myself, a rescue which Joy was incapable of. But I was rescuedat a cost, marred by Karma’s frown following our every step sincewe turned our backs on Joy. _____________________________________________________________________  ________________________ 
 Autumn, 1986. The Dinosaurs were playing at the WOW Hall,Eugene’s favorite music venue. All the hippies, young, old and wanna bes came to see this San Francisco Psychedelic super group play. Long haired boys blown on microdots or liquid, little girls indreadlocks buzzing on shrooms, all chattering about seeing JohnCippoliano playing his guitar, or hearing Steve Keyser playing hissweet drums (will he sound the same as he did in Jefferson Airplane,asks one wanna be to show off his hippie creds), or asking whether Merle will show up as a guest.God, I hated these hippies. I wanted to retch at the smell of theskunk weed and patchouli that enveloped them like a protectivemist, or the fried on acid empty smiles they gave you as they hugged you.Only reason I was there at the hall was to make a few bucks as my old man, Big Ray, was bouncing at the door. We were also sellinghits of acid for $5 each, which we bought for only $100 for 100 hits.By the end of the night, we would walk away with 5 times our investment, leaving some poor hippie college kid to wake up toanother tomorrow of melting walls or whispering trees as hisconstant companions. Oh well, fuck them. I was safe with Big Ray and our whisky. None of these college drugs for us, none of thelove thy neighbour, what would Jesus do bullshit. We drank whiskey and we fought and fucked. No empty faces, no moonlight shadows,no whispers from angels or devils for us.“hey Rachael, watch the door. I gottta dump the rest of the hitswith that kid and I will be back. I don’t like carrying so much shiwith me in case there is heat.” Big Ray walked off. Big Ray wascovered in prison tats; tats that proved that he was a OnePercenter, one of the true biker outlaws. Ray was more than twicemy age; when we met two years ago, I was 14 and he was already 36 years old. We met at Mole Lake, the first festival since the riotsof 1980. I was drunk, dancing like a warrior princess, while mamalay passed out by the fire and Grandpa Jerry skulked in the corner (“fuck you, Jerry, I don’t owe you nothing.”) Ray saw me, picked meup and asked me whether I wanted to go for a ride. I never looked back.Ray was good to me. I would say that he even loved me. He didn’hurt me like Jerry did. He was gentle when we fucked. He never beat me if he didn’t have to. He didn’t let his buddies talk smack to
me. When his biker gang, the Gypsy Joker’s annual Birthday Bashtook place, he didn’t bring me to it in the first year. When I said that I wanted to go the next year, he warned me about the girlsbeing passed around and told me that I was too young. I still went. After the wet t-shirt, the group striptease of all the girls, the passingof the bitches started; Ray took a member of the Free Soul, a lesser biker gang, out to the back and beat him to pulp for trying to fuck me and dragged me out. No one said a word. I didn’t go to theBirthday Bash after that.“Excuse me,” a voice snapped me back to the WOW Hall, “could I please buy a ticket to get in?” A clean cut boy, brown like me, witha shaved face and smiling eyes looked at me. Among the skunk smokers, the patchouli wafters, the acid eaters, the coke tweakers,the heroin shooters, this boy with a sing song accent, eyes bright and white, with the most gentle face and voice, all of a suddenreminded me of the time I was 7 years old, sitting on a blond haired and blue eyed angel’s lap as she sang songs to me in Mole Lake.“hi,” I didn’t know what to say. “I am Rachael” “My name is Joy. You know, you look Bengali. You look like a very beautiful Bengali girl.” 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Joy was unlike any man I had ever met. He was wild, funny, alive,but did not drink, smoke or do drugs (until I met him, I did not thinkthat was possible for someone to be straight and fun at the sametime). From that first night we met, he would show up at the door of the WOW hall every weekend. He would smile at me, talk to me fora few minutes and then dance as if all his bones had turned intoliquid mercury. Then, at the end of the night, he would walk out,wet with sweat and clear eyed, while all others stumbled aroundhim.One night when Ray was off on a run to Portland to pick up somemore sheets of acid, I saw Joy walking out and asked him whetherhe wanted to go for some breakfast at the greasy spoon next door.He nodded happily, and then asked if he could bring his friend alongand pointed to a guy slouched, almost passed out, by the cornerbar. That was the first time I noticed Rocky, as he did not stand outat the WOW; he was as wasted as the rest of them, if not morewasted and cheebaed out then the rest. After we closed up and Ihanded my door-take to the manager, Joy and I walked and half carried Rocky over to breakfast. While Rocky nodded at the cornerof our booth, Joy weaved stories of family, laughter, his Bangladesh,his Dhaka, his neighbourhood Dhanmondi, around me. Joyentranced me with his sharing about the food his mother fed him by

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