Sometimes it stops

You are currently viewing Sometimes it stops

Damn! She always had last-minute plans. Aavik fumed when he thought about his fastidious wife. She was a lovely woman without whom Aavik could not imagine life, but sometimes she drove him up the wall. But to her credit, she never complained though she had her hands full with their three sons, the oldest of whom was five years old.
His SUV was loaded with things that were hitherto stored in his garage. He swung the car to the right and cruised down the path that was lined with storage units. It was dark and the meager light from the intermittent lamps in the complex only made the place look eerier. Cruising around, he realized, he had the wrong alley. Making a K-turn, he drove back to the main driveway and took the next turn. The lights flickered and he swore under his breath. Reaching his unit, he started unloading boxes into the unit. Suddenly, he heard a scraping noise. He stopped his work and listened. The place was lit only by the headlights of his car and the light from his open unit. The cheap bastards, he thought. Couldn’t they make this place better lit? He resumed carrying the things in. The noise was louder this time. And along with the noise came the sound of heavy breathing in the dark silent night.
Aavik stood still for a moment. His instinct told him to bolt. But his male ego told him that was not what men did. The male ego won. Probably another sod driven by his wife here at this hour, he smirked, consciously hurrying up. The heavy breathing got louder. He squinted beyond the pool of light and saw the silhouette of an exceptionally tall man diagonally opposite his unit. His face was hidden under the dark hood of his jacket. Something glistened in his hand. The shadow stood as still as a statue, watching Aavik intently. Then he stepped forward. Aavik knew it was time to bolt. He must get into his car. The tall silhouette started running towards Aavik. He had no choice but to quickly pull down the shutter of the unit.
The shutter slammed shut just in time. Aavik crouched low, shaking and sweating. The scratching noise was now just outside the shutter and it grated Aavik’s nerves. He prayed to God, whom he hardly remembered in his diurnal run to office and back. He thought of his wife and three children. There was a metallic thud outside. Aavik shuddered and prayed more. He thought about how his kids would survive after he was gone. His wife will have to look for a job. But until then? The heavy breathing was very close. The man tried to open the shutter but Aavik held it down with all the strength of his body and prayer. Why was the man doing it? Why him, Aavik? Why didn’t the man choose to do normal stuff normal people did? That man could well have been a basketball player given his height, could have been successful, happy…and not do this! There was another pounding sound and Aavik crouched low.
It was dawn when Aavik returned home. He had spent the night inside his storage unit. His wife was asleep in the children’s room, cuddled with the youngest. He must have woken up at night, as usual, he thought as he checked on them. Weary and shaken, Aavik went in for a shower.
It was mid-day when Aavik got over with a meeting with his team in the office. He got back to his cubicle and slumped into the swivel chair. He still felt shaken. The phone rang. It was Julia. “There’s a man here to meet you. He says it’s about some life insurance.”
Aavik was about to answer negatively when he thought about the previous night. “Ok, I’ll meet him in conference room 2.” Aavik hurried to the room. The man was seated. He got up to greet Aavik with an exaggerated courtesy. He was quite tall and Aavik tilted his head up to look at the man.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Ray. I am Randell.” The tall man smiled.
“’ afternoon, Randell,” Aavik replied, “how can I help you.”
“I can help you. Have you thought of buying life insurance?” Randell cocked his head and looked intently at Aavik.
“Well…” started Aavik.
“You take as much time as you want, Mr. Ray.” Randell was very polite. “I’ll give you all the details now and you can consider them in due course. Remember you are not taking the insurance for yourself. It is to benefit your family; your wife, and your kids. What if, God forbid, something was to happen to you? Who‘d look after them? Life happens…and sometimes it just stops…happening.”
Aavik stared at Randell as though he was seeing the man for the first time. He remembered the last night; how he had cowered in the corner and prayed and thought of the exact same sentence – what if something happened to him?
“I…I don’t need to think. I’ll go for it.” Aavik loosened his tie as he took the proffered documents from Randell.
It took less than an hour. Randell shoved the completed and signed documents into his suitcase and moved towards the door. Aavik stood back thoughtfully. Randell’s frame almost touched the top of the doorway. He should have been a basketball player, thought Aavik. As Randell waved, his wristwatch glistened in his hand. Aavik had flashes of the previous night’s experience.

Leave a Reply