The city, lit up like a bride, the stars in the night sky, adding to the glamour, enticing every newcomer to fall in love, with New York. The city that never sleeps is passé, this magnificent city that doesn’t allow you to sleep.
The building was chirpy and filled with clatter. It was Christmas eve, the magnanimous festival of the year. What’s better than spending Christmas with your family thought Jasmine, as she drove home last week-end. The drive was safe, Jasmine stopped by for lunch at “Louis’ Piping Hot Lunch” for a simple home-made meal. While leaving for the country, her eyes caught the Headline of the newspaper with her picture, that boldly said “Sibling rivalry, how far can it go?”
A couple of hours later she was with her twin and parents, in their cozy farmhouse, far away from the madding crowd, removing the tray from the oven, flashing her signature smile. This Christmas would be perfect. This time she was ahead of her sister, the sister who always was loved by all.
She checks on the cake, then the meat. Jezz, setting the crockery and the wine, gestures to Jasmine that all is set. Jasmine responds with a nod of the head. They head to the table where Mom and Dad are seated, talking softly to each other. “This camaraderie keeps the family going” said Jasmine to herself, as she pulled out the chair to join them.
The last year was like a pack of cards that fell apart in Jasmine’s career. She was underwent a bout of clinical depression last summer. Her work demands that she is always ready to meet people, but with her energy draining away, her thoughts no more hers, the best she could do was sleep. She has unfinished projects, piles of files to review and unattended tasks to complete. Her friends were too busy with their career graph going high. Jasmine reached out to her psychologist who recommended she take a short break from work, and give herself two weeks as a deadline, then meet a therapist to discuss the course ahead
The first week roller coasted and she felt she was living in a golden cage, yet gaining back her energy, but the second week was crazy. She pondered about what’s going to happen after Sunday. This week, on Wednesday was a dull morning, she ordered lunch, hoping she could complete her cleaning forenoon . Waiting for lunch to arrive, she decided to stroll downstairs and pick up the same at the corridor on the ground floor.
Lazily walking she looked around the hall in the ground floor, it had changed so much, she rented out this apartment on Lafayette Avenue, six years ago, after she started working with the Municipal Council. She never had the time to leisurely walk here, unlike today. There was the cafe, the book store and the Domino’s takeaway joint. Her ardent love for books subconsciously led her to the book store, does Ryan still own the place, she wondered.
Entering with an air of enthusiasm and curiosity, greeted by an old man at the desk, she sped towards the section of biographies. She loved reading real stories, she admired people with grit and determination, she wanted to be one of them. Her Inspiration, Nelson Mandela. As she browsed through the section, she remembered the days when she would sit at the New York Public Library devouring books, from cover to cover. She picked up two new biographies, darted to the comics section, gifted herself the all in one pack of Archie’s and headed to the desk. Whew! That was quick, she wondered where did she get the strength from.
“Hello!” she said. Is Ryan around?
“He will be, later in the evening” the man responded immediately.
“Oh! That’s great” added Jasmine.
Later that evening when she saw Ryan, she was elated. There he was at the desk, talking over the phone. She sprinted towards him, he, still talking, acknowledged her presence, hung up and looked at her. Ryan how are you? she asked. He replied with a casual “I am fine.”
“Hey! It’s me… Jezz” said Jasmine
Jezz, what a surprise!
Yes, It has been a while!
They got talking and spent a great deal of time together for the next two days. Ryan, the handsome hunk, the adorable next-door was with her. Time flew when they were together. Her depression was probably because she never met someone like him. “I am sure he was a time traveller, he definitely transports me to my kinda world” she said to herself before she went to sleep. This weekend, Jasmine had an appointment with her therapist, Dr. Luke Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd gave her a satisfactory report, and she could get back to work later that month, his recommendation was asking her to continue with what she did the last week, the progress has been phenomenal.
She met Ryan and this week, he took a day off to explore the city. They went to visit the Women’s Rights pioneers monument, one of Jezz’s favourite places. There the duo bumped into Ryan’s sister Sherline Joseph, Jasmine and Jessica’s classmate. A mini-college reunion vibe fell over Central Park. Sherline was always in awe of Jessica and her politically correct attitude, took this opportunity to tell Jezz (that’s what everyone called Jessica) about the present political situation and asked her opinion on it.
Jasmine, being her usual self, didn’t care much about the situation on hand, instead spoke about the biographies she had just read, much to the surprise of Sherline. They discussed about everything under the sun but politics. Sherline was quite dejected, she had quite looked forward to the Economics wizard to enlighten her on the current happenings.
The following week-end, Jasmine visited her parents and twin, Jeez. This time she had come with a strong decision. Her parents were happy with her progress made with the therapist, she hoped to spend a quiet weekend. But on Sunday, before she left, she quietly went into Jezz’s room to have a word with her.
A few weeks later, Sherline was at the book store with Ryan, finalising the list of books required by her library. Jasmine walked in to say hi to Ryan. Sherline gave Jasmine the look of her life “Jeez, how is Jasmine?
Jasmine responded with a wicked yet serious look “Jasmine is finally on physiotherapy and will soon get hold of the wheelchair.”
After they parted Jasmine recalled the night she calmly pushed Jeez from the bed, and left her wrenching in pain in the darkness of the night. “This time she would create her own space, even if it costs her her own sister.”
It was that night, and now it is het night. She didn’t want to recall all the memories of ignored looks from her friends who waited for Jeez and not for her. The night she pushed Jeez was the most memorable now. She know that now she could lead Jeez’s life.
Jezz poured the wine into the glasses, capped the bottle, and waited for Dad to raise the toast like every year. Dad looked at Jasmine, and she lifted her glass. Jezz, on the wheelchair with Mom next to her, stayed calm, trying not to react. “To the best parents ever, to a splendid Christmas eve and to an eventful year at the Whitley House, and that’s just the beginning. Jasmine added, as tears rolled down Mom’s cheeks “Dad, I raised the toast because you asked me to, joining the team at the Whitley Housing Committee is pure magic, I have seen it happen, but I am still you daughter who waits for her Daddy to raise the toast. It is our family tradition. We want you to start the festivities.”
I have made an attempt to use all the prompts.