The storm wasn’t a part of the plan. In fact, it has ruined the whole plan. This wasn’t the afternoon we had planned a week ago. That afternoon was about four of us and a day outside. Typically involving fishing and beer. This afternoon is its antithesis, involving me home alone, the power cut and the storm. I ran out of expletives four hours ago. I tried to sleep, but the howling outside wouldn’t let me.
My phone, the last tangible source of a human connection until the storm has passed, is dead. I have absolutely nothing to do, so I look around for something to kill time. My room’s a mess. It’s like Draco’s room of hidden things. I’d hardly be surprised if Wormtail crawls out from somewhere. My brain, then makes a noble decision and drives me to set things in order. This is going to take some time. There’s a lot of lifting and moving around. I think I could do with some exercise.
Half an hour later, I stumble upon this cardboard box. It has a faintly visible writing upon it. I can’t read it because it is kind of dark. Power cut, yeah. I lift the box and bring it to the window. The box is labelled ‘Games’. The rush of emotions is now unpredictable. I can’t hear the storm anymore. I’m now smiling and all of that earlier sourness has vanished in the wave of a wand. I need to sit for a while.
I lay the box on the table and open it. There’s this old Nintendo joystick; a game console, and several cartridges. I take out a very familiar-looking cartridge. It has several fond memories associated with it. It was my first ever cartridge. I was addicted to donkey kong at one point. All I could ever think of was to rescue Pauline. That was my priority. Those days, it was everything.
I take out another one. I remember this one. This is a replacement. The original got broken when I and my cousin had a huge row once. I told my cousin that the console’s mine, so I get to play Mario. But my cousin didn’t want Luigi. He wasn’t a big fan of the green cap. I couldn’t figure out why. And so we ended up breaking the cartridge, and then got a telling off from grandpa. We had to replace it because we had to continue the game.
The touch of the joystick. It’s such a sweet thing. Whoever named it joystick must have been a wise man. And a happy man. So now, it’s just me, the joystick in my hands and the storm outside. It isn’t a bad afternoon after all. Even the darkness is kind of okay. Press A to shoot. Press B to jump. And in that darkness, there really is, a rat. It just jumps on the table out of nowhere, and notices me. We both are now in the same situation. Looking to avoid each other, but don’t know how. Nature is fool proof. Instincts take over.
I hit the table hard with whatever I could lay my hands upon. There is a loud thud, and my heart sinks when I see the rat running and disappear off the edge. There are broken electronic parts all over the table. Reminiscence time is over. Outside, the wind turns from a howl into a wail.
Sketch By: Ashna Panesar