Yellow Yellow

When I wake up I’m horrified to find that my skin is completely yellow! I look like a Simpson’s character. In fact everything around me looks yellow. Was it something I ate? My cousin is visiting and we went out to eat last night. He’s sleeping beside me, snoring loudly, and he looks yellow too. Why is everything yellow?!

Just then I hear loud knocks on my door. “Rent!” The landlady demands.

It’s the first of this month and rent is due. But I can’t open the door, not like this.

I shake my cousin and try to wake him. He continues snoring. I slap him, “Wake up! Wake up!”

“Wh-what?” He finally opens his eyes.

I give him an envelope with cash. “Open the door and pay the landlady.”

“Why are you wear-”

“Just pay her!”

He gets out of bed and opens the door. She complains that he smells. She’s always complaining. After he pays her he goes to the bathroom.

I just got a new job and today is my first day. I cannot go to work like this — with yellow vision. I need this job or I won’t be able to pay rent next month.

There is knocking on the door again. “You gave me a torn note!” The landlady yells.

My cousin can’t open the door, he is still in the bathroom.

I open the door just a little and slowly stick my arm out, hiding the rest of my body. “Give me the torn note and I’ll give you a new one.” I say.

“Open the door.” She pushes it open. “Why are you wearing those ugly sunglasses?”

And then it dawns on me… I fell asleep with a new pair of sunglasses yesterday. I had been trying them on.

I give the landlady a new note and shut the door.

Hopefully I won’t do anything dumb at work today.

Second Chance

“No! I won’t do it!” My dad screams.

He’s having another nightmare. I rush into his bedroom and wake him up.

“It’s okay, Dad.” I hand him a glass of water.

He sips it slowly.

“Mom again?”

“Yeah.” He says groggily.

I thought dad’s nightmares would stop once we moved to a cottage in the mountains, but he still wakes up screaming. Lately he’s been seeing Mom in his dreams. He says she’s trying to convince him to do something but he doesn’t want to do it.

Mom died when I was young. I’m still young, not old enough to get a driver’s license. But I was too young when mom died so I don’t remember her very well.

After tending to dad I go to the balcony and look at the stars. What a view.

Dad wanted to live in the mountains because he thought it would inspire him to write another book. But he hasn’t written much so far, he’s too exhausted from the nightmares.

Dad joins me on the balcony. Sometimes he can’t sleep after a nightmare. I can never sleep after he has a nightmare.

“I miss her.” He says.

He’s talking about mom.

“What was she like?”

I’ve asked him this question many times and each time he gives me a different answer.

“She became very good at chess. She was worse than me at first but she practiced so much that she eventually became the best in our college, she even managed to beat our math professor and that professor rarely lost to students.”

Interesting. I know something new about mom.

Dad leaves the balcony and goes to the study room.

I go to the living room to watch TV. From the sofa I can see dad writing page after page — it’s been a while since I’ve seen him write.

After dad goes to bed I decide to go into his study room.

I’ve never intruded on my dad’s privacy before but I’m wondering what he wrote just now.

I open his notebook and start reading. What I read is pretty disturbing. He’s written about his latest nightmare.

In his nightmare mom is trying to convince him that she is alive and is waiting for him at a McDonald’s near college — that was where they had their first date, that’s all they could afford as college students. But first he has to do something before he sees her: He has to kill me. But apparently I’ll only be ‘temporarily’ dead.

Once he reunites with her they will have kids and I will apparently be reborn — This way she will be able to watch me grow up. She died in a car accident when I was just a baby and she feels guilty that she never got the chance to watch me grow up.

I shut the notebook and go to the bathroom. I feel sick. I need to calm down. First of all my dad would never hurt me. It’s just a nightmare. And if he decides to write a story based on his nightmare then good for him. Writing is how he earns a living so it’s totally fine.

I try to leave the bathroom but the door won’t open. I try to push open the door but it won’t budge.

And then the lights go out. I try switching on the lights but it looks like the power is out. Just great.

“Dad!” I call out. “Dad! I’m stuck in the bathroom!”

Just then I hear a woman’s voice, “Shh, this won’t take long.”

Who the fuck was that? Then I feel something grab my neck. I’m being choked… can’t breathe. I try to fight back but it’s no use.

Before I die I decide to look on the bright side — maybe I will be reborn.

 

Writer: Rohan Parekh