This is all present. I’ll take you six months into the past. Back to the day, the moment, I drew that symbol; the symbol of the devourer, the end, the inevitable, or so I thought.
The symbol stood out on my pale white arm. And for once, I felt glad that I was having a headache, for I couldn’t overthink about the symbol. At least not at that moment. I grabbed my purse and walked outside my room to my grandma’s.
“Granny, can I go to the pharmacy? I couldn’t find the medicine for my headache. I think I misplaced it somewhere.”
“What’s that symbol?” she questioned; worry lines deepening on her face.
“I just doodled it by mistake. It’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing. It’s the symbol of death.”
“How do you know that?”
“I have studied on that particular subject. But the ‘how’ is not important. The ‘why’ is important.”
“I told you, I drew it by mistake. It was an involuntary action.”
“You should be more careful. Drawing symbols like this: never ends well.”
“What do you mean?”
“Go get the medicine you wanted. We’ll talk later.” I nodded, I knew better than to question her decision. I took the key of our house and close the door behind me as my grandma settled for her fifteen minutes evening beauty sleep. I walked below the early evening sky, sun blazing in front of my eyes. The pharmacy store was nearby. Right around the corner, as my dad said. I used my purse to block the sunlight and turned around the corner. As usual, a middle age man sat on the counter with a table lamp and few other medical stuff. The shop was covered with green wallpaper and the chemist was reading a newspaper. I had been there before twice, once with my grandma, and once with my brother Reyansh; but I had never noticed anything. At that time, I felt the urge to observe everything. The newspaper was of the previous day, I noted. Then mentally yelled at myself for that. I had bigger problems. Behind me, two men entered the shop. They looked like they were in their twenties and they were whispering something to each other. The chemist heard them and put down his newspaper. “How long have you been here? I am sorry if I didn’t notice you.”
“It’s alright. I just got here.”
“So, what do you want?”
“A little help. My head hurts, so I am sure what medicine I should take. I was thinking aspirin, but honestly, I am sure.”
“I’ll give you something mild.” He said smiling. He rummaged around and came back with a box of tablets.
“Thank you.” He removed his spectacles, and handed me the medicines. Reading lenses. I noted.
“Sir you want something?” he asked the men behind me. They turned to face him, their face mixed with anger and confusion.
“Excuse me?” one of them asked.
“He’s asking if you want any help.”
“No, we’re fine.” The other one replied, his eyebrows raised.
“Um...okay,” I paid the chemist who was staring at me, in wonder and confusion.
“What’s your name?” the first man asked.
“Grandma says not tell strangers my name.”
“But we’re not strangers, are we?” his accent turned thick and I realized something. That was the first time we talked in English. We weren’t talking in Hindi before. Or Gujarati. We were talking in foreign languages. European. Spanish, French and Latin. In that perfect order.
“Do I know you?” I asked in English, trying to calm myself.
“It’s a nice tattoo. I can sense death around you.”
“I have to go.” I spoke bluntly and ran outside the store. The strangers didn’t follow. I unlocked my house as fast as I could and entered. I closed the door behind me. “Grandma! Grandma!” I called. No reply. I rushed to her room. She was sleeping peacefully on her bed. A little too peacefully. Death symbol. Negative thoughts rushed into my brain. I shook her. She didn’t move. I pushed my thoughts aside and called her name several times. She didn’t answer. I called my father, who was at work.
“Dad, it’s nanny. She’s not moving.”
“Calm down, tell me more precisely, what happened?”
“Nanny was taking her nap and now she’s not waking up!”
“Call the ambulance, I’ll get there.” I took out my nanny’s phone and called the ambulance. A lady picked up the phone. I told her it was an emergency and told her my address. She told me the ambulance will arrive within half an hour, so i sat down to wait. By the time the ambulance came, i tried moving my nanny, but she didn’t move. I had called my brother Reyansh who arrived just in time for the ambulance to come. They took my nanny’s pulse, which i could’ve checked, but I was too afraid. Afraid to face the reality. My mom had died when i was young, so nanny took care of me; and now I didn’t know if I could handle it if she died too.