The Ambassador | Lipokmenla Ao Beyond the Panorama November 10, 2021

The Ambassador | Lipokmenla Ao

I opened my eyes to the sunlight piercing its way in, through the crack in between the old teak window pane. It was the beginning of August in Dimapur, and the sun had seemed to grow thirstier by the day, drinking up wells and fluids of all sort. The curtains flowed in all its merry like the great Ganges, like it had swallowed something again; a carcass, a car, a sinful body. It hid behind its blue print of rich silk, a mysterious agenda. Now I had stared at this for an hour when I reached out for the alarm clock. It was the devil, 8:25am, sitting on my one month’s salary , the mahogany desk. I rushed to the bathroom, I didn’t have the luxury to take a shower, so I slipped my hands into my last night’s unwashed laundry, picked out a white vest, soaked it in the sink and rubbed myself with the dampened delight. I rushed to the kitchen, opened my refrigerator, I gathered all that I could see. Now the bread was already four days old, it didn’t smell too bad, though hardened. I opened a can of peanut butter, although I never liked peanuts. I didn’t know how it existed in my kitchen in the first place, but there was no time for realizations. Now I had started to eat the sandwich midway realizing that I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet. I put on my top, my pant and my shoes, it was 8:45am already, office was at 9am, and I was already on my third warning. I did not want to be fired!

I rushed down five floors after the marathon meal as the lift wasn’t working. My satin top was already intimate with my skin, with my sweat showering down the back like my body was punishing me for not taking a shower. I could feel the heel on my shoes hammer my soles, and by the time I reached the ground floor, I could feel my heart pound in my ear and my feet. It was uncanny. Now I stood in the parking lot, and a strange air had almost been lifted; there was not one single person. It was as though the whole city was poisoned to sleep by some sleep piper, but again I had no time and business for realizations. I ran down a series of cars parked by the line; red, blue, silver, and there stood my pearly vintage ambassador. I got in as quick as I could, and started the car, driving it into a race of lonely streets.

I reached my office at 9am sharp as I looked at my watch, that which glimmered in the generous sunlight, as I walked into the office building. Again, noticing the absolute emptiness I had convinced myself that this was some prank on me, but again the whole city could not be dragged into this agenda. I walked to my cubicle and noticed the little clock on my desk, it read 4:25 am. I had almost assumed that my clock needed new batteries when I noticed the large clock on the wall next to my boss’s room. I looked at my wristwatch again, almost wishing that I had encountered two broken clocks that morning, and my watch read 4:25 am. I could now feel my feet float, and my stomach grow weak as I stood there horrified. I ran out of the building and into my ambassador, and calmed myself down with giant breaths. The glove compartment infront of me had opened loose, and a picture had fallen down on the car floor. I picked it up to find a picture of my newlywed grandparents standing next to the ambassador. The ambassador has been gifted to my grandparents by my great grandfather as marriage gift in 1962, and had been celebrated by three generations. When grandmother suffered a minor accident shock in 1965 when she was 25, she could not recover from the trauma and succumbed to her fate. The ambassador was then passed on to her daughter, my mother, who at 25 also passed away giving birth to me. This myth was strongly opposed by my father who hushed away anyone who tried to talk about the curse of the ambassador. Some opined that the car was some devilish soul that had reincarnated itself, while some argued that it belonged to a villainous British saheb who died in the war, and now this car was haunted by his spirit preying on young women. The latter found humor in my ears because my great grandfather had not purchased a secondhand, but one of the newest manufactures, as authenticated by my father himself.

Now, I hurried myself back to the apartment. The streets that I did not take notice of earlier, had now started to look dark and hungry. I wanted to get back as fast as I could to my apartment, there was a tingling sense of hurriedness as I drove back home. I had almost parked my car, when the picture fell on my lap again from near the steering wheel. I picked it up and ran up the stairs, as fast as petite feet could carry me. The stairs were never-ending, and I could now count the number of steps I had taken. I had climbed over thirty staircases, and now I was only spiraling up a strange building, and my head thumped faster than my heart. I could  not even hear my own voice as the beat got louder and louder, until a dark bright light burned my eye.

I opened my eyes to the sunlight making its way in through the window crack. I now sat on my bed relieved, I had not dreamt anything such vividly my whole life, I sat in relief pressing my cold hands against my face in satisfaction. I looked towards the window as the blue curtains wavered in all its glory, it seemed almost magical when I had the greatest realization, it was the 8th of August, and I was turning 25 that day. My eyes fixated to the calendar on the wall slowly started to lose focus as I started to realize something far sinister, to which I turned my head towards the alarm clock on my desk; it read 8:25 am, and the old photograph of my grandparents placed next to it.

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