This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.



She sensed

She couldn't believe

It was bound to happen.

It had been twenty-four years since she'd last

He woke up in a cold sweat. His heart was racing, his hands

He is African rock royalty. Even after the long absence, his presence lingers in the hearts and minds of his fans. 

I miss you. He is a silhouette sitting on the railing of the balcony overlooking an island. His island. He takes another sip from the half empty bottle of wine then shouts: "At least

I wipe the fog off the bathroom mirror and my mind. This is the end, isnt it? Well, I am going to go out with a bang. Isnt it wonderful how they have finally settled down? Ive been following their story right from the beginning. So inspiring. If two people who are so different can

Are you there, God? Its me, you know who. NO, we are not doing this again. The first time I let it go. Okay, I have not let it go. I kept silent. Did I talk to you about it? No, I just let you do as you please, you being King of everything and all. You know everything. You know what Im going to ask even before I ask it. Im going to ask anyway. Its the only thing I can do right now. You gave me the 


...bickering. She watches as he enters the kitchen and heads for the fridge, not even glancing in her direction.

"An apology will not give me back my special porridge. And don't think you can hide behind your bipolar forever."

"I'm not hiding behind it! Its a genuine condition that comes with genuine challenges. We discussed all this when you guys asked, no, begged me to be in the band. I don't have to stand here and take this nonsense, this...this...blatant discrimination against persons living with mental conditions. Just say the word and I'll pack my things and go."

"No one is going anywhere!" She turns to him. "Help!"

He shrugs. "What can I do? Besides, I'm too busy dealing with rejection."


And so it begins.

This. This is exactly why they all agreed to rule number one: no fraternizing with fellow band members!


...gifts thing.

As he walked towards the door, my supervisor and I both let out the breath that we did not know we were holding.

He hesitated, turned.

Oh no! Did we celebrate too soon?

"Hey, look. This is really important to me, to all of us. We've failed him once. We don't want to fail him again. My client deserves a second chance. So do we. So please, give us a second chance to do right by him. Help us not fail him again?"


Oh. Oh! So this is what being a publicist is really about.

My supervisor smiled. "You got it."

He nodded then went back to being a gladiator in jeans. "My people will get in touch with your people."

When I was sure he was out of earshot, I turned to my supervisor.

"So about the gift..."

“Fine. Go ahead, you traitor."

I rushed to the reception.

When I saw the gift, I opened my mouth in a silent scream and allowed myself to fangirl for a few seconds.

I had just met the publicist of my favourite rock band; the biggest most successful rock band this side of the Sahara.

I had just entered his universe and it was now my sole mission to get a second chance at making a first impression.

Did I mention that I love being an intern at the Second Chances TV Show?


"...the ones in a mood?"

"Yes! You guys just want to pick a fight!"

"Maybe if we fought more, you wouldn't feel the need to go to a graveyard at night!"

"It's just a graveyard! I don't see why you are making such a big deal out of a graveyard!"

"The fact that you don't see why we are making a big deal out of this is exactly the problem!"

It all went downhill after that. Or six feet under, as it were.

IT stopped the images.

"Are you ready now?"

She probably was never going to be ready but she knew this had to be done. She just needed a few more minutes.

"Okay, but no more than half an hour. He's not the only one I have to help tonight. Let's kill some time. Tell me more about him?"

What was the best way to condense the awesomeness of him into as few words as possible?

"He's a doctor. Was a doctor. He is now the drummer of a successful band."

"From doctor to drummer! Pray tell, what manner of drama facilitated this dramatic conversion?"

She glowered.

IT was amused. "See that three over there?"

She looked. It was a strange-looking tree. The patterns on the bark were soothing, relaxing

"I'm like the parts of a tree. I'm like the leaves and flowers. I come and go as the seasons unfold."

She did not see it inching closer to him.

"I'm like the branches, reaching up to the sky, always asking why."

Closer, closer

I'm like the trunk, keeping track of the seconds, minutes, hours, decades. My bark is better than my bite. My bark is healing. Time seals all wounds."

It embraced him.

I'm like the roots. I go deep, so deep..."

When she emerged from the trance, IT was gone and he was sobbing. Weeping. For her. Because of her. In spite of her. Regardless of her. With her.

Mission accomplished.

She stood by his side until he was ready to go back to the land of the living.

At dawn, she watched him walk out the graveyard gates, his gait lighter, his grief gone...underground, to the roots; more malleable, more manageable.

She flew back to her room and waited for her punishment.


Sent. She switched off her phone then faced the firing squad with confidence.


...him on sound waves of peace and bliss.


...that was all that mattered.


...and an abdication.


...just begun.





(Fibonacci numbers used to select number of words from each of my short stories except The Toddler Whisperer and the most recent The Wedding . 1,1,2,3,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233,377 I used the smaller numbers as bookends, for the beginning and the end. The bigger numbers form the body of this piece.) From the longer excerpts till the end of the story, I used the endings of my short stories. Before the longer excerpts, I used the beginnings of my short stories.)

February 24, 2023 22:54

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