Noah spent the last dollar bill in his pocket. He bought a coffee. He then sat on the park bench and began it sipping solemnly.
The journey was eventful, he mused. From a being a millionaire to a homeless,from being famous to a nothing
He chuckled and looked around.Some people were watching him skeptically, and turned away swiftly when his eyes met theirs. Did they recognize him? May be not, even if they remembered an old picture in some crappy magazine, he looked nothing like that now.
What did they see? A middle-aged man in shabby clothes, laughing to himself? He chuckled again. “So is life, so is life” he muttered.
In the last few years his life saw a spiral free fall. From riches to rags.
Who would have thought that so would be his fate? Who would have imagined him sitting on a park bench, sipping bitter coffee which was no longer warm? Who would have thought people would walk past him, barely noticing him?
Noah Jackson was a huge name.He had been initiated to fame when he was 2- famous before he knew it.
The chubby baby central character in one of those movies – that one movie that they kept watching again and again, that made him their property. And kept them exclaiming-“Look at him, he is so cute, so talented”.
More characters followed-one after the other. Films, plays, opera, soaps, sitcoms, ads – you name it – he was in it.
He barely remember being him – the little toddler Noah, the naughty preschooler Noah, the nervous boy Noah, the reckless teenager Noah, he never got to be them . All he ended up being was what others wanted him to be ,there was no Noah, the real him never got a chance to evolve or experiment.
Each time, they wanted him to look different, talk different,act different-so as to say even breath different-to keep them entertained and amused.He raced to comply, fearing they might lose interest in him. He grew addicted to attention, to fame.He was rich, filthy rich by the time he was in his teens.
His father, Sr Noah Jackson, was a failed artist. He wanted his son to paint all of his dreams to reality. And that’s what he ended up doing!!The father was in for a treat!!What wealth, what name, what love had his son not acquired?Blessed to be his father, he was often heard declaring.
His mother, once a plain lady who strove to make ends meet, who once waited in restaurants and did odd housekeeping jobs, was now pretty and sensual, dressed up to anyone’s envy ,thanks to a few cosmetic jobs. She smiled perfectly at the camera for the interviews and kept repeating how much proud she was of her son, little miffed that the cameras were zooming on his face rather than hers.
But were they parents to him? May be they were mere event managers in his life or a little cruelly put filthy parasites, who lived off his fame and money!!They so wanted him to succeed. They were so terrified of him failing.They had hired the most promising talents as his staff and stepped back to enjoy the game.They watched his life being professionally planned, they watched him act every moment of his existence.They spread words on him.They turned everything about him into a public circus….. and the spectators loved it.
People loved every glimpse of his well staged private life. Some of them had loved him, some had formed hate clubs , some watched his shows again and again, some stalked him, girls wanted him, men envied him….. he was too big to ignore.
Everywhere he went invisible eyes followed. When he lost his virginity, that was a national news. All his hot girl friends got hate mails.They criticized his fashion sense, they applauded his charity gestures, they gave feedback on his acting skills, they mocked his very active love lives, they bought more of the brands he endorsed. He was a star, a very shiny one.
He always felt he was an open book.With big flashy pictures and glamorous fonts.People turned his pages, tore out his pages, scribbled on him, wiped off their dirt on him at times.But no one cared to read him, it did not matter. His life was one big circus and the show just went on.
He did not remember where it started, his suicidal mission. One fine day he decided, enough was enough. He, for once wanted to be in control.He wanted to show them – all of them – his parents included , that he was not just a wax doll that talked and danced. He was a person, very much with flesh and blood.He decided to break the codes of conduct imposed on him!!
And how much did his rebellion cost him?? It turned against him instead of them,killed his own soul.And did they care? Not for a moment!
There was drugs,gambling, public outbursts and countless not so pretty things. They called it a ‘shock’ and a ‘sad thing’. But he was sure, they must have secretly enjoyed it. A transformation of a handsome prince into a beast and not the other wise..
The morning shows, the news hours and the gossip sessions discussed his mighty fall. His visits to rehab and his petty escapes made cover stories. The mighty fall, they had called. Then they lost interest, they got a more handsome stars and more controversial things to discuss. But he was too damaged to notice, too dazed to care.
Life rendered him insane at some point. He lost years to oblivion , not recalling a second. He was told he was locked up. He had kept screaming and trying to kill himself.
Well, they should have let him. But they did not-may be they wanted him back in the circus as a failed star , to nurse their ego – the one thing he had promised himself that would never ever happen again!
By the time he came out of the asylum years after ,both his parents had died .His staff had moved on.
His father’s was a suicide, and mother’s was an accident – a drunken drive. Did the guilt of his destruction weigh down on them? Did it wreck them? He would never find out and it did not matter. They were merely shadows in his life-his life-huh, it never belonged to him anyway.
After his return , people were mused for a moment. He was invited to ‘help’ shows which advise on life strategies. A publisher approached him for an auto biography. He did not want to endure it again. The limelight, the light which blinded him, pierced him and choked out his very soul.So he refused point-blank.
He had lost most of it, the trivial riches he got in return for his life. He sold whatever was left.He was broke- from within and from outside.He was still crazy in his own way. The once handsome face was replaced with a barely human silhouette. Was this the end? A brutal end for something that sprouted out so promisingly? Or was it life coming to its full circle- with no end or beginning- just mere existence?
Once in a while he catches somebody staring at him and wondering loudly if he was “The Noah Jackson” to which he just shrugs and laughs hard like it was the best joke he had ever heard!!
This week’s Writing Challenge from Daily Post is backward.