The clock struck 12 as he stopped for a moment before taking a sharp turn into a dead-end alley & resolutely made his way ahead in the dark. He took a deep breath and placed his palm on a specific area of the brick wall.
His watch glowed green and soundlessly a door slid open to let him in. The world he stepped into was the one he actually belonged to or was it the one he left behind? He could not decide. But the thrill he felt when he worked here was unlike any rush of adrenaline. He had never felt anything like this back in those days when he was a junkie when he stumbled down the same sidewalk – always on a high.
As he moved down the marble corridor, he picked up his project roaster and made his way towards his allotted seat in the conference room. The meeting had not started. Good- he did not want to be late. At least not today.
It seemed like ages ago when he himself was a project in the same building where he now works on other projects. An unknown benefactor opened a door in his mind which had been shut since he was a teenager. He had been born on the streets, raised amidst chaos and lived within anarchy. It was too easy to be pulled into the swirling quagmire of drugs. Then followed a whirlwind of a disturbance where days and nights blurred with disorganized acts of violence.
He never knew or remembered how he ended up in a room with blinding white light and unknown hands touching him, restraining him, poking him with needles, feeding him but never once being rough with him. He heard different voices but always saw one face. It was months before he realized they were different workers but wearing the same mask – which was now an essential part of his identity too.
The days he spent in the facility spinning in and out of consciousness, while they worked on purging drugs out of him, he realized that life has given him a second chance. He saw the workers treating, helping, caring for other projects like him. The workers were addressed by numbers which probably made them a nobody yet they were a somebody whose life had a purpose – to save more projects. That is when he decided to start afresh.
His life now runs like clockwork. He does not have a lot of free time to dwell on thoughts. But when he does he is surprised that he did turn his life around. Does a random act of kindness have so much power to blot out evil? Maybe it does or maybe he was plain lucky. While today they celebrate his and others’ 5 years in the organization, he will not question the sensibility of his decisions. Today he will bask in the glory of being a survivor and help others be one.
This story is for the idiom “turn over a new leaf”.
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