Sunday, June 11, 2023

The Diner's Dilemma

In a quiet corner between Karjat station and the desolate highway, a small diner stood as a refuge for an elderly couple. They worked tirelessly, the old man cooking in the kitchen while his wife attended to the customers. During the day, college students filled the diner, seeking a break from their studies. But at night, it was mostly empty, save for the occasional traveler passing through.

The old man always grumbled about the lack of customers, suggesting they close early. But the old lady held onto hope, cherishing the conversations they had with those who did visit.

One night, a mysterious stranger entered the diner and sat alone in a secluded corner. The old lady approached him and asked what he wanted. 

"Coffee," said the stranger.

"Oh, Sorry sir, its 11 PM, I think, we are out of coffee powder"

"I want coffee" The man's eyes bore into her soul, his gaze unfathomable, as he insisted on having a cup of coffee.

The atmosphere grew tense, and the old lady noticed a red stain on the stranger's clothes. Unseen by most, a television murmured in the background, casting flickering images upon the diner's walls. The news spoke of a heinous murder, the perpetrator eluding the clutches of justice. As the old lady turned her attention to the television, a shiver traced its way down her spine. Sensing an impending storm, she hurriedly advised her husband to prepare the requested coffee, hoping to appease the visitor's restless spirit.

The old man retreated into the confines of the kitchen, the sounds of his labor muffled by the weight of uncertainty as he searched for coffee powder. Meanwhile, the stranger's restless eyes darted between the old lady and the television screen, his discomfort mounting with every passing second. Silence pervaded the air, broken only by the faint hum of the TV's whispers.

"Do you believe in second chances?" the stranger suddenly whispered, his voice laden with unspoken pain. Startled, the old lady responded softly, "Yes, dear. Life often grants us opportunities for redemption."

The stranger scoffed, a bitter twist marring his lips. "Not for me," he retorted.

"In this world, second chances are but illusions. There are no absolutions for those who tread the path of darkness. Tell me something, how long have you guys been together," the Visitor asked
"More than 50 years now," said the old lady. "Did you always love him?" "Always"

The stranger, his eyes clouded by desolation, shook his head in defiance. "Love," he mused, "a mere specter that leads humans astray. Is it truly worth sacrificing one's soul? Is it worth staining one's hands with the lifeblood of another?"

"What if one day you realized your husband is not what he seems to be? That he has betrayed you." the stranger continued to question while wincing in pain. "I would definitely be angry then" "Wouldn't you want to kill him then?" As the old man emerged from the kitchen, bearing the steaming coffee, sweating profusely. Looking at him, the lady continued, "No matter what he does, there is no reason for me to kill him, I loved him truly. Maybe I would leave him but never kill him." "Such people deserve to die" "Everyone deserves a second chance" said the old lady As they continued talking, the stranger flipped a coin he had removed from his pocket to pay the couple. Just then at a distance, the wails of police sirens could be heard, the stranger winced, the pain chewing at his being, as he retrieved a concealed weapon from his pocket. Cold steel glinted under the flickering lights, casting shadows upon the worn out floor.

The stranger raised his weapon, "What did you do Old man? I just wanted to rest for some time and was going to pay and leave you guys alone. But now."

Scared the old man dropped his cup, while the lady shouted at the visitor "No!! Please don't do it. I can see you didn't intend to kill us."

"Why not? I have been betrayed all my life. There is no point to my actions now" cried the stranger

"Sometimes, Life gives us a hard deal but it's all about choices, you can choose to not kill us. Please!!" Said the old lady still trying to convince the stranger.

The stranger looked at the lady for moment before adding, "Second Chance! Right? Fine, I'll give you a Chance. Lets see what has your fate left for you" Showcasing the coin in his hand, the stranger said "Heads you live, tails you die."

The stranger flipped the coin into the air, the metallic glimmer catching the dim light. Time seemed suspended, each heartbeat echoing in the stillness. As the coin arched and twirled, the old couple held their breath, their intertwined hands clinging to each other for solace. The coin landed with a soft thud before rolling into a side, its verdict revealed to the world. Heads! A tremor of relief washed over the couple, their eyes meeting in a shared moment of gratitude. But the stranger's features remained stoic, feeling betrayed once again. He raised his weapon once more, his resolve unyielding. "Life," he whispered, his voice brittle, "is more than chances. It is about decisions and consequences."

"Sorry, What sir?" the old lady asked

"You said it yourself. Sometimes Life gives us a hard deal but it's all about choices, Am I right?"


"Then I still choose to kill you"

"No! Please don't" said the scared couple

The visitor aimed his gun at the old couple. Realizing that their end is very near, the old couple hugged each other in fear with their eyes closed.

As he looked on at them, something within him shifted, a fleeting glimpse of humanity breaking through the cracks of his tormented soul. He lowered the gun, his gaze lingering on the old couple, who clung to each other, their eyes filled with a mixture of fear and resilience.

With each step, the stranger retreated, his footsteps echoing against the worn floor. Outside, raindrops danced, caressed by the cold breeze. The world seemed to hold its breath, suspended in the quiet aftermath of the chaos. As the stranger emerged into the open, his footsteps faltered, and his body weakened by the pain surging through his right abdomen. With a final act of surrender, he let go of his weapon, relinquishing the weight of his burdens. He sank to his knees, raindrops mingling with the tears on his face. The police cars screeched to a halt, their officers descending upon the scene. Their presence marking the end of an elusive chase. Yet, amidst the chaos, the stranger remained, his body yielding to the ground. Rain poured down, washing away the stains of his past. The stranger's eyes closed, a serene smile gracing his lips. In the symphony of sirens and rainfall, his journey found an unforeseen resolution.

The old couple watched as the man fell to the ground, his life ending in a peaceful moment amidst the chaos. The lady felt relieved that the ordeal was over but understood the tragedy that had unfolded in front of her. As they cleaned up the diner later on, the old lady couldn't help but think about the stranger and the decisions he had made in his life that brought him to that moment of life and death in the diner.


Popular Posts