Friday, 8 September 2017

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover by Ameer Hilmi Mahfizan

               The taxi stopped in front of me and asked, “Do you need a ride, mate?”

               Sweat was pouring down my face. I was knackered and was not sure of my capability to walk after being chased by someone. I looked around the taxi and saw many weird things. The taxi was bright yellow on the outside but blazing red on the inside.

               “This guy must be Asian,” I said to myself while looking at his ID in between the air-conditioners. The name of the taxi driver was Sudin.

               “Where are we off to, brother?” he asked now realising that he had an accent.

               “Just drive, I want to leave New York and take some time to calm down.”

               “You don’t seem too happy. What seems to be the problem?” I asked Sudin.

               “Nothing, it’s just that I lost someone close.”

               “Tell me about it. We have a long journey ahead of us,” I said softly and warmly.


               In a blink of an eye, he was gone. I could not believe he left me in this cruel world and I still mourned of his death. I told myself that it was a dream and I was going to wake up seeing his face again. But we all knew that was not going to happen. His hair was a wavy as the ocean, his emerald green eyes were sparkling like the stars at night and he was as fit as a fiddle. He was my one and only brother. I lost him during a tragic accident. We were on our way home from a football game late at night. As he was about to hit the gas pedal, a car came speeding through and destructively hit us. Our car flipped and my vision became blur. I saw my brother’s head split into two and a river of blood flowing from his skull. I could not do anything about it. He was dead. He was the only one who had my back during my tough times.

               “That is ever so tragic, brother. I am sorry for your loss,” I interrupted.

               “Then why are you sweating like you have just ran a marathon?”

               “Well that is another story I want to tell you about. Shall I continue?” I asked.

               Sudin nodded without saying a word.


               There I was walking down a cold and misty alley. The sounds of mice skittering around looking for food in the trash cans. Homeless people were looking half dead with their dowdy clothes. I dragged my feet hopelessly trying to find peace and tranquillity. As I walked I could feel hands grabbing my trousers. The homeless people were clinging to me asking and begging me for money. I casted them off as my heart and soul were already gone. I had lost the decency of feeling empathy of having mercy. The alley came to a sudden silence. I began to think about him, the accident. His absence made my heart grow fonder. I could still not accept his departure. As I walked, I could hear a blithe gait of someone walking towards me. His shadow was not see as the light was at the end of the alley.

               I tried to calm myself down and walking at the same pace assuming he was not following me. A drop of sweat filled with fear went down my forehead sedately.

               “Am I going to die here? Is he going to kill me? Is he going to rob me?” I asked myself. I was definitely not ready for the worst possible outcome. I knew I had to turn around and approach him at some point. So I braved myself as my guts told me to turn around, my stiff body was reluctant to face him. I mustered up my remaining courage and turned around. There he was rooting to the ground slightly taller than me. He reached out for his pocket from his worn out jeans. I thought he was taking out a knife so I made a run for it. To my surprise, he was able to chase me down the alley as if we were on a race.

               “I am a dead meat for sure,” I said as I approached a dead end. He came towards me putting up a smile. A sinister and disgusting one I would say. He pulled out ‘something’ from his pocket and I realised it was precious to me. The ‘thing’ he took out was my wallet. The leather wallet I bought from a friend who happened to sell stolen goods for only 2 dollars.

               “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” he said, leaving me speechless and guilty. I had learnt my lesson that not all strangers were immoral and uneducated. Then, I looked for a way out of the alley to the side of the road, trying to find a taxi for me.


               “Thank you for listening to my story, brother.” I finished my story with an exhale of relief.

               “I really learnt something from your story,” Sudin said nodding his head like a woodpecker.

               I thanked him for the ride and paid him the fare. I went off the taxi and waved him goodbye. Even though it was just sharing thoughts between us, it indeed gave me a valuable experience because that was the first time I talked to a taxi driver!

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