01 02 03 Reflections: The Happiest Man Alive 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Happiest Man Alive


The newspapers were calling him the happiest man alive…

A picture of him, beaming with a freshly caught trout in his hand was captioned: George Sandler buys over a luxury yacht from the scion of the declining Ingham Empire.
Another picture of him sitting contentedly on the porch on a lavish teakwood chair, with the headline :The happiest man has a new happy home in upmarket Notting Hill.
And a few more newspaper cut-outs peeped out from the loosely bound, weather worn leather diary. It was a life of dreams.

George Sandler was born to a poor peasant and led a simple life till the age of 17. He started a small business of home-made peanut butter, selling his wares from door to door.
One day, a lottery ticket had changed his life. A stray ticket that he stole from one of his customers hit jackpot and in no time, he was transformed from rags to riches.
He became the editor's blue eyed boy by providing headline stories, everyday.

The newspapers were calling him the happiest man alive.

The new occupants of the mansion- Jack and Elma closed the diary and placed it back in the back drawer. Resolving to clear the cobwebs and remnants from the previous occupants, the couple headed to bed.

George Sandler smiling while carpenters made exquisite pieces of furniture for his new home – George Sandler marrying the town's more desirable woman – Mr and Mrs Sandler welcome their first born – Mr Sandler falling sick, a bit too often for comfort – Wrinkles and dark circles forming on his 30 year old skin – Insomnia – George Sandler pacing the elaborate living room and study on a full moon night, his face tense and anxious......

Elma woke up with a shudder, her face wet with heavy droplets of perspiration. Jack? Where was Jack?
It was too early in the morning for him to begin work, but smiled when she realized that the mop and the dust cloth were missing. How she loved surprises!

She heard faint footsteps in the attic and knew her man was upto something. The condition of the attic was such, she knew it would be hours till he got back downstairs. Perhaps she could surprise him; let him see how much she could get done without him. He’d been moaning about the old cupboards in the Study ever since he set foot in the house, cobwebs and their eerie contents made him uncomfortable.

Decision made, Elma looked around for a spare mop and a bucket of water and set to work immediately. The layers of dust that had lay undisturbed for years, made a huge fuss on being disturbed and caused her to cough violently. More footsteps in the attic were heard and she smiled while covering her nostrils with the sleeve of her blouse.

She came across the leather bound diary again, and she carelessly tossed it behind her, along with the other stray contents of the cupboard.

Suddenly, the hair on the back of her neck stood up as images of George Sandler pacing the same study behind her, flashed her memory. The sound of more footsteps from above calmed her down as she reached for the last cobweb in the farthest corner of the giant cupboard. Her little frame could not make it that far. She gently stepped inside the cupboard, one foot at at time and reached for the last eyesore.

Another cold wave, and before the she could realize, the cupboard doors closed behind her.

Jack woke up to the sound of muffled knocks from the study. He had moved out to sleep in the living room last night because the air in the bedroom had felt strangely suffocating.
It was too early in the morning for Elma to begin work, but he beamed thinking Elma may have planned a surprise. He decided to clear the attic by the time she came out from the study and groggily headed to change into his work clothes.

George Sandler was cheerfully pacing the attic. After all, the newspapers had called him the happiest man alive.

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