At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we'd struck it rich and that we'd be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we'd spend the money. Our first choice was to purchase a new drilling rig, to explore the rest of the region. I knew Dave had the same thought in his mind. We were conjuring up unheard riches to be ours, sure of the fact that our land was going to shower us with wealth, with affluence not seen or heard of since the Great Mansa Musa.
Despite all my thoughts of great wealth and my desire to buy another drilling rig to obtain more black gold, I do not wish to be regarded as avaricious or materialistic. It’s just that I was born with nothing, and I made my way through most of my life barely possessing anything; I do not know of shelter, I do not know of more than one meal a day, I do not know of a wholesome meal, I do not know of kindness, and I do not know for life to be anything but harsh.
I know what it’s like to come from nothing, to live in a world devoid of any hope, to lead a life filled only with desolation. I was born to Ethan and Abigail Cohen; the only memory and the connection I have left with them is their name I carry. After my baptism at my birth, the Christian name conferred upon me was Irvin. Irvin was a leader in the book of The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus; the name Irvin resonates with the thought of leadership and of a land of peace and calm, none of which I have ever been privileged to experience during the struggle that is my life. My name is also a reminder of how faith is simply being blind to the truth, how faith is a tool for the weak, and how mythology and fiction have no place in the reality of life. I am not filled with greed, all I wish for is to be able to live in a fable most privileged do to have security, to never have to return to the life of damnation.
My vision is for a certain and assured future for me and for my family, for each of our desires, longings and yearnings to be met. I don't wish for my offsprings to be to part of the invisible masses, who have no identity or refuge, and do not exist in this conglomerate of a world.
Growing up in the streets of Calgary, Alabama, I understood the world well: only those who had money had any existence whatsoever, any social standing, any individual identity and only those who were dishonest, devious, treacherous, immoral, corrupt, deceitful, unscrupulous and crooked had any money in this world. There has never been anything amoral, immoral or moral, there are only those with the balls and the conviction to take what they wish for and those who justify their own failures.
In Calgary, my favourite place was the Headquarters of the Rosemund International up at 630-3rd Avenue. It was the largest employer of thieves in Calgary; over 7,500 thieves worked there. It was the only place that gave me hope and a one-time meal. The corporate office had the biggest dumpster in Calgary. From the outside, the crystal building contained all the hope in the world, which was locked away from me. Through those cold nights and days of deprivation, I thought one day I’ll be inside and on the top floor, and once I am there, I would keep it all to myself.
As I stood there, with what I thought was oil being ejected from the ground, as I stood there being showered with black gold, with my future, as I stood there, my future of affluence and security felt detectable. As I stood there, recounting my life experiences, the lessons I have learned, recounting the things I wished for, I looked beside myself and I saw Dave with the same hope that shone within me, which both of us were devoid of our entire lives.
I found Dave in the same dumpster beside the headquarters of the Evil Corporation, left there covered in a tattered rag, barely a few months old, left to rot like everything else in that dump. I was just 13 then, I only cared about myself and I could only consider myself with my condition, but even I hadn't lost all my innocence and humanity. With no certainty about how I would provide for Dave and no prospects for the future, I took Dave as my brother, my connection to humanity, my responsibility, my family.
I looked beside myself and I saw Dave filled with the expectation of leaving behind the darkness, of using our discovery to build us a land of our dreams, of achieving each aspiration we ever longed for.
I could discern that the land I stood on contained the resolution to all my troubles, nodi, and predicaments. It meant leaving the real-life inferno that I inhabited, to be at the top floor of the crystal building I could only stare at. All my life, I wasn't certain if I would survive another passing day. Today, at this moment, suddenly, that fear went away; I knew I had the holy grail. I came from nothing and I had long decided that I will never go back to that hellhole, now I just had to secure my holy grail. I looked around to see there was no one who could threaten my destiny before I stopped at Dave, my family.
Dave was all I had.
But Dave had grown up with me in the Sheol; we belonged to the Canto XXXIV. Streets taught me to survive and I taught him all I knew. The rule of the street is everything's a game: eat or be eaten; to survive, you must strip away all inhibitions and strip down to your elementary, instinctive nature of being, to be your animalistic self. Both of us had animalistic instincts and both of us were damned to Sheol.
“I can't trust him, no one can trust an animal...I cannot go back into nothingness...I will have a secure future...I know what I have to do.”
Rudraksh Lakra will be starting law school this year. He has always had an unexplored flair for writing, and most of his work is always full of ingenious references to various critically acclaimed TV shows and movies. While being relatively simple to read, you'll always a deeper meaning to whatever he writes.