My Kingdom Awaits
Aaraf stood at the door hesitating for moment. On any other day, he'd enter without any reluctance. He had seen it this morning, but it slipped out of his mind. Five more seconds, and he'd be embarrassed.
He was about to enter a different world, to join thousands other to do what they loved the most. He moved over to the side, allowing space for others to pass through, pulled out his right foot off the shoe and feigned trying to untie his shoelaces. One by one, his friends took off their own shoes, jettisoned them near the shoe-rack, and entered the world. To make it seem a tad more realistic, Aaraf deliberately pulled the wrong end of the shoelace on his left foot, knotted it up and pretended to struggle with it.
A friend of Aaraf's, Saadi, snorted and said "Jerk!"
"Get in and reserve me a seat beside you, moron," Aaraf called out, trying to sound intimidating.
There was commotion from within, as Saadi disappeared through the door. But more people were going in, and Aaraf just couldn't catch the break he needed so badly. Darn. All he really wanted was to get this over with and go in, to enter the world that he was addicted to. This was where he belonged, he thought. The one place where I'm the master of the trade, where everybody loves me, respects me, and even fears me. Everyone in this particular gaming zone, deep in the alleyways of Lalmatia, knew Aaraf as Æ®ön_đ@®|<_7. Scratch that; in the cyberspace, his screen name was one to be reckoned with by thousands. And that pulled him back here every day, skipping classes, and coming here with his friends to play for hours at a stretch.
After an impatient minute, all had passed. Aaraf found himself alone in the corridor. Quickly pulling off his left shoe, he stared down at his feet. The big toe on his left leg poked out of the sock. Thank God!
Regardless of his stature as a gamer, his friends found it amusing to make fun of him. He knew that if they had as much as a glimpse at his torn sock, it'd be a big deal, including his family and its financial condition. Aaraf hated it when that happened, maybe because it was partially true. He didn't come from a well off family, and he knew how much his parents struggled to keep the family running. At times, Aaraf felt like a delinquent for bunking school to visit the gaming zone. But what could he do? He had to feed his addiction, be that using his lunch money. The respect he got in the cyberspace made him feel better, however ephemeral, about his position in society. Once he entered the room, he knew, even his friends would fear him and respect him, if not worshipping his celestial gaming skills.
Aaraf quickly took off both his socks and tucked them into his shoes. As he opened the door and entered his realm barefoot, he felt like a messiah. His team needed his
expertise. His world needed saving today.
And all it would require was the last 25 takas in his pocket.