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 And his past charged again at him like a raging Catalan bull, and he could do little to move away- as meek a target he was, and quite drunk also- the malt of his memories made him febrile. He would wake up lusting to inhale  badly needed air ,so that he could cling onto the real and save himself from getting drowned in their memories.They were his best friends....., and their death had left him bereaved, and .....like all emotional beings.. he blamed himself for their death. But death and time had not the power to seperate them from him- they frequented his dreams, and then the dreams used to end in a nightmare,.....engulfing and questioning his very existence. He blamed their memories for his failures and his inability to slow the sandclock of his everyday life- but however much he paced in his room with dwindling thumbs- his adversary got the better of him. He then blamed himself for his miserable state and wanted to wash off his hands at the wash basin in a Lady McBethesque manner, but McBeth could sleep no more! 

                    Those special friends of the opposite sex, male and female both, have a tendency to advice you to go to a movie with them and , in common lingo, 'take a break'. His special friend gave no different an advice- after all every couple, young or old, was happy in the same way! He did enjoy the movie. But here too he had his bout of eerie neurotism- first it was the airconditioner- the cold air making him far too laxed for his liking, then it was the characters of the movie which reminded him of them.....- he saw his neck tightening,.. fists clenching ..and his heart.. pounded like a fierce animal waiting to be let out. ...He thought rightly that it'd be better to leave. 

Their dinner together did far from calming him down. Hardly enjoying the food, he pondered whether it was time for him to return to the tennis court, and remained as silent as an oak, throughout. Feeling their courtship was touching quite a few raw nerves, the girl asked him whether they should meet ..uhm. after..an  interval,perhaps. He didn't argue- silently dishing out his cellphone he updated his relationship status on facebook-..single.

Maybe lack of hardship had weathered him, now he would return to the demanding tennis court- a galvanising decision, he thought to himself. 

Making up his mind took a few seconds, but focussing on the new "to-do" list was no meagre a task- he felt as if he was pushing and forcing back the air coming out,.. back through the slits of the airconditioner, ...forcing it to obey his command. Forgetting his habit of aimless roaming about he started to sweat it out on the court. The hamstring cramps that he earned after tiring exercises, made him glad like a mother crab whose shells are broken down by her children, often causing her death- this was his purgatory and he would make the most of this Godsent chance , his last chance to fight back. He had spent his past life like a spider dangling from it's cobwebs- suffering for it's actions. He repented it , and wanted to atone for the sin of overindulgence in dreams-or rather aimless dreams.His back was pushed against the wall, and he could hardly lose focus.He hardly lost it. 

 Regaining and further devoloping his lost hand - eye co-ordination proved to be a boon. Playing "Slicing " shots from odd angles and hitting the balls into compressed zones  , he started to get the dusty aroma of winning hardfought games.His serve lacked the sting of pace, but he could curve his serves almost to his will. This was going to be his crusade- fighting just for the sake of a fight-like a maniac.

 When the tourney started, it was full of amateurs such as him. But he did start as a favourite. Paying no heed to this rubbish, he played every match with evergrowing zeal. During each match he gave his opponents easy net points, making unforced errors- so that he could fight back from a crisis.And then his poor opponents got a pounding like grains facing the guillotine!

Reaching the finals contented him. The air seemed fresh again , and the dewdrops found his lost attention. He started chalking his plans , and rechalking them- he had a lot to do with the muchneeded prizemoney. His opponent was weak and people were asking when,not how , the match would end! Some even considered calling up the Guiness guys!

He repeated his perfected strategy of bouncing back- the match stood petrified at 2 sets apiece. He was leading the final set 5-0. Everything had fallen into place. 

 He held aloft his raquet to make another "banana curve " serve, throwing up the ball he focussed his eyes on it, and suddenly scenes flashed in his memory for the first time in the tournament, - his past, his crusade, his expectant future.....and then... he saw them...2 ball boys- they looked just like his long dead best friends, ..he wanted them to get out of the court. He knew it,..he knew they would conspire to return and ruin him. The crowd was amazed, he had lost his wits, ..and also his serve ...as the tennis ball lay mute at the feet of the net.Soon the court cheered for it's surprise champ.

    Recovering from the trauma, he opted for a clerical job, often overworking himself - tiring out himself to earn solace. Dreaming too , like every other thing of gambling nature, was only for the strongwilled. It was like going to Wall street - you either made a killing or got yourself killed! He inferred never to dream again- he was mentally weak.

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