Sand Deep - (25%)

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Before A.D. - Seven

Entering into the new academic year with the rest of my starting year was the year to shape up. God happened to give me a little more confidence as He introduced me to a beautiful Scottish-Indian lass by the name of Jessica. Jessica and I had a fond liking of achievement and education as she loved to learn. She was studying at Guy’s Hospital for a B.Sc. in Human Biology and wanted progression into a Medical Certificate once she achieved that.

This gorgeous girl of 5’3” was like a gift that helped me pass both my re-sits with flying colours. I should have held her close to my heart for eternity making amends for my past love; however Jessica clearly did not have the type of love for me as Lara. Jess had a nasty habit of frustrating and accumulating dishonesty. I was to have left her when she happened to spread a lie on the first week of our relationship; however I didn’t want to be that guy again and let that pass.

For a year we really enjoyed each other’s company. She helped me gain access into the fourth year of dentistry and I helped her to gloat about her new boyfriend to her friends. We went dining, and for walks around London, and to movies and theatres. I met her father who I can like because he was humble and successful, and I admired him for his courage in being an Indian man making ends meet in Scotland. I was overwhelmed to hear that a family outside Leicester away from one’s own culture had done so well that I admired Jessica for being the same.

Throughout our relationship one thing remained on my mind, the incident with the police and the attitude of my drug-dealer. I had not told Jessica about this, she was far too lovely to curse with these dealings I had six months prior to meeting her, instead I carried on smoking. She had never touched a cigarette let alone any form of narcotics and she did not complain on me doing so.

I tried numerous times to come off marijuana, this drug wasn’t fair on either of us and I was unaware that the drop would make me feel anger. A wish told to last a few days away from the drug to let the downsides pass. However I blamed myself again by feeling remorse and comforted my emotion the next day by lighting another joint.

If I wasn’t smoking in her presence I would be smoking with my cousin Sandra’s flat-mate Melissa, and if I wasn’t smoking around them then I was smoking alone, away from embarrassment of Naomi, and peers and out-aloud at Redman House fearing a response from God. Why I remained isolated when the world was granted at my fingertips I can only blame on smoking. A regret to stay smoking and scared to live a normal life upon fear that this too will be taken away by an attack on myself or with the ones I love.

Reassurance came slightly from Ronald, my flatmate, the only one that knew about what had happened in February 2001; but I stayed far from him too. Clearly I was still afraid and not really recovering and the closer Jessica and I got the further I wanted us to become.

Summer of 2002, Romeo, Mike and I went to India. I had failed my one exam of the forth year Dental Public Health and was to have a new sitting in November 2002. Regardless of that I aimed to leave cannabis once and for all in the vacation to India. Us lads had a whale of a time but gathering away from drugs I substituted this with alcohol. We partied till late in India. Mike and Romeo were as fond as drinking as the whale we were spending time with than feeling regret upon nothing really changing in our lives. I attended the weight-room till breakfast, slept a little till lunch, and after felt numb around silences of Romeo and Mike that the only thing to liven a holiday back to its feet would be more alcohol.

Two weeks passed and I wished we had made more of the holiday. We still enjoyed this vacation, nevertheless I was in India but around Mike this seemed more like the west, and I encouraged this further as between Romeo and Mike, Mike spoke. Somehow I wished Romeo spoke, his culture matched mine vastly more than that of Mike and I, but as Mike communicated Romeo didn’t. Maybe I should have spoken for Romeo. Maybe I should have announced that we would not drink and instead visit the mandirs, churches, malls, and markets that Mumbai had to offer. Unfortunately these neurotransmitters had been inhibited for some time now and the vacation was happily spent spending.

Back from our vacation and still as spoilt as a rich fat kid in a candy store. Jessica was in Scotland and my potential fifth year classes had commenced, and so had my smoking habits. I had smoked so much in my time to this point that I’m surprised that I could still spell my name. I never debated to use a bong or a pipe for a clean crisp smoke. This would have proved healthier than mixing cigarette tobacco with skunk. But in my naïve mind smoking a small amount of raw weed in a pot would be worse than wrapping tobacco and massive amounts of bud in rolling paper. Plus the rolling paper would last as I had nobody and nothing else to pass time with. Refilling the pot with clean weed was neither an option or a decision as everyone I knew who smoked, smoked as I did and I never kept a bowl as that would have been too much to hide.

What I thought clearly did not make sense as what I thought was nothing but how to keep my soul in my flesh. Who I was had disappeared and now I was filled with remorseful memories of how things could have been better, and so the only method of remaining intact for my family too became artificially.

As November 2002 approached I was feeling tense, battling between this form of living and concerns for Jessica as she came back from Scotland that I began to rebel against myself. To my surprise she had begun to play events to frustrate me further, dropping old boyfriend names, accidentally sending text messages that were not meant for me, and lying about where she’d be at lunch and who she would be with.

At this point in my life I was not the jealous boyfriend and I was quite far from puff the magic dragon, however I appreciated honesty, whereas I think she would have appreciated a slightly jealous boyfriend and arguments arose. I felt like this was working, she was beginning to hate me and for me that was good. I was still with concern for her wellbeing and with her acting aloof a possibility of burning the bridge became clearer.

That October I accidentally met the drug-dealer and now after a year and a half felt more terrified for Jessica rather than myself. I happened to give him money so he’d leave me alone. I owed him nothing, I hadn’t mentioned his name to the police and I hadn’t been the one the police were following, the attention the dealer brought on himself was by himself however I was to suffer.

From then to November of my re-sit exam I completely fried any relationship with Jessica. That November I failed the exam and was sent back a year to try again for spring 2003. For a week I disappeared to Bradford to visit Vassell, a city known more for drugs and bad weather than for religion and righteousness.

Christmas of 2002 passed with my family and with my attractive cousin Sandra allowing me to occupy her flat in London with Romeo, Mike and two of my college class friends, Jennifer and Mona. Christmas was filled with laughter, drugs and alcohol, and without submission of what had really happened. I had failed so much that I was surprised that the doctors at university had not advised a strong counsellor. I needed someone anonymous to speak to, no friend or family member and definitely not Romeo. Someone to advise me what I know now, that depression will follow drug rehabilitation and that my faith in God alone can be as strong as Lara’s affection.

A Reverend was met before the start of the new term. He seemed as a gentle man, but what did he have to really teach me? Nevertheless instead of asking for help and shutting up, I made up as my life was a problem, and had been for some while. The Reverend said a few things and I was left to carry on the rest of my life.

2003, the class of ’98 was about to graduate and I would feel more comfortable getting my butt back into classes and the swing back into my life. No more Naomi to feel confusion about and no more of her lies that may have spread around that year. The time to concentrate and qualify with flying colours. I passed time by greeting and treating patients, along with library sessions to practice taking National American Dental Board Exams, and eating right with occasional visits to the weight-room. Far from anyone I knew at university, and far from Jessica, and further still from the student bar but still close to marijuana.

Now I smoked for another reason, to keep my enemies close. I had no enemies but the thought of the fear of the ex-drug-dealer wanting more money or my head. And hence remained in the circle of narcotics with Mike, Vassell and Romeo and began studying for a way out without concentrating on where I was. I successfully unsatisfied examination requirements again in spring 2003 to be given a final chance with this exam in November 2003. Overall I still had not found the root to my problems and that was to have a healthy relationship with my parents, only then could I have had a stronger relationship with my younger sister and immediate family. I spent time with people that didn’t inspire me.

The summer of 2003 was spent in Houston at my cousin’s wedding; time away from drugs and alcohol and with the company of loved ones. I managed to act positive and with strength as there’s nothing more pleasurable than a neighbouring Indian family wanting to see their close-ones doing worse than them. This gives everyone something to talk about and this would up-set my mother dearly, as her sisters gathering under the same roof to leave marriage arrangement to instead discuss the downfall of my mother’s upbringing from start to finish. I would not let this happen and stayed in full spirit to glorify the special occasion for my cousin and to hide the truth from my family.

Time passed and I did too, thanks to an external examiners comfort and encouragement at a pass/fail viva. This viva was a borderline examination criterion as the written paper was not considered as a concrete pass. I was called from dental clinics to attend this oral examination a day after schedule and during this examination the examiners would conclude if I should enter the final year. I remember sitting on a park bench within the Guy’s campus before the exam as a nervous wreck. The external examiner approached and sat beside me. He asked me a question and I started blabbering words. He advised me to take a walk for ten minutes and possibly hug a girl. I don’t know what happened in that viva. It was like something controlled my conscience and my tongue. The questions were familiar and I answered each question with pose and accuracy. Thanks to him I started with confidence and finished stronger to return back to clinics that afternoon as a final year student.

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