Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 31/39: Joie de Vivre

Adil was bored. Yes, there was no other way to define his life. It was a drab of doing the same thing again and again without any excitement or zest. If he had to describe his life as a food, it was the crappy food shake that was hit all over the country these days, sure to fizzle out in a few months. Bland and tasteless, it was just to get by. His life wasn’t seeing any action either. 

Thus, it makes it quite hard to tell the tale of a person whose life has no excitement. But what if it’s not the fault of life but of the lens we see the life with? Perhaps, a closer look would change our perception of it. 

Let’s dive in. 

The voice of the narrator faded and the movie delved deeper into Adil’s life. Adil was a single guy working in the field of technology, living in New York in a small apartment that was working for him as well as it would for any person earning just above average. He enjoyed his work but it was not his calling. 

“I don’t have a calling,” Adil would say when someone asked him that question. 

“Dude! You just need a girlfriend,” Javier, his best friend, said to him. 

“And what problem does that solve?” Adil asked laughing. This wasn’t the first time Javier had said that or for that matter, a few other folks as well. 

“It doesn’t solve any problem. It adds to the problem. That’s the thing. You don’t have a problem right now and that’s why your life has no calling. With great problems, come great inspirations. And what great problem than a girl problem.”

Adil laughed. “Does Sofia know that?” 

“Shhh… Don’t summon the devil.” 

Sofia and Javier had been married for over three years now and both behaved as if it was the worst decision of their lives. Adil would have believed that if they didn’t look at each other dreamily every chance they got. 

“I’ll date when I’ll find someone interesting.”

“Good idea! More interesting, more problems.” 

Adil rolled his eyes. “That’s the most roundabout manner I have seen of someone appreciating their wife.”

Javier winked at him. 

Adil’s banter with his best friend faded as the audience in the theater waited for the new scene to come. They were bored and as much as the scene tried to be funny, it was the same old trope of married couples being unhappy but happy. 

The next scene immediately moved to a girl, bubbly and filled with joie de vivre. The audience knew what was coming and a collective groan indicated that they didn’t want to see that. 

Adil and the girl met and for once, Adil was astounded. He looked at her and continued looking at her till she went inside the building. 

“They are gonna meet again. That serendipity bullshit and whatnot.” A man in the audience said, loud enough for everyone to laugh about it. 

And sure enough, the scene changed to a few days in the future when they met again and Adil was able to gather the courage to talk to her. The movie moved further as their love bloomed and then collapsed. Adil had experience joy and pain. He gained purpose and then lost it again. The scene shifted again to his conversation with Javier. 

“I told you,” Javier said. 

“Yeah! But now I’m back to where I was, even worse, I feel.”

“Did you find your calling?” 

Adil shook his head. 

“Bummer. Maybe next time.” 

And the cycle continued. The second half of the movie was basically the repeat of the first half in a shorter format happening faster. Some members of the audience started to get up and go out. Others were whispering. “Raymond has lost his touch. This movie has nothing out of the ordinary yet unlike his previous directions.”

‘Just wait for the damn ending.’ The director of the movie who was sitting in the back thought. 

The movie was almost towards the end now and half the theater was empty. 

Adil had experienced another heartbreak and was again sitting with Javier. 

“Nothing?” Javier asked.

Adil shook. 

“Is that such a bad thing?” Javier asked.

“What do you mean?” 

“Not having a calling. Having a ‘what you say’ a boring life? You enjoy what you do and you don’t fret yourself with the troubles of the world. Why do you want more?” 

“Because it’s bland.”

“Yeah. Well! My life is spicy as hell and I won’t mind trading it for yours, at least some time.”

Adil looked at Javier as if he had given him the key to his problems. 

“I have an idea!” 

A couple of weeks later, Adil showed Javier his website – tradelife.com. The website had a huge heading – “Do you want to relax?”

The subheading was a paragraph:

“If your life is too hectic and you need a week’s break from your office, your family, your friends, and want to have a boring week, find me. I will trade the drama for the bland life that I have.”

“What’s this?” Javier asked confused.

“I’m selling my boring life to people whose life is too exciting.” 

“You really think it will work?”

“I have two customers already.”

“Whoa!” 

And the movie ended. Before people could understand anything, a small text appeared on the screen.

“Based on a True Story.” 

“What?” 

“That’s unbelievable.” 

“I will have to see this again. Did someone really started to sell their boring life?”

The murmur continued as the director smiled in the back. He looked at the watch. “It’s time.”

He came out and sat in a car.

“This was the most relaxing year of my life. Thanks for exchange,” Raymond said. 

“You are welcome. I hope you are satisfied with the life I’m leaving you with.”

“Yeah. The movie is critically being acclaimed. I can take it from here. I have some fresh ideas as well,” Raymond said shaking hands with the person who had taken his place in the world for a year. As they shook hands, their bodies swapped souls. 

“This is the part you left out in the movie,” Raymond said with a grin.

“Life should be more fantastical than the movie. Don’t you think?” Adil said with a smile. 

He got out of the car and checked his phone for new clients. He accidentally left his body once when he was a kid and learned that he could do it at will. His friend Javier’s quip gave him the idea of using this skill for a greater purpose. Now, he had clients, huge ones, who would want to relax for a month to a year and would trade places with him. 

In the past ten years, he had made multiple movies, done huge trade deals, and even dabbled in global politics. 

But except for using his real name in the movie, he was always in the shadows – almost a myth. 

Even his business card simply said:

Adil – Consultant.