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Meet By Chance

Meet By Chance

4 mins 5.8K 4 mins 5.8K

Yesterday, on my usual way to office, I saw her again. Her hair was cropped up into a hurried bun, a pair of blue ear phones remained plugged into her ears, her mouth was constantly busy in wriggling and chewing an unfortunate gum. Her black leather bag lay carelessly on her lap like a cat seeking attention. She was busy reading a book and she did not seem to care.

I watched her at careful intervals, lifting my eyes from the newspaper, slowly turning my head to catch a glimpse of her without getting caught. She, obviously did not notice me getting up, grabbing a seat near her and pretending to read news as I impatiently waited for a moment to start a conversation.

Several passengers pushed their way in. Slowly the bus started getting crowded making it more difficult for me to follow her. The seat beside her got emptied and filled several times. The standing crowd pushed its way onto the sitting passengers. She seemed to be lost, untouched by all the hustle and bustle. My chaotic mind was awed by the peace that surrounded her. She was like the glimpse of a snow-capped peak in a busy city. Something which you behold with your eyes, not with your hands.

I had seen her before, in the same route, three or four times. I wished to believe that she had seen me too. Else, how was it impossible for a freaky, queer, guy like me to not get caught? We were strangers, yet I wished to believe that we were a little more than it. Just when all these creepy thoughts were winding my mind I heard the conductor asking her for five rupees change, dismissing her fifty-rupees note. And, she like a freshly bloomed flower, looked up from the book and stared at him to make out his words. I could feel the heat rising between the temples of the conductor, and before it could break out and destroy her serenity, I intervened.

"Excuse me Sir, I have change", I quickly said as I tucked a five rupee note in his pocket. The conductor glared at me and left. She looked at me and smiled. The smile sat on her lips like the rays of the morning sun falling on ice. I drooled at her, unable to say anything. At the end I smiled too and said, "I have seen you a couple of other times."

"Yes," she said and smiled again.

She had a mole on her left cheek just where her smile ended, at the edge of the lips. I realized she caught me staring at it, so I brushed my shoulders and asked,"You must be going to work. What do you do?"

She looked at me briefly and said, "I work at the central library."

"Librarian," I mused as I imagined how she would look amidst stacks of old books and parchments. She would look like the silk curtains in a low lit cavern. I paid more attention on the book she was holding, a hardcover wrapped in blue velvet, cradled in her delicate fingers. Her eyes lost outside the window, I tried to follow her sight, when she suddenly broke my chain of thoughts and rose to get down at the next stop.

Reflexively I stood up as well. Even before I could say something, she gave me a crisp smile and hurried towards the exit pushing her way towards the crowd. I followed her, pushing the same crowd. But, I couldn't spot her anymore. I reached the exit and peeped out. She seemed to have camouflaged in the vibes of the day.

It was lost. Everything. She, her smile, the blue velvet book, the time, the moment, the ride. And long time after I got down, and dived deep into work, a part of my mind still kept pondering. I didn't get what it was looking for, until it was late. And then I realized that along with all that I had lost, there was one more thing. It was her name. I never tried to know her name!

A nameless pursuit, a throbbing heart, and endless beauty. Strangers we were. May be, some other ride would gift me the name.

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