Shreeya Swagatika Rath



Shreeya Swagatika Rath




3 mins 433 3 mins 433

I look around. All my classmates are busy among themselves at the party. You're taking pictures sincerely, as you do any task that you're assigned to do. You're always behind the camera; I couldn't digest that fact. I pick up my phone, tap on 'Camera' and take snaps of you. The candids I click of you like a creepy stalker are much better than the selfies you click, undoubtedly.

I look around. A couple of strangers are scattered here and there. Meh, they mean nothing to me right now. You're paying the bill; your chivalrous gentlemanly self always makes sure that the treat is yours, because you know I don't have much to spare. I smile as I tap the Capture button. You look dashing.

I look around. There's almost nobody around. We were having a funny little chat until you got a call from work. I have nothing to do but look at you and hear your voice. I have nothing to complain about, of course; except that staring at you wouldn't be a very good idea. So I open the Camera app on my phone and take pictures of you while you pay no attention.

I know I sound so very much like a psycho creep, but I send the pictures to you later that day with funny captions, to prove that my intentions were purely comical and friendly. You send a laughing emoji and say that you look so ugly. I disagree, always.

I take screenshots of Instagram stories that our mutual friends put up which includes you in them. I send them to you, cropping all the others out. I say, you look so cute! You say that you look so weird. Or awkward. Or ugly. I aggressively disagree.

I look around. There's no one awake. I open my phone's photo gallery and open a folder containing around 20 pictures of a single person. They have been taken in around 5 months or so, in various locations. Some are candids, some are profile photos that have been saved, some are screenshots from Instagram stories. If my mom saw this folder, she would freak out. If anybody else saw it, they'd either think I'm a creep, or absolutely smitten with you, or that I have criminal intentions against you. 

They won't understand. It was a sort of premonition that led to this folder's existence in my gallery. The fear that something so precious will soon be lost, because does anything that makes me too happy stay forever? Never have I been that fortunate. So I hide you, your influence on me, our memories, in that folder. I'm not a creep, I'm a prudent lover.

And for one last time, I look around. Nobody is watching me. I slide through your pictures and stop at the one I love the most. To me, that smile is the only power that can make me smile too, no matter how low I might be feeling. I stop at that picture and something makes me bring the phone closer to my lips. I don't realise when I kiss your head behind the screen, while my eyelets an unruly tear slide down.

Your photographs, that's all I have.

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