I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven and I woke up, yet again. It was a bitter cold night and the quilt that I slept cuddling with was hanging down the bed. I struggled and somehow my quavering hands pulled it up. I wasn’t sure of what the dream was about. It was all in fragments, and the pumped up adrenaline in my body won’t let me sleep. I was the best man my conscious could hire, and I started my work right away, trying hard to clear the blur off the dream, but falling asleep was the only thing I was able to produce after a long while.
“Phone ringing”, I picked it up and smiled, “Good Morning!” was all I said, and her voice was the only thing I wanted to hear. With my eyes still shut I went to the washroom and as I opened my eyes, the haunting fragments from the dream came back to my mind. What might the story be? I thought hard. Everything that I was thinking about the day before was interrupted by this dream, but not for long. The door bell rang,
‘In came another bill’, I said searching for toothpaste in the crumbled up tubes. The world map on the wall had stopped fluttering as the electricity went out; I knew my connection was no longer active. The dream of travelling the world someday was jolted and melted and my priorities clearly shifted to paying my rent.
“I want to see you”,
She said shouting on the phone and that was when I realized that I was still on the phone. Same agitation I felt last night came howling back.
“Let’s have lunch”, I said.
‘She was a bit low, what happened!’ I added on more thought to the stack that my mind was already thinking about.
Picked up my things and I left for work.
‘Two years’, I hummed as I walked in the class of a few kids. I am their art teacher, a thing I started in college for a few extra bucks, was now my supporting stick. Time I could never feel when I was in this class, maybe this was one of the reason I was still in this job.
I started my bike, smiled and I was sure that it would be something we would laugh upon. She does this all the time, peeks up my interest to the level of my curiosity and then she would look me with her sparkling eyes and it would turn out to be something very innocent and simple, and that would make me laugh every time. What intrigued me was if she does that on purpose, just to see me smile? Or was this the part of her beautiful contradiction. I saw a bug crossing the road and waved my bike to avoid any casualties. And then suddenly It all came back to me the room, the anxiety, a faceless man, the door and that sound of the clock ticking ten, nine, eight, seven, as I counted. Who was the guy, I tried to recall. This is something I do when I try to remember a dream. Figure out the faces try to recreate the surroundings and try to link the small details and walk my way back to the whole story.
Have you ever seen a chunk of foggy cloud rolling down a hill!? I used to sit at my window back at home, and in the rainy season often I could see the clouds rolling down. The cloud would look calm at surface but as you go towards the core you would feel the turbulence the fog and the small frozen droplets churning and slowly eating up the cloud and making it disappear as it rolled down. Similar phenomenon was taking place in the cloud of thoughts that was rolling in my mind, and then I saw her standing across the road smiling and lost in her world somewhere, and I somehow thought I knew what she might be thinking about.
She saw me smiled to me silently gave me kisses, I don’t know how she does that with such ease without trying with no symbols no gestures, the way she look at me is enough to say it all every time, and in we went for our lunch.
“Hi!” I said with a smile that was beyond my control, she was in turmoil too I could read her. “Hey, what happened?!” I asked.
“I got the job”, she said.
Something she was working very hard for. I felt overwhelmed with a part of happiness mixed together with two parts of pain. I smiled and said,
“When do you have to join?”
“In a few days”, She said.
“Will you come along with me?” she added, asking me.
I was numb, the thought of her going away was tearing me apart and I knew the road she was about to take would be beautiful and I will only be dragging her back. Though the dream of travelling round the world camping and trekking everywhere possible till we grow old was mutual, we knew we would have to take different roads for some time and we knew our roads would intersect.
“Hey, I don’t want to go without you.” She said.
I smiled held her hand. “I will catch up with you”. I said.
Tapping her toe and holding her hand tight, I smiled I saw her eyes were filled and so were mine. This way adding one more moment that was too real to exist in this world where it shouldn’t have existed, a world that was crowded with masks, we went out revealing ourselves and like always we were invisible. The masks cannot see beyond faces. We went to someplace quite, sat by a tree and I hugged her.
“I just realized how dynamic life could be.”
This was second time I said those words in that particular order. I think she went back to the memory of the time I first said them. Or maybe she was trying to recall it. I smiled looking at her.
“I don’t think it’s been inactive for you ever.” She said and gave me her evil smile. I laughed and then came back the pain; she was leaving in a few days. I combed her hairs that were hiding her face behind her ear, and smiled. “Hi” I said.
We were lost in some dimension unknown and my phone rang. It was owner who was adamant and we had to leave. Though every atom in my body wanted to steal her away, to go and disappear in the crowd with her, yet, fighting hard against my emotions I dropped her back to her home. She left but a part of her was still with me, I could feel her. Trying to take in the impact of the day I rode thoughtlessly back to my room. With just a song ringing in my head ‘break on through to the other side…’
As I reached my apartment the lights were up and working, there was paper with a note latched on to my door from my owner. I went to his office and paid him from the little I had left, he said in a concerning tone,
“Figure something out; I know you have potential to do better”
I totally ignored, shook my head and went back to my room with the song still buzzing in my head. I sat on my bed and saw the map that was fluttering and nailed it back to the wall after a long while and traced all the places that were marked, running my finger over it making lines and connecting the dots, cleaning the film of dust that was over it.
‘I have to get up and start walking too’ the voice in my head said.
“Get up start walking, go do you wanna be late” the voice pressed.
It was quite as the electricity went off again. I was drowning in some strange fear. The bed was cold, the room was empty and my phone ran out of battery. And all I heard was the clock ticking.
‘Is it just the light or the color is really draining!?’
Everything was shining in the moonlight that was falling directly in through the window. Was I delusional? Or I really saw the shadows and shades crawling to the bottom slit of my door, then above. The door was in the spotlight.
‘Oh! The moon is always in a constant motion in the sky’, I tried to be reasonable. The door was now shining as if it was calling out to me. My spirit felt trapped in this room, I wanted to leave. Ten, nine, eight, seven… I counted as the clock ticked and walked towards the door. All I could feel was a part of me sitting back and looking at me as I left