Tag Archives: beginnings

Of Edited Pictures and More

She is holding a tattered notebook, close to her heart. A few pages stick out of the spiral bound black book. The letters are fading. Each time it rains, each drop, washes away some more of the pages scribbled with blue ink. She glances down at it from time to time.

He is holding a broken guitar. A small guitar with a string taut and the others hanging loose. He runs his hand over the metal body and then sighs. Biting his lip, he leans over and plucks a chord. The sound makes him twist his face in disgust. He keeps quiet, holds the guitar down and waits for his bus.

She is holding an old camera and a few photos. As she looks down at the rainbow-coloured images that she had once clicked, it takes her back to the happy times. But a moment later, when the rain comes pouring down in a torrential downpour, she forces herself to look away from the pictures. Now they mean nothing to her but blurred Polaroids.

He is holding a broken record player and his favourite pair of dance shoes. He looks at them and feels everything and nothing simultaneously. He feels desperate, almost to go back to the very world he had created with them. But then, he looks away and tells another tale.

I stand there, faking the same smile that I had been long holding on to. But the corners of my lips are starting to hurt. The smile is giving away and I can feel the tears pricking. The bus will be here any moment, I say myself and fake the same smile.

When the wheels screech in front of us, we stand up and take a deep breath. Each one of us walks ahead and boards the bus, leaving behind the things we had brought along. I drop my smile; she forgets her notebook; he leaves his guitar; she abandons her camera; and he walks away without his dancing shoes.

Our pictures are no longer real. The camera will lie from here on. We are nothing but blurred Polaroids and films without our dreams. We are nothing but the images found in the recycle bin. The colours may be brighter, the hues may be sharper, but all we are inside are edited pictures, drowned in black and white.

The bus takes off and we leave a part of us behind.

Of Moving On

She sat by the window. She wasn’t looking at anything in particular. She was engrossed in her shallow lanes of thoughts. She couldn’t help but visit every single corner of her neurons. They seemed unstable. She didn’t seem upset. Something about her was heartbreaking. Like, she needed somebody to just listen to her, pat her and not speak a word. She was in need of a person who would take her far away from the atrocities of life.

She wanted to breath without the fear of suffocating. She wanted to smile without having to think about the lonely nights she would have to cry herself to sleep. Her eyes were not teary but I could hear her weeping copiously. The strings in her heart seemed to break. Slowly, one by one. She was not so sure about why things seemed baffled. Her conscience was silent. Calm. She seemed careless about the world and the people in it. She was rewinding every single thing that happened. She didn’t want to speak about it. She was afraid of feeling vulnerable. She wished she could cry in the rain so that she didn’t have to open her heart up to anybody. Everybody she trusted, everyone she really cared about didn’t even look back for a second. Now, what do you expect from somebody who has been stabbed in the back again and again and now she’s so broken from inside that she couldn’t even lean to find the tattered pieces of her heart.

Her flames were washed away. She had to actually gather guts to smile. Who does that to a person? She swiftly stood up and walked towards the bed where her baby girl was deep asleep. She kissed her forehead gently and patted her little belly. She decided she wouldn’t let that happen to her. She had a long way to go. So, what if some random guy came, explored and left? People will come into your life just as easily as they would leave. But that doesn’t make anything worse. You are here to love, to shadow people you love and let go of people who are willing to leave.

Just remember, when you are sad, lonely and everything is shattered, watch the stars and drink the rain and speak softly to yourself that you drank all that you could.

Of Real Attachments

Here’s the thing. We hold on to our principles and beliefs. We make decisions and draw solid lines to see to the fact that everything goes according to our flow chart. But it never turns out just like we plan, does it? We try every possible way to hide our true feelings, remain dormant, close all the emotions in some vault to which nobody is possibly allowed to pay a visit, not even us. We convince ourselves that we can deal with it, go a long way with it. But the fear remains. Self-control is not an easy task at all. But is it always about us? Or maybe it is about the thing we are so hopelessly addicted to? For a moment, we scour for reasons to strike it out. Strike everything out. But then another version of ourselves speaks differently. It gives us a wise sermon about not letting it go. We cling to our hopes. We see vivid images and make movies in our mind. Letting go of something that strong is not an easy job. Because you cannot not notice something that genuine. You cannot strike something out when every cell of your body is reluctant to do so. Because, when it’s real, you cannot walk away.

Of Late Night Talks (II)

“I’m scared.”

“Why?”

“It’s like everything, every hope is slipping right past me. I see people far ahead of me. The race has started and I’ve only barely begun walking. The goal seems so far away.”

“I can relate.”

“What’s your story?”

“Me?” he pauses a while. “Lost, I guess. Everyone around me feels that I’ve no direction in life. That I’d end up useless, probably spending nights sleeping on railway platforms and being jobless. See, I’m alcoholic. I lose my temper most of the time. All I feel like doing to sitting in some cold, empty place..and just being there. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. For once, I want to disappear.”

She tilts the glass and fiddles with the cocktail onions on the edge of her glass.

“It is weird, but I feel the same way too. Sometimes, I feel as if the world is moving too fast. People aren’t bothered to spare a glance at what’s happening around them. All of  them have their eyes set on the goal and they are madly running towards it. But what after that? What happens after they reach their goal? Their life isn’t complete, is it? They start looking forward to other milestones. It’s like amidst the entire career, money, education, we are forgetting about life! Why, if life is about going to a prestigious university, having shitload of money and driving to parties and meeting business targets and getting back home, tired and lifeless, I better not live it at all. Because, that is not life for me! It isn’t about the highs always, is it?”

He shakes his head quietly.

Turning around, he rests his elbows against the metal railings and leans against it.

“It’s about the lows too,” he says. “It’s not always about the noise. The silence carries as much meaning, in fact more. It’s not about how much you earn and how much you work and how much settled you are, sometimes the very essence of life lies in going through the lows and then standing up, ready to face the world all over again. I want a story like that. I don’t want to tread down the known road. I want to get lost. I want to get drunk. I want to be clueless. And I want to fall down, cry and learn. And then, when it dawns, I want to be stronger. I don’t want to be the same person I was the other night. I want to be the person who is happy. And I want to bask under that feeling. I want to really feel the moment. Be right in it. And remember it when I breathe my last.”

She smiles.

“Isn’t it crazy that we all can talk so much about life and give advice on how to live, yet when it comes to applying the very same thing, we back away and go back to being the same people? We embrace the concept of “unpredictability” in theoretical approach. But when it comes to being clueless and not being able to know where we land up and how, we run away scared. I want to breathe.”

He nods slowly.

For a minute, neither of them speak.

They think of the dawn that is a few hours away. But it isn’t their dawn. The sunshine may wipe away their tears, but inside, they will be still sad.

“May be we are supposed to live our life this way?” she speaks again. “Scared. Confused. Driven by dreams. And then, mocked and told that reality is bitter. May be life’s supposed to be this way only? But then, why can’t I be as secure and as happy as other people when I’m doing the exactly same thing as them?”

He shrugs.

“May be life is not supposed to be this way?” he responds. “May be our formula is wrong. May be because people are scared, they don’t take another road and like a herd, we all walk down the same way?”

“I had this strange idea as a kid. I was always thinking that our life is just this crazy dream and we are aliens on another planet and we’ll wake up one day and realize that all this was a dream and then everything will be all right again,” she takes a sip of her drink. “I want to forget everything for a moment and start afresh.”

“I had that stupid idea too. And yes,” he tilts his glass against his parched lips and gulps down the burning liquid, “I want to forget everything too.”

When the morning arrived, he found himself walking down the muddy road, back to his house, three blocks away. And she found herself calling a taxi to take her to the airport.

But they weren’t scared and confused anymore. Although the road in front of them wasn’t exactly a straight road, they knew that if they kept running, if they kept chasing their dream, one day, it will be theirs. One day, the life they had dreamt of, they will be living it.

They faced the morning with brighter hopes.

Of The First Post Challenge

So few days ago, I was nominated for the first post challenge by ANNEMARIE & LIFE. A big thank you for the nomination.

The rules:

  • link your first post
  • name the type of the post
  • explain why this was your first post (reason for writing)
  • nominate fellow bloggers to participate in the challenge

So here is my first blog post ever:

THE SCARIEST BLOG POST OF THEM ALL

I had no clue what to write in the first blog post.. Being fairly new to the blogging world and having read lots of articles on the techniques of blogging, I was rather nervous. But then, I decided to just go with it. To pour my heart out on the paper. Though I accept, back at that time, I hadn’t found my niche, I believe I have found one now.

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”- Meister Eckhart

Have you ever felt the urge to start a new venture but there’s always something that holds you back? Have you taken a step forward in excitement, only to retreat and sit back? We’ve all gone through this at some point of time in our lives. Putting it more precisely, most of us go through this experience every time we decide to start something new.

It’ll please some of you to know that I spent two hours trying to figure out the title of my first-ever blog post! And while I was atop my terrace, looking down at the terribly high drop and then looking back up, wondering what should be the title after all, I realized something. I realized that I was scared (no, not about the entire height factor) – of starting a new blog and taking the first few baby steps.

A myriad of questions ran through my mind as I quietly scrolled through the themes. Having read numerous articles about why most bloggers fail and how disastrous some blog posts are, I was afraid because there’s always a possibility for joining the same train. What if my first blog post isn’t that impressive? What if it doesn’t connect with my readers? What if I start receiving hate messages? Even worse, what ifsomeone adds my blog to the worst-ever-blogs list? And sitting on the edge of a terrace was not helping at all. Of course, I wasn’t planning on jumping down from there (and I wouldn’t ever think of it, because I want to look pretty while I’m dying and falling from that height is obviously going to leave me with nothing but grotesque bruises and broken bones. And, I’m guessing that wouldn’t be pretty!). Some part of me convincingly said that I was out of ideas probably because of gravity which was pulling every creative thought away from my brain and sending them to settle at my feet. The other part kept on laughing like a maniac. In short, half of my insides were fighting with the other half. I thought a change of place might help.

So, picking up my laptop, I trudged downstairs to my room.

That, as I had already predicted, didn’t help. Instead of focusing on the birth of my blog baby (I’m trying to be over dramatic), I started drooling over the Chace Crawford posters on my wall and playing my brother’s recently downloaded games. I had this strange thought of writing about video games in my first blog post! And hopefully, I didn’t yield to the urge. Then, I had an even stranger thought of writing about who are my best actors and why.

At this rate, I realized, I was never going to be able to start a blog.

They say that beginnings are probably the best things – beginning a new business venture, starting a new job, starting college, starting a new book – we’ve always been fascinated by the idea of beginnings. It is the end that brings us pain. Nobody wants a beautiful thing to end. That is probably why we all go, “Oh no!” when our favourite romantic movie starts rolling out the credits. The concept of an ending has always scared us. We believe that beginnings are easier. However, they are not.

I’ve no idea about the whole concept of an ending, but speaking from experience, I can say that the beginning steps are probably harder. When it took me two hours to only figure out the title for a blog post, I realized that it is not always easy to start a thing. Be it a businessman or a teacher or a kid in primary grade, they all dread the beginning steps. The businessman spends sleepless nights, thinking about his newest venture. The teacher is nervous on the first day of school and meeting her new students. The kid in primary grade fakes a stomach ache because he is afraid of facing the new kids in school. We all have several apprehensions before starting something new. And, the only nagging question in our minds is – Will this be successful? Will the idea be successful? Will I be able to do this thing right?

One of the major reasons such thoughts strike our minds is because right from the start, we’ve been told that starting anything new is arisk. And we’ve grown up with the same idea. We are afraid to go in the less-trodden way for that is a risk. Students are afraid to choose a vocational stream because that is a risk, so they tend to stick to the traditional courses. Parents are afraid to send their kids out alone because that is a risk, so they keep them inside their homes until they feel that he/she has grown up enough. New writers are afraid to send their works to a publisher because they feel that it is a risk-their works might get rejected. So they keep their works to themselves, only sharing it with their family and a few friends.

It is like you’ve been gifted a pair of wings by God and you are standing at the edge of a cliff. A part of you is excited to try the wings and the other part keeps holding you back, reminding you a numerous times that you can’t fly. It fills your head with a plethora of confusions. You’re suddenly afraid that the wings may not be real – a thought that hadn’t crossed your mind until then. You are suddenly terrified at the idea of jumping down the cliff and spreading the wings that have been gifted to you. What if you fall?

So, you turn back and walk down the safer road, back home.

The only thought that doesn’t cross your mind is: What if you fly?

The beginning to a beginning is to take a risk. Until, you’ve taken a risk, you’ll never know what is next. Let us think of risks as a series of steps. Let us, for once, forget that risk is used in a negative term. And let us embrace the new possibilities that arrive in our mind, once we’ve settled on that thought.

And that is exactly how I managed to write my first blog post-the supposedly scariest post of them all. Though the FIRST blog post sounds terrifying, I’m proud I’ve managed to put up something decent. Now that I think of it, I was also standing at the edge of the cliff, with a pair of wings. At first, I was afraid to take a step forward. So, I took two steps back. But that was only because I wanted to take flight. So, here I’m, flying towards the sun, thinking about the world that exists out there.

And I’m not afraid anymore.

I nominate the following bloggers to take part in the challenge. I’d love to read their first views on blogging.

Of Eclipsed Dreams

Why can’t I see the sun?”, the blind girl asked curiously.

“You can see fine, honey. Just try to imagine a ball of yellow light.”, the mother replied.

“But, I don’t want to imagine. I want to actually see it. Why can everyone see and not me?”

“The difference between them and you is they have to close their eyes to things they find hard to see. But, you can keep your eyes open and see whatever you want to.”

She didn’t question anymore. She knew it was pointless. Her mother would tell her nice things but nothing would outweigh the joy of actually being able to see things. She could feel her wooden support and the weight of the black glasses resting on her nose made her feel belittled. She took baby steps and walked up to the window. She knew exactly where to sit. She could feel the wind blowing her little strands of hair. Something grew strong inside of her. It was not a good feeling at all. A very heavy weight of abandonment from the feeling of being able to enjoy the beautiful Mother Nature overcame her. She wished she could ask for a pair of eyes for her birthday. There’s nothing she would want more.

She could hear the birds chirping. She could hear the noises of a progressing construction work. For a moment, she turned numb. She would never be able to see the faces of her loved ones. How would she remember them? How would she distinguish between her favourites and common? She would never be able to tell who made that chocolate cake for her and who bought her the cap. She would never have a favourite colour. She would never be able to have a crush or a favourite cartoon. She could only hear them. The voices of her beloved ones. She could only judge their tones. What if they are betraying her right infront of her? She would never be able to tell.

Then, the words of her mother echoed. “Darling, it’s a good thing after all. There are pros and cons to everything, dear. Find out something about it that would make you happy.”

She started thinking about it. Maybe, there’s something more. God would never do that to her. Then, something struck her. She won’t be able to see her loved ones. But, that also means she won’t be able to see the people she won’t like in the long run. She’ll have no faces to hate. She won’t be able to cherish the colours. But that means, she would like all of it. She smiled at her deduction. She would have nothing to witness and nothing to judge. She could be a better human being. That’s all that mattered, isn’t it? She had nothing to whine about. She was devoid of eyesight. But she was endowed with vision. She didn’t need a teacher. What she needed was her own self. She decided she wouldn’t end up being miserable. She could see the Sun the way she would want to see it. She didn’t have to see what others saw. Her lost eyesight was a blessing in disguise, after all.

Of Twisted Tales Of Pain

She wanted to live a happy life.

But each night, after the enchanting chaos of the city had dwindled and the orbs of light blurred in her vision, she found herself walking down the narrow bridge. At times, she’d stop abruptly and lean over the wooden rails to see her reflection in the dark waters. The planks under her feet would creak slowly under her weight as she’d gaze deep into the fading reflection of herself. Her eyes lacked mirth. Her lips were always twisted, painting a frown.

At other times, she’d walk and walk until she’d reach the willow tree at the end of the bridge. Leaning against it, she’d quietly slip into the gravel road and watch the world walk past her.

As the night would slowly merge into darker shades, the tears that she’d been holding would give way and into the silence of the night, she’d scream out all her sorrow. She loved the way the night hid her pain. Never did Darkness let anyone know about the one poor girl who cried into its embrace. Alone.

When the colours would slowly start to melt and dawn would arrive, she’d pick herself up, wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and pretend as if everything with her was just all right. With that brave face of hers, she’d face every dawn, no matter how much she was breaking on the inside.

One Friday night though, when the neon lights at every club were bright and high and oven timers pierced the thick air, and she walked down the bridge, she wasn’t alone. For Darkness followed her step.

When she stopped to look at her reflection, Darkness looked down too.

“You are here, every night, without fail,” it said.

“This is the only place that never fails to make me feel lighter,” she answered.

“And you are the only person here,” it said again.

“It probably seems like I’m the most disappointed person around, doesn’t it? A broken family. Unsatisfying life. A stressful job. And when I get back home, there’s nobody to hear me out. So, I come here, thinking that someone will understand. No one does. They sleep silently, tucked inside their blankets and wake up to loud alarms in the dawn. And they face the day. As for me, each morning, I wish to go back to bed and sleep away forever.”

“It wrenches my heart, dear, to hear you say like that. How I wish I could tell you otherwise. How I wish I could tell you of the stories that hide in the light. You see people, walking straight, heads held high, their shoulders straight, and it is as if they’re afraid of nothing. I’ll tell you a different story – they are afraid. Deep inside, each one of them is a mess. When they talk, they are still thinking of a hundred different things in their brain. When they laze back in their beds, they think of the world. They have broken hearts. They are lonely people. And they hide their true faces under the bright light of the dawn, pretending that nothing’s wrong.”

“It is okay,” it continued,”to be a little sad, to a little frustrated and to be a little broken. Each one of them is. Some of them keep telling themselves that there’ll be brighter days, holding on to the minuscule glimmer of hope in their hearts; while some of them come here on fateful nights and end their stories. What you need to do, is face the dawn. It holds surprises for each one. But if you are busy grieving about the night, you’ll never relish what the dawn has in store for you.”

“It won’t make my life any better, will it?” she said.

“You’ve to hold on to hope and live yet another day to find out.”

That morning, when she walked amongst the crowd of people, she didn’t feel lost. Deep inside her heart, sorrow lingered, but just like the rest of them, she knew she had to keep going on. The very hope that she held was that, the next day was going to be even better.

Of A Bright Little Dark Story

“I want to be a failure in life,” she spoke slowly.

Against the backdrop of enticing beauty of majestic fountains and dense forests, her words never echoed. Yet, she spoke them again. Clearly. Slowly. Waiting for someone at the other end of the cliff to hear her and say the same.

But nobody did.

Of course, nobody would. Everyone wanted to be successful at life. Who would even want to be a failure!

“I want to be a failure in life,” she said again.

The vast emptiness that stretched above her was soon merging into a gorgeous shade of dark. The sun had gone down. The breeze slowly danced to some unheard rhythm. And Venus glimmered across the horizon.

She was supposed to be scared. She was supposed to stand up, get away from the steep cliff and return back home. She had been afraid of heights. She had been afraid of the dark. She had always wanted to be in the light. Strangely, that evening, the cold and the dark didn’t bother her. The steepness of the jagged rocks on which she sat, didn’t worry her. She knew that it was better there. The illusion of merry and peace that she had built right in front of her eyes was far better than the reality that awaited her on the other side of the world.

“I want to be a failure in life,” she spoke for the umpteenth time that evening  and yet again, there wasn’t an echo.

How she wished somebody would hold her hand and tell her that she wasn’t alone. She couldn’t take the competition. She couldn’t keep up with the expectations of people around her. They all wanted her to be a winner. They all wanted her to be at the top, never having a fall. And she was slowly making them lose their faith in her. Each time she was trying to get up, she was falling.

She was scared. Right around her, she watched people fight their way to the end. She watched people with dreams glimmering in their eyes, not giving up until they reached their goal. She watched people fall and then pick themselves up. And it scared her to know that her determination was not enough. That she was never going to get anywhere in life.

She could never be a winner, she felt. Instead of keeping people in dark hopes, she believed that it would be better if she became a failure in life. Nobody would place their deepest faith in her. Nobody would be bothered. And she could just walk. Peacefully. Without having to feel sad.

“I want to be a failure in life!” she spoke again, loudly. Again, there wasn’t a single voice that followed back. “Doesn’t anyone want to be a failure? Why does everybody want to be a winner? What’s so great about winning, anyway? The struggle continues, despite the wins and the losses.”

“The struggle continues, despite the wins and the losses,” someone uttered back finally.

She stood up and took a step back. She understood. The “winning” and “losing” were transient. They were like the waves that arrived at the shore and then retreated. The struggle to get somewhere – that was only constant. The struggle to reach the final destination – that was constant. There were going to be ups and downs. Sometimes, there’d be a high tide or two. On other days, sunshine. The storm didn’t always last.

That night, when she got back home and fell asleep, she dreamt of the sunshine that was about to arrive. Deep in her heart, she knew and she believed.

Of Beautiful Tragedies

“I can’t do this. I’m sorry. But I can’t. I can’t be the person who can lead the crowd. I can’t be the person who walks along with the crowd. I’d rather sit at the sidewalks and watch them walk past me.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you want me to be. I can’t be this person who the world looks up to. I can’t be this person who is instantly recognized amidst a buzzing crowd. I’d rather be one little person, lost in the same crowd, looking at others.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you think I’ll turn out to be. For I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be the person who has perfect grades, perfect scores, perfect job, perfect family, perfect house, but not a perfect life. Perfection is delusional. I don’t want to be this person who doesn’t have the courage to chase after their dreams and is instead driven by a crowd. I don’t want to be that person.

I can’t do this. I can’t bottle up my dreams and throw them away. I don’t want to be one of the hundred people I meet on the road everyday, who don’t have dreams glistening in their eyes. Each one of us has a dream. And happiness lies in reaching that dream..in reaching close and grasping it and crying in joy. I have a dream. And I do want to hold on to it.

I can’t do this. I can’t wake up each day and live another person’s life. The person inside me..the real person struggles to express itself each day, but I shut it out, because I’m not sure if you’d like this person. This person is scared and vulnerable. This person is clueless and driven by dreams and not by plans. This person wakes up to enjoy today and not spend the day planning for tomorrow. This person takes a step first and then thinks. This person is different. This person finds hope in the dark. This person cries and never holds back. And you’d probably not like this person.

I can’t do this. I want to be something different..something different than the facade I pull up each day. I have a million dreams. I want to stand at a crossroad and take a leap into the unknown. I want to know where that way leads to. I don’t want to take the safer road. I want to take a risk and see where it leads me. If I fall, I’ll bounce back, I believe. If I fail, all is not lost, right?

I can’t do this. I just can’t. I want to be someone different than the person you want me to be. I want to be someone different than the person others consider me to be. I want to be the person I want to be.”

There was a knock at the door, and a moment later, someone entered. In the palpable darkness, the figure moved towards the little light at the corner of the room and bent over the table to peer into her notebook.

“What are you doing?” the person asked.

“Just revising notes,” came the reply.

When the person left the room, she ripped away the paper from her notebook and went back to being the person she didn’t want to be. Back to the same person, who ran away from her own dreams.

Switching off the little light, she fell back on her bed and slept away the night.

The other morning, she wrote the same thing again in a different sheet and tore it apart before anyone arrived.

For days, she kept writing the same thing over and over again. For days, she looked for a chance to scream out her words at the world. For days, she waited for someone to hear her. For days, she waited for someone to understand without her having to say a word.

Somewhere down the lane, over the years, her habit was lost. So were her dreams. Her words were muffled. The pieces of paper withered away, the ink got smeared due to the rain. The pieces of paper were trampled on, yet some remained.

And one fine day, when the world did know about this person she had always wanted to be, it was too late. She had already become the person she’d never wanted to be.

Of Missing People

The little cafe downtown Larris Road, bears a deserted look. Even though the fog has still not cleared and cold winds brush past every now and then, people don’t stop by for a coffee. She doesn’t want to, as well.

But somehow, she does.

He is there.

The mist has settled on the window panes, painting a rather distorted image of the world outside. Beyond the window, people in their buttoned-up coats and tight scarfs, walk past. She wants to retrace her steps and go back to being one of those busy people trudging down the street, but she’s already inside the warm, little cafe and it feels good there.

With heavy steps, she walks to one of those corner tables and takes a seat.

Her face pulls up of pretence of carelessness. Inside, there is a storm raining down on her heart.

Her lips quiver as she hears a pair of sneakers squeaking down the hallway. A second later, he stands in front of her.

“What would you like-” he pauses awhile. “Ma’am?”

His words sting her. Yet taking a deep breath, she manages to look up at him.

His button-down black shirt is sticking to one side and his dark hair glows under the flickering lights in the cafe. His shoes are worn out, yet he wears them with so much pride.

He is not looking at her. Instead, his eyes are focused on the blank page of the notepad.

“Two coffee, please,” she mutters, with too much care.

He quickly turns around and walks to the counter, without bothering to ask her if she needs something else. It’s as if she has ceased to exist for him.

When he arrives with the two cups of coffee, carefully balanced on the tray, she doesn’t know how to ask him to stay.

As if he can read her mind, setting down the tray before her, he carefully pulls out a chair and takes a seat.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

Her fingers curl around the cup, and she breathes out a slow sigh as the warmth of it trickles down her skin. Bringing the cup to her lips, she gives it a slight blow.

“I miss people,” she manages to say.

Her fingers jerk tighter around the steaming cup as her eyes start to sting. She rubs at the them at the same stupid pretext that he’s grown accustomed to.

He pretends like he didn’t hear her.

Emptiness wafts around them. She can no longer hear the brisk footsteps of people outside. She can no longer hear the slight squeaking of shoes near the counter. It’s as if the whole world has stopped and is somehow looking right at them, waiting in anticipation to hear the next word uttered.

At the corner of her eye, she can see him fiddling with his cup, his head bent down, probably watching her the same way as she is watching him.

“Why are you here?” he whispers.

At that moment, she bites back her lip to hold the swell of emotion waiting to burst out.

“I miss you,” she finally says. “I miss people when they drift away. These days, it feels so empty. There are people around me, yet, I feel lonely.”

A drop of tear trickles down and she looks up to meet his eyes.

“Why can’t you just let go of things. Why do you have to cater your ego? Why can’t we just go back to being the friends we were?”

“Look-,” he starts to say.

“No,I’m not staying here to hear you push me away. It’s tough to live through everyday, knowing that the people you thought would be there with you forever, are no longer there! I miss you so much! Yet every time I pick up my phone to call you up, I’m afraid that you’d just push me away. I want to go back to the time where things were not so complicated!”

He places a hand on her shoulder, as if trying to calm her down, but it is not working.

“Think of the world we could build! With memories so beautiful! We could go back to being friends again! We could go back to the same old routine of meeting here for coffee everyday! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” her voice breaks.

Inside, his heart breaks into a million pieces on seeing her cry. He wants to hug her, console her and hold her till an eternity, but he knows that the scars will remain. That, things will never be the same between them as they were.

“We can still meet each other,” he says. “Look, here we are now. Everything will be fine again.”

She shakes her head and stands up.

“You don’t miss me. You don’t miss me like I do. And I know you are lying. You are lying when you say that everything will be fine again. For nothing will ever be,” she says and a moment later, she’s gone.

Through the misted glass, he watches her walk past hurrying people. A while later, she’s gone. Her shadow’s merged into the crowd.

He picks up the two cups, places them on his tray and stands up. For a second, he lingers there.

“I miss you too,” he finally says.

Only, she’s not around.

Somewhere, down the street, the girl stops and leaning against the metal lamp-post, slipping to the ground, she cries.

Somewhere, at the back of the coffee shop, against the rising vapours of the coffee mug, he sits and sighs.

Theirs could have been wonderful stories.

Stories that could have been..but never were.