It was a day in the waning monsoon. Cloudy, but not quite. Every now and then, the sun peeked out of the black veil of the clouds, blushed, and hid behind the veil again…like a girl in love? Everything seemed melancholic.
He was out that day, going about the formalities for his admission in college. He wasn’t enjoying himself…the college admissions and other related stuff had taken up most of his time for the whole of last week, he hadn’t even got time for his passion-writing. He was not happy about it, and cursed the fact that there was no way out of this, this was going to keep him occupied for the better part of his life-things like college, family, chores…
Puffing at a Marlboro, he thought if he was running away from responsibility. The smoke had fogged up his thoughts, twisting and turning them, and presenting only the bright side to his conscience.
“No”, he thought, “I dont feel bound by anything, and I can run away if I want. But I am not. I dont think I am not responsible….” So his thoughts went, desultory at times, from responsibility to love, then to his friends, then the new college…and back again…like a newborn fawn enjoying its first prance in the world, unaware amd illiterate of fear or danger.
Then he saw her.
She was with her friends, smiling a smile that seemed to lighten up the world around her. He knew that smile, he couldn’t miss it in a crowd of a million.
Looking at her, the past rushed up on him, like sluice gates opening up on the dam over his nostalgia. He recalled their last meeting, when he asked her to get out of his life, these were the exact words, and looking at her now, he wondered how he could get himself to say it. She looked so cute.
His eyes followed her, his mind half wishing and half dreading that she would see him. She did not seem to be sad, and somehow he felt bad about it, although he never had consciously wished for her to be sad. He suddenly felt ashamed of himself for having such a thought.
When their eyes met, he saw her face freezing on its last expression for the minutest part of a second. Then it changed, and he thought (wished?) he saw a slight glimmer of sadness in her eyes. Then he saw her recollecting herself, glancing away, and smiling that smile at a friend, apparently on a joke.
She did not look at him again, and, at a signboard, turned out of sight, leaving him with a hurricane of thoughts ravaging in his head.
He was still looking at the signboard, when, “DAMN!”, he cursed, and threw away the cigarette butt which had burnt into his skin. Smiling, he once again glanced at the signboard, and, turning away, started filling up the forms and writing applications. He was happy, knowing he had found something to write about.
“I love my heart of stone.”