A series of love stories which were almost…
Days of silence between the two of us was washed out on that day when we talked for the first time, well, it was almost a talk.
‘Tick tock… tick tock…’ This was one of my favorite sounds in the office in those days. I am not talking about the clock, waiting to announce the end of day’s play for us all. I am talking about the sound made by her long flat heels when she walked around in the office.
Our office was otherwise very silent. The only sound that you could hear was of continuous keystrokes made by all the mechanical humans under the roof, trying to win an invisible race. And other sounds confined to the two and a half walls of respective cubicles. Neither the sound nor their feelings or wishes or dreams ever came out of the cubicles.
It all started as an annoyance for me. In the amazing peaceful silent office environment, all of a sudden, I heard a slowly increasing sound of someone’s heel thrashing the floor. There was a symmetry in the sound, it was almost musical. But it was a disturbance nevertheless to my attentive open-eyed sleep. So I got annoyed and looked above the walls of my cubicle, and things changed.
I saw her for the first time, though I had heard the sound of her heels several times before. My ears could make out the difference between other shoes and hers. Yet, I had never taken an effort to look at the person whom those shoes would carry. And that made all the difference in my office life. From the boring monotonous life inside my rat-hole (aka cubicle), things started to get interesting for me.
As my cubicle came on the way towards the rest and refreshment area, I could see everyone in the office at least once a day when they passed by me. And that was both a benefit and a distraction for me. And after getting to know about her, it became more of an addiction for me.
I used to hear the sound of those heels several times during the day. And out of those several times, many times she would be walking towards me. I would see her, peeking above the walls of my cubicle. From my otherwise slumped back posture, I would instantly sit straight and fix my table. Everything should be at its proper place…
This went on for several days, with awkward eye-contacts and look-aways, until that opportune moment when I actually had a chance to talk to her.
That day, I was coming back from the rest area myself and just at the time, she also came out from the door behind me. And we both were walking towards the door leading to the central walkway.
I don’t know what came to me, but I held the door out for her. She accepted my gesture gracefully, smiled and replied with a ‘thank you’. And my awkward response was inaudible even to my mind.
I went through after her and couldn’t stop staring at her hair dangling like a bell. After a few steps, she turned back and slowly looked around and then at me. She smiled again and walked away. I couldn’t be any more happier…
My friend saw all that and started teasing me for her. And I enjoyed myself for all that. But things don’t stay perfect for more than a moment, with me.
That evening and night went like I had conquered the world. I danced while walking, skipped steps, and would constantly hum some good tune. You could find me smiling without any reason. I wished with every broken piece of my heart that something would make out of this particular story.
A few days later, I couldn’t see her in the office. Probably she was late, probably she was on a leave, probably she was on a longer leave, probably she went to her hometown for a mini-vacation, probably on a longer vacation… My assurances to myself grew more and more unreasonable.
Soon I understood that she no longer worked at my location. Probably some other location or some other company, but I didn’t want to make assumptions any more. I knew I was never going to find out if there was some story at all in our little conversation.
There was a trend of wearing those heels at office, and whenever people would move past me with those heels, all the memories would bring back the pain in my heart with each tick-tock sound on the floor. But I was happy, at least it was almost a talk, unlike my other almost love stories…