My Friend, Loneliness

An essay on my friend, loneliness, who cares for me enough that it agrees to lets me go, and whom I love enough to not accept to let go.

… …

Our favorite topic for essay writing as a child used to be ‘My Best Friend’. No other topic used to appeal us that much as this particular topic, as we could just write what we felt instead of searching for words. We used to write all the things we could remember about that one person, nonetheless that might be a very few things to remember at that time.

As a child, I did not have that privilege of having a best friend. Whenever such a topic was tossed at me, I used to choose other options instead. And the word barely made any sense to me. Even now, I do not understand the superlative degree assigned to it. ‘Best’ means better than ‘better’, and even better than ‘good’. Superlative degree implies that it tends to stay highest in the category. But then superlative also means ‘exaggeration’, which made me wonder – is ‘Best friend’ an overinflated relation in our life?

Anyway, leaving the language disarray aside, in my childhood, I used to write this essay on my friend, Loneliness.

Loneliness has been the only constant thing in my life since childhood. It has been there with me in good times and in bad times. It tried to sneak away from the back door once or twice, allowing someone to swoop in into my life. But somehow in the end, things always led us to be together. And to be honest, I liked being with it.

Unlike my endeavors with other ‘Best friends’, our relationship has stayed intact after having sailed through the tough times that any relationship passes through. It allowed me to reorganize my life after the mayhem the storm left. It stayed, holding hands with me, when I needed it the most.

Apart from the mutual feeling of belongingness for each other, we shared a lot of common things – me and loneliness. It had two faces – one where it spread gloom and dismay wherever it went, and the other where it spread the light of hope and jump-started the brain to work towards betterment. I had similar bipolar symptoms. I used to be utmost boring at times, converting even the most happening event an excuse of melancholy And at times, the spark in me could light up a dull and regretful talk into a happening, fun ride.

We were great together. And I had always found peace while being with it. But recently, I thing something has jinxed our relationship. The sparking part of our relationship has dried out and we spend most of our time in quiet. Something’s not right about it, something’s missing – it keeps on saying to me. It keeps on looking outside the window, waiting for something to happen. And I wonder what wrong did I do to it, what mistake did I make, how did I hurt it, that even the loneliness is seeking to leave me!

I asked it what could I do to make it feel better, to bring back the spark between us, just like the good-old-times. But it doesn’t answer my question. It never did. It has always been like that, keeping to itself, peaceful. But somehow, things had always worked out between us. We both used to communicate despite our persistent silence. But now, I speak and I wish it spoke back to me. I wish it would tell me the reason before the final moment of dismay.

As this is how it has always been. This is how my life always turns up after a long story, not a happy ending. And I have always marked it as a beginning of another chapter instead of an end of the story. But without my best friend, without loneliness, and without anyone else being there for my support, I wonder how things will turn out…

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The Bird – Missing Someone

A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.

After leaving the house of his parents, the bird had set foot in the world of opportunities, which could both help him fly high or dump him right on the ground. While juggling his world with arranging his new nest and the new life, the bird feels the need of a companion, for the first time.

… …

Previous posts under this series:

The Bird – Finding a Nest

He had just returned from his morning flight. He loved flying over the town in the morning, just when the first ray of light touched the highest trees on the ground. All other birds would wake up after the sun was up enough to splash its sunlight on the ground. By that time, he used to make his trip.

He felt something he couldn’t explain in words, when the morning cold breeze and the new-born sunlight used to touch his feathers. He would just close his eyes, spread his wings fully apart and just go with the wind. And when he reached the end of his town, he would open his eyes and see the naked beauty of the sun, no buildings or man-made aesthetics to blur its beauty.

He cleaned his nest with a flap of his huge wings and settled back the twigs for the next night. Soon it will be time for going for the morning ritual – food, work, food, work and food, before it would be time for taking rest again. He watched other birds in the nearby nests. They had started to wake up.

He loved watching them wake up. It was half the reason for his early rise from his sleep. The birds around his nest used to wake each other up. Those staying alone used to show off their place and strength, in order to attract females and keep other males at bay. While some notorious ones used to invade other’s privacy by flying into other’s marked spaces. And it was just seconds that a fight would start between the owner and the encroacher.

But he didn’t like watching all that. He enjoyed watching the couples wake-up. It was an amazing sight, funny sometimes, and adorable too. One of them would wake-up and slowly caress, gently stroke the other’s head with its beak. The other would slowly open its eyes and the first thing it will see in the morning would be the his love in the eyes of its loved one. And then they would entwine themselves in the rickety ride of beak-lock, entangling their beaks and pushing each other up and down.

Gross! It used to be his first reaction to such acts of other birds. Rumbling inside other’s beak without the morning gargle! But then he felt something else too watching them. His heart used to slow down watching the scene. And a strange crunch would start out of nowhere in his stomach. Probably, he missed all this in his life.

During the day, he would think about how his life would be like if he also had a companion in his life. His early months after he left the house of his parents were hard. And he felt this dire need of being with someone. But he always pushed away those feelings thinking that he had to make his life first, and this was only temporary reaction of his mind upon leaving his parents. But then, those thoughts never stopped after more than a year from that time now.

He had met several people on his way to this town, before he finally settled at his current space in the corner of the balcony of an abandoned man-house. But none of them made him feel weak at heart. None of them were compatible to him. And he moved on easily from all the occasional beak-locks and making out times with some, he didn’t care enough to remember. But he was waiting for someone whom he would never let go. And that made him feel incomplete everyday.

In the evening, when he would return from his long flight of searching for food, having fought several fights with some annoying birds on the way, and finding his purpose of life, living his dreams, he would see the sunset, alone. He would sit on the chimney of the house, and watch the sun burn the last rays of light. He would extend his wings to touch the light as it would slowly rise towards the sky, leaving the ground to embrace the darkness and wait for another day, another morning when they will meet again. Although the sunset is always beautiful, he would feel low at heart having to watch it without someone by his side.

At night, he would arrange his extra twigs to form a structure of another bird, a portion around his side, and would close his eyes, letting his feathers feel the touch of another warm being, imaginary companion by his side. It was the only time during the day, other than the morning escapes, when he would actually smile without a reason…

After-all, the truth was harsh and he knew it. Life wasn’t all generous all the time. He understood he had to accept how things were in his case. Due to his nature, no one was ever gonna be with him forever. He wouldn’t let that happen…

Catching the Butterfly

An epilogue on my encounter with a butterfly, symbolizing a lost opportunity, or a deemed opportunity, may be a false perception… Taking a permanent place in my dreams.

The water molecules were colliding with each other. The electricity in the clouds charged up the molecules and after continuous colliding, a drop of water was formed from all the vapour collected in the clouds. That drop was carried in the clouds in the form of semi-liquid vapour and when the clouds could no longer hold on to the water drop, and the wind couldn’t carry the clouds further, the drop bade goodbye to the clouds and left out on a long journey to meet its mother earth…

On the earth, there was a creature resting on a flower-bed. It woke up and flapped its wings up and down to welcome the beautiful morning. The creature was a beautiful butterfly…

Just when the butterfly got up from its flower-bed, the drop that was falling from the sky fell on its wings with a splash and few tiny drops from the whole drop flew on to the butterfly and watered its face. The butterfly turned its face away from it in surprise and then smiled at the nature’s Good Morning Wish…

The butterfly got up and took a high flight in the sky. It felt the sky, the wind, the sun and the environment. It was so fresh and overwhelmingly beautiful. As the butterfly cherished the nature’s gifts in its way, other creatures on earth enjoyed watching the butterfly! One among those creature was a me…

I was watching the butterfly so keenly that I forgot all my time and commitments. It flew just by me not even noticing me, may be noticing but not making any difference… It was all lost in its own world! It was enjoying the nature and the environment; frequently stopping by other places that it might have been attracted to. I was jealous…

I tried to move closure to it. I wanted to see it closely. I wanted to hold it in my hands, not to trap but to show it my affection. I tried several times, but my efforts were wasted. As it didn’t trust me and found me just like other humans who wanted nothing but to trap it and put it in a box. It couldn’t see my feelings so it just started flying away from me.

I sensed that it was no use trying too much towards the butterfly, because I knew that it was way far my reach. But still, my heart thumped for its beauty, I could never stop admiring it. In a way, it won’t see me gazing at it…

After some time, as I had gone into a complete motion-less posture, it came close to me… May be it didn’t see me or may be it wanted to play with me more and taunt me that it was not within my reach… Or may be it felt my emotions and was considering befriending me… ‘May be’s were many. But I ignored all my instincts and gave it its space. Not to mention that my eyes always found ways to take little glimpses of that beautiful creation of nature and give an image to my retina with an instruction to make a permanent portrait of it in my mind…

The beauty of its wings and the amazing contouring design swept me from my feet. I had seen nothing like this in my whole life. The shape it had and the patterns on its wings, its big black eyes and those two hairy antennas – were all so amazingly stunning!  I again started to try running behind it. But soon as I tried, it swiftly and elegantly went far from me.

I sat down in disappointment. I consoled myself that it was just a butterfly. And I would see many such butterflies in my life…

At night, I closed my eyes, thinking may be get some sleep tonight. As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw vivid colors forming different patterns and different designs, all a stunning blend of colors and shapes turning into its face, its body, its way of flying, and everything about it.

The color patterns that were forming due to a sudden change in light in the room, were a delight for my eyes. I enjoyed making them, watching them. It continued for a while then slowly the saturation started dropping. The colors were now blurred and less bright from how they had started to be. Then slowly the darkness overpowered them…

As the darkness grew over the colors, the patterns formed a ‘B’ like shape and just them the ‘B’ shape cloned itself into a reverse ‘B’ shape. Both the ‘B’ shapes merged and formed a big oval-like shape, filled with beautiful color patterns. A thin line, cutting the oval in equal half, started to grow bigger and the two sides of the ovals started moving in a carousel way…

All of the Phosphenes and Entoptic Hallucinations that I was seeing were nothing but the beautiful structure of the butterfly! I dared not to open my eyes and face the darkness surrounding me…

I hope that some day, the butterfly will come stay with me. I wish to see that butterfly, forever, by my side! (I went to sleep with that wish, as that’s the only place my wishes come true…)

Temporary Happiness

Life is a journey with many destinations. Some destinations make us happy while others don’t. And there’s always a cycle of happy and sad destinations. It is for us to decide where to stay a little longer. But one thing is for sure, we will have to leave every destination in some time.

Then why does the time happiness stays in our life look very small compared to the time sadness creeps in?

… …

On a particular morning, I woke up filled with boredom, resistance to wake-up and live another day of nothingness at office, and self-loath for this melancholic feeling. Then I decided to get ready a little quickly and go for a ride. With the turning off of the engine, the silence marks way for the sadness to crawl in again.

A long, lone, silent drive lifted up my spirit and I was willing again to fight the day, no matter how hard it might become.

Another morning, I woke up with similar somber tone of my mind. The tedium was like spikes growing up on insides of my mind, hurting every time I thought. I decided to cover it with freshness through watching some episodes of Friends, any random season. That series always lifted up my spirit, helped me turn happy, momentarily. Pressing the button to switch off the TV also turns open the door for sadness to come in, almost instantly.

Similar series of events happen just another night when I returned from a long boring day at home. I was unable to sleep as that meant waking up again the next morning and going over all of this again. But then I had to sleep, eventually. To make it more promising, I thought of listening to my favorite playlist. That always turned on the ‘happy switch’ in me. I slept peacefully, for almost few minutes of that night.

So then I thought about it, ‘bout happiness. It feels that happiness is momentary, temporary. It is fugitive, fleeting right out of us when we least expect it to. All the reasons for us to be happy, be them small or big enough to throw a party, they eventually turn sore and we tend to get sad again.

Sadness on the other hand is steady, unwavering. It has to come, it will come and we know it. It doesn’t scatter away due to a few moments of happiness, it stays – calm, patient, waiting – for happiness to pass, and then showing it’s slimy face again. We feel more sad after feeling a happiness, as now we miss it even more.

Sadness knows it that happiness makes us envy sadness more. And it takes all the gain our of happiness in our life by getting stronger and bolder.

Happiness is a kid. It doesn’t understand the schemes of sadness. It falls prey to the plots of trickery by sadness. It doesn’t keep relation with different lots of it and thus is weaker compared to sadness. It is able to drive away sadness almost instantly, but it is not able to mark a permanent place in our mind like that of sadness.

And whether we like it or not, happiness doesn’t care. It is too happy to think about sadness that follows happiness.

We, on the other hand, care. We think about it, sometimes too much, this post might be evident of it. We let sadness get stronger by thinking about it even in the moments of happiness. This we should avoid, debar strongly.

Although we know that sadness is going to come, now or in some time, we must not spoil our moments of happiness with it. When we are happy, we should only be happy and ignore the sadness just the way happiness does it.

But what can we do about the temporary nature of happiness? Can we do something about the sadness that always shows up like a rainbow after a rain? Can we do something to not let it in our lives once the happiness quotient drains out? Can we fight against it with the memories of happiness that we stash up in discreet corners of our mind? Can we make the temporary happiness to last a little longer, if not make it permanent?

Why does it feel like the sand in the hourglass runs faster on one side compared to the other upside down side…?

Sorry.. Who are you?!

Who are all those people who come rushing and buzzing towards us when we find some happiness in our life, like a honeybee attracted to the fresh flower pollen…?!

… …

There was smile spread across my face, and was probably gonna stretch out of the boundaries of my cheeks. But I didn’t care. I was happy and that was all it. I strode, and strutted, almost hopped and skipped. When I entered and got a glimpse of my new car shinning in the morning sunlight, I stood there admiring its shapes and curves – the only shapes and curves that I admire after you know who’s.

“Ah! You brought a new car…! But you brought it so plain!”

I turned around and found a person from my neighborhood, I didn’t know his name or nothing for that sake. My expressions probably said a big, confused “What?”, so he repeated.

“You brought your car in a very plain, vanilla fashion.”

This time I said out-loud “What?”

“You bought a new car, but brought it in a very non-festive style. No observance, no fete, parade…”

Okay he didn’t use these many synonyms, he just repeated his earlier sentence again, but this time I understood him. By plain he meant that I brought a new car home without “sharing my happiness with others”.

So whenever we find a new happiness in our lives, people of this species pop-up out of nowhere and stand before us. Eyes popped-out of their sockets, weary, like a zombie, looking directly at us; their twisted hands, with bones tearing out of their sordid skin, extended towards us, not in attack, but in anticipation, which is almost similar to an attack; their body bent towards us, not in respect, but as their spines have corroded in expecting things from everyone. They come to us dragging their feet, brushing the dirt on the ground, with their saliva-leaking mouth open, trying to say something while spilling all their gluttony for parties all over us, which will emulsify a stink on to your body and soul…

They are like leeches who feed on people’s happiness.

You can’t run away from them. They will hunt you down even with their perverted legs. You have to face them and choose either to be good or bad, in their ever-judging eyes. You choose to be bad, they will not rest till they are able to spread various kinds of rumors about you everywhere. Some of them might even manoeuvre an evil ambush upon your pride possessions or your newly achieved happiness. You choose to be good, they will disappear almost instantly, if you’re lucky.

Some of them are so hard-skinned, they might even keep sucking out of us even after we have been good to them. They will come with questions, inquiries and desires, more expectations, which will take the toll out of you.

It is said that sharing happiness increases it exponentially. But that doesn’t mean we go sharing our happiness with everyone in this world. That’s just a poor implementation of a good thought.

Our immediate family and friends and others, whom we love and like to be around are the people we want our happiness to be shared. We can also share our happiness with people who have silently helped us in various ways. If we want to share our happiness in monetary or material form, we should choose people wisely. And if you aren’t sure about it, share it with people who don’t expect from you this sharing, but will be more than just happy if you share it with them. They will actually wish good luck for you, unlike those other species of parasites who will almost instantly disappear once they have reaped the benefits out of you.

He came close enough to me, I almost got scared of him attached his suckers upon me, I backed off.

“Let’s see. We will do some celebration once my parents, my friends come visit me. (And I am definitely not calling you in that!” I snubbed his aghast expressions and moved on to leaving from there. He started giving out his precious advises as to how I can park my car and other details, which I half- no- fully unheard.

Why should I share it with my neighborhood, colleagues or those so-called friends, who don’t care a dime about me? Unless you are gonna help me pay the EMI or clean my car every weekend, why should I give a party to you? My dealers terms didn’t mention anything about you earning a right to free food and drinks upon my car purchase…

While moving out, a kid in his skates went past me looking at my car and then shouted “Nice car, uncle.”

I smiled and yelled thanks. Then I re-heard his statement, noted the “uncle” in it, and frowned. Moving on to the gate, I saw the security old guy who keeps a watch at our possessions. I celebrated with him about my new car and he beamed of happiness, giving his blessings out to me. Yes, they were some people I could share my happiness with, not that scrounger!

To him, I should’ve just said “Sorry.. Who are you?!”

Chronicles of a 25 something Man

An essay on the life of a 25+ boy, who juggles through his changing life between almost similar choices, taking tough decisions, living up to weird and new expectations thrust onto him and trading his dreams for buying time for other things…

… …

He is sitting in his big office chamber. There are clients waiting outside for just 5 minutes of meeting with him, for which he would charge them ample sum of money, while they are willing to pay that as his advice really makes them a great deal. He has found his love of life and is happily married to her. It was life-changing for him to marry her, yet she somehow manages to keep his life as casual and fun-filled as it was before their marriage. Surely, they are great together. His parents are proud of him of achieving so much and settling down happily in his life. They are currently on a world tour, which he gifted them as a surprise for their Silver Jubilee together. He is planning yet another trip to a new country, planning to expand his services beyond borders. But right now, he has to give an inspiring speech to young minds over the web. Surely he loves to pass on his wisdom to young and aspiring students. He couldn’t ask for anything more from God, as he loves his life and his job and his family. A Pigeon comes flying from the balcony and hits hard on his glass window, breaking a crack on it…

He wakes up to find a pigeon making mess in his balcony. He lazily lifts up his leg and falls it hard on the bed again, making a huge thud sound that scares away the bird. He knows it is dawn, and that he should wake up and run the race, but he prefers to dream that dream, so he goes back to sleep. Just when he could recreate that scene again in his mind, the door bell rings. The maid’s here.

He walks to the door, opens it and pays not even a fraction of time to look who’s standing at the door. He comes back, dragging his feet back to his bed. And looks at the wall against his bed for all the time the maid cleans the house. When it is time for the maid to go, he gets up and quality-checks the whole house to find flaws, if any, in maid’s work.

As soon as the maid leaves, his daily routine starts… While brushing his teeth, he thinks of all the decisions he has to make, of all the pending tasks on his plate and of all the big habits that he has to adhere to. It gets more than mouthful, and he has to spit them all out. Both lather and tasks.

While bathing, he thinks about changing his current consuming and growth-free job and choosing something else. But he’s unable to decide onto a particular “something else” on which he can focus. The whole time while bathing, his mind is occupied with various career options available to him and also considers an option to study further, which opens up some more career options…

It’s Friday, but that doesn’t lift up his spirit like it used to a few years back; as he could wear his favorite t-shirts and jeans. Now, formals felt him safer as he had to choose from only a few (one or two) washed and ironed pair of clothes from the wardrobe, or just grab something he had worn earlier and spray it with an ounce of deo. Looking good is no longer his priority, as it doesn’t make him feel good about himself, not any longer.

He goes to the mirror and looks at his messed up hair. If it was a few years back, he would have spent a few minutes, or may be more than a few, to make his hair kempt. But he no longer had anyone to look good for, neither he have that much time now. He had start working on his task list he had prepared in the morning.

He has to choose from several totally similar looking investment opportunities to earn a better returns on his savings. He has to choose between buying a new house or postponing that idea to future. He has to take decisions about his life… big decisions, that required quite an introspection to find out what he wants from his life – something he was no longer sure since a few years now.

He gets a series of notifications from his father. They are all about prospective life partners for him. His father is hasty about getting him married, and he isn’t sure about that manner of marrige. He had always thought he would eventually know whom from his known circle he wants to marry. Choosing from a bunch of strangers haunts him, let alone his disbelief in the concept of marriage. But he has to check those profile anyway, he’s getting older and has no serious friends, no relationship prospects and no life, for that sake. He is already late, like everyday, for his 9 to 7 desk job.

He starts his bike and it gives out a groaning cry, asking for relief from its services. It has been 10 years now. He thinks about buying another bike for him, or a car as his family wants (to show to others and prospective bride’s family, and of course, for his comfort too). Another choice, which invites several series of choices, one after other. He has several brochures and options bookmarked in his wishlist. But choosing one is a task he’s been working on since several months now.

It isn’t easy to drive while your mind is pre-occupied with several things at once and you’re not concentrated on the road. But he has driven on this road for so many years now, that he knows the potholes and even other fellow drivers on the road and makes his way smoothly even without looking around on the road. More so as he couldn’t care much about meeting with an accident. He needed a break anyway, from everything.

He reaches the office and shuffles through his backpack to find that darn ID to prove his belongingness to that building, even when those walls knew him in and out. His bag had never been this messed up before, but now, he didn’t care. He had bigger things to work out in his life. Bigger mess to clean…

His phone started ringing and he woke up from his daydreaming at his desk. It was time for another meeting. He got up and rushed towards the conference room, without anything in his hands, or even mind. He had many years’ worth of experience for those meetings, they yielded nothing. All the while in the meeting, he thought about why he couldn’t remember anything from the point he was searching for ID downstairs at the gate and to the time he was daydreaming at his desk. That was 3 hours worth of time, memory, lost.

He shuffled through different notifications on his phone while sipping that sugerless coffee. There were several overdue reminders, cleaning the cupboard, a blog idea, buying the kindle in the next sale, checking out a website for new ideas… Some of them were overdue for weeks now. He crossed out the reminder about working on a new product for his start-up. No, he hadn’t completed that. He crossed it out as that product was already launched by someone else and ran successfully in the market.

He fixed that last spreadsheet for the day and sent it to his manager, replied to another list of queries from client that made no sense at all, filled up a survey about employee satisfaction conducted by the company in which he chose mostly random options as the options like ‘not aware about it’, ‘do not like it’, ‘dissatisfied’, ‘no career helps available’, or option to write your own answer to a yes/no question weren’t t available to those set of questions.

It was weekend the next day. That was supposed to cheer him up, but he was working on Saturday. Anyway, it didn’t matter as if he had not been working, he still wouldn’t have had any plans anyway. He hardly had people he could call friend, or to better put it, he hardly befriended anyone and gave them opportunity to get closer to him and his life. Sunday went without any smile on his face and he completed a few of the tasks from his long to-do list. But that added several other new to-dos in his list…

Sunset was always beautiful to him. That would give him ideas for his blog. And night was the best time to let his creativity out. And by the time he would wake up, he would have created a masterpiece of a story or a discussion or just an observation narrative. But this time, sunset reminded him of another choice he had to make today – dinner options. He stayed alone and had to eat outside everyday, alone. He skipped the decision and assumed he wasn’t hungry. The real reason was he was just bored of eating the same things everyday without any company. That night he slept bad, empty stomach does feel bad, but he knew that already.

While watching the fan above his head, he thought of a few lines and a poem formed on its own in his mind. He immediately got up and started scribbling it on the piece of paper he kept besides his bed. The start was good, but in the middle, he got lost of his idea and the words that had earlier popped up on their own. And by the time he reached its end, he had already creased up the paper to throw it in the garbage can. His mind hardly supported him nowadays.

He started thinking about the pros and cons of various choices that were available for some big decisions he had to take. The thinking continued for a long time, making an elaborate and detailed list of pros and cons, but not giving out a winner… Soon exhaustion took over him and he was lost again in his dreams, probably the only place he loves being at, but can’t. He has a life to live…

That Hide & Seek Game

Remembering that hide n seek game and those series of emotions that flowed in the hidden light of the night’s darkness.

… …

We were running frantically towards the end of the street. We had 30 more counts before he would open his eyes and would see us running, holding hands…

My heart was pounding, not just because we were running out of our breaths, but because we were running together. Without any prior planning, we both had simply looked at each other and at that second had decided that we were gonna hide together in this game.

She was holding my hand so tightly, almost pulling me along with her. Probably her excitement was more than mine, or probably her fear. She didn’t look back, towards her brother, who was counting with his eyes closed up against the tree. She was a rebel, and that day she showed it.

The count was almost complete. All of our other friends had already chosen their hiding place and were almost invisible unless, ofcourse you knew already their usual hiding place. We knew where everyone used to hide, quite easy to mark an area where each one of them used to hide. We were running towards a new area altogether.

He announced his hunt beginning with a roar, declaring that soon he’s gonna catch all of us.

I smiled. “Not us, not today.”

We took a sharp left at the end of the street and then a right and disappeared in the maze of turns, till when we reached a deserted neighborhood leading to a dead-end.

We looked for a place where we could hide, from everyone. There was an old van, rusting at the end of the street. It was dark, and probably this part of the neighborhood had no residents. Not even stray animals could be seen. Was it luck or something fishy; Mr. Fate’s prior warning before he hits hard, I thought.

We went behind the van. It was parked right ahead of a street parkbench, such that the bench was not visible in any way unless you move around the car all the way to its back.

We went and hid behind the bench. We felt like tiny people as we could easily be hidden behind the bench from head to toe.

She finally let go of my hands. Holding hands… So pure, simple, emotional, and sweaty… Uncomfortable.

I sat there rubbing my hands on my jeans, slowly wiping off the sweat of it. Just then, she grabbed my shirt and pulled it so hard that I was pulled along with it. She asked in an anxious tone “They won’t be able find us here, will they?”

I was about to shrug when she herself said “No they won’t. This is the perfect place.”

I continued staring at her. She was beautiful beyond my ability to describe her beauty. So I won’t. But yes, she was way beyond my league.

We sat there talking about various possibilities, fantasies about what could happen if they catch us here. She was not willing to become the seeker, no matter what. Almost all of her plans had me showing myself up and then taking the seeker with me, keeping her safe. So much for the game, I thought. But in the end, she will again say “Nah! I won’t let you go…”

Time passed, rather quickly than I thought (read ‘than I wanted’). She occasionally touched my hands, and I rather skillfully took my hands away. Hey! Don’t judge me! It was summer and I hated sweat. I’d rather prefer something equally emotional and direct, not involving sweat.

I think she sensed it too, as her lips had tightened and she was looking at me without blinking, from my eyes to my neck, and back. Her neck was tilted and I could almost hear her heart beats, which were risen way up above normal excitement level.

There was mumbling sound nearby and then a ruckus, and our whole gang, one after other, appeared out of nowhere in the street that we were hiding in. They were laughing at the seeker, who had been trying to find them since last half hour, but had no luck in doing that. (It was half an hour already?!!)

I saw them coming towards us, scanning and analyzing the street for some good hiding place, and then I saw her pale and disappointed face. She was looking at me, her expressions were hard to describe. But they said “Damn!”

I gave her the ‘its fine’ expression and she nodded.

We had not disclosed anything to each other yet about our desires or intentions or imaginations, but I think they would have been same for both of us. We couldn’t do what we wanted to do that day, but being 10 year old toddlers, we hardly cared. We soon blended with out friends and forgot the whole episode.

Now I don’t even remember what was it that we wanted to do that time, but it doesn’t matter. After all, what could possibly be in an innocent 10 year olds mind!?