Think of Me
The bus breaks to a halt
then revs up again
a metal insect on rolling wheels
crawling through the narrow roads of the city.
devouring people, disgorging them.
She sits by the window at the back,
Her head tilts at the glass
her glazed eyes look at the lights,
the shops, the billboards and gleaming brown skins of men.
Coming at her and then falling behind
her ticket is rolled around her index finger like a bandage
damp air streams from the air conditioner
the aluminum tubes in the ceiling shine faintly.
She wants to close her eyes,
shut out the lights,
shut out the vibrations,
shut out the ticking time.
there are no comforts for now..
she smooths the whorls of her hair.
she looks down and caresses her hand with long slender fingers
lingering a second longer on the metal band on her wrist
bracing, for things to come.
The bus is stopping
it’s where she has to disembark
He is waiting. She knows.
She slips through the narrow space
and pads over the steel floor fastened with bolts
careful not to touch anyone.
a woman on the seat beside is staring
she quickly turns her eyes
she can’t hold any gaze
every eye is a laser gun searing a hole in her being
she hopes she doesn’t look too forlorn
not to him, she shouldn’t
but she is here and there is no time.
She climbs down the bus
a moment passes
and there he is.
in a blue pullover.
He has a soft face and an easy smile
dark hair that follow no pattern.
and eyes which light up when he gets excited
he waves a hand and beckons her.
She edges towards him.
‘You look lovely, Sylvia,’ he approves.
‘Do I ?’ she wants to ask.
he gently nudges her shoulder
as though she were a convalescing invalid needing directions
But that is him
his hand drifts to hers
his fingers tangle into hers as though that is where they belong
then they slide and curl around them.
She walks with him over the cemented curb
moments flee from her
a cool breeze envelopes her like arms
she turns to him.
‘Asit,’ she says softly.
His face is inscrutable, he says nothing.
So she waits, and they walk
her face downcast, staring vaguely at the gravel underfoot
her fingers locked in his
they veer to a street that leads to a block of houses
her house one among them
the street lights spill milky beams as the insects fly around
they head towards the park.
there is no one there
a cold metal bench lies in a jutted corner under the canopy of trees
she inches to it
she sits at an end, he sits at another
the glass windows of the houses shine,
like little squares of yellow lights.
‘Sylvy,’ he calls.
the name rings
‘Sylvy, will you be okay?’
a silence lingers and settles between them
then she realizes its her name
and a sound hasn’t escaped her lips
‘What?’ she says.
‘I asked you a question,’ his voice is gentle.
Tell me the answer too, please.
‘I am leaving tomorrow. You know that.’
she nods like a child.
he told her a week back.
he has to go..
to a city far where Sylvia can’t follow.
constraints, priorities and life.
well, love is in Sylvia
and Sylvia is in love.
His lips move mechanically
he is talking, explaining to her
one final time.
his practical plans.
his dreams that hereon diverge from hers
so she can understand.
Their faces are hidden in the shadows
and no one is looking
their eyes glint alone in the dark
she should fling her arms around his face, she thinks.
she should curl up in his arms
listen to his heart beats
like old times
kiss him good
take his face in her hands
trace the contours
before he goes
one last time.
But there is a chasm furrowed,
and there is no reaching.
‘I hope you would understand.’
‘I hope you would forgive me.’
he takes her hand and gives it a gentle squeeze
she looks into his eyes.
‘Do you want me to take you home?’ he asks.
‘Okay,’ he hesitates.
‘You should go,’ she says
he rises on his feet, still watching her
and then he leans and brushes a lock of hair on her face and tucks it behind her ears
his face is inches away from her
she can feel the warmth of his breath over her skin
his hand gently slides into her hair
and he kisses her on her forehead
she closes her eyes.
lights, vibrations and ticking time
all shut out
and then he pulls away.
‘Good Bye Sylvy.’
his hand grazes her cheek before it leaves
‘Think of me,’ something elementally sad in his voice quivered
he turns and leaves, pacing away, swiftly into lights.
and then into darkness.
Stars shine brightly in the sky
Sylvia is in the park on the bench
right where he left her, alone
think of me
an order to follow?
an option to choose?
think of me
a plea to be consented?
a gift? his final to her.
think of me
a memory of him for her to preserve?
a final service to his male ego ?
what a cruel thing to say, she thinks.
Think of you.
That is all I do, goddammit.