By : Aarif Muzafar Rather
I waited there- staring at the moon. It looked brimming blue making the dullest of things in its way bright and lively. It made slow movements that I could never read. I stared. I waited.
I counted stars over my head, making myself believe what was happening by the other side of the park would soon be over. I counted. I waited.
And then she stood up defeating the crowd in her way. Through the clouded labyrinth I spotted the woman with long hair. I gazed at her red leather coat, fascinated at the squares stitched on it. She spotted me at times, throwing her gaze here and there. She cupped her face into her soft hands, making her hair fall down in distress. I could feel her convincing someone. I watched. I waited.
I turned to the riverside, evading the sight of people who were unknown to me. The street beside looked deserted and the walls of the shops were lit by cars passing by intermittently. I fixed my sight on the mundane surroundings as if listening to a fairy tale. I waited.
I was sure enough to persuade myself that I wanted her. The silence around my eyes only grew heavier in the thought of winning her against all the odds. There she was. The girl wearing the red leather coat. I watched her from a distance.
Jhelum Park? Why did she choose evening time to meet people? And why this place? I could not focus on things and my heart grew heavier in the thought of having a conversation with her.
Meanwhile, a car passed by the road playing a Jim Morrison song:
“On our moonlight drive, baby
The music went on playing:
“Come on, baby, gonna take a little ride
Down, down by the ocean side
Gonna get real close
Get real tight
Baby gonna drown tonight
Goin’ down, down, down.”
A departing metaphor-
“We all wait for people, wanting to make them understand us or make ourselves understand them, love us, cure us of all the ills. But alas…!,” I thought to myself.
I thought again, letting my desperation tumble:
That girl wearing the red leather coat. I want to dissolve myself into the pores of her skin, burn myself in the desire of my passion for her. Bath myself with the sweat of her body. Die in my love for her. Love her down. Deep down. Down to her bones. To the soul. Ashes to ashes.
I wandered. I wondered. I waited.
I could see her walk away behind the large tree situated right to the mosque. I lit a cigarette, dragging hard on it, counting every puff like a child counting stones in her kindergarten to remember numbers. I counted again. I waited.
From a distance, I could see the crowd diminish. She looked at me and I stood there, waiting, wanting to hear from her.
To my fantasy, she was a lifelong companion, a person who had been with me for ages. But alas…!
Now when she was finished with the people, I stood on my chair, wanting to hear from her. I gazed again, at the squares stitched on her red leather coat. She came closer and I got up breaking my silence. I muttered in a soft voice:
“Can I wait for you tomorrow again? Here at this place.”
She smiled, curled her hair with both the hands and walked away. I stood there waiting.
Pic and publishing link: Jajeer Talkies website.
Cover pic, Foot Bridge, Srinagar : ©Aarif Muzafar Rather