“I’ve to get out of here.” I mumbled to myself. After getting a week off from the office, it was time for some getaway. I needed a getaway.
I boarded the bus and sat near the window seat.. Staring out of the window, my best talent.
I started thinking about her. Dammit. These last weeks were stressful, echoes of the recent fights with my friend rang harshly in my head. I had too much on my mind. How is she? Why can’t I stop? What’s the matter with me? Why did I stumble? Why me?
I was oblivious to anything around me.
“Don’t think too much” a voice broke me from my thoughts. It was the old man beside me.
“You are thinking out loud son.”
“How does anyone think out loud?”
“Ohh.. What gave me away?”
“What are you? A mind reader? A face reader?”
“I’m experience personified.”
“So what’s her name?”
“You heard me?”
” As I said, experience personified.”
I let out a mild chuckle, ” Her name’s Shreya.”
“Sounds like a nice story”
“It’s a name not a story.”
“Every name has a story. And the ones which can make a man forget his name, are the unheard ones.“
“You are quite peculiar”
“Tell me something new”
He looked old, mid-forties, healthy and happy. This guy looked like a traveller instead of a tourist. The most amazing thing was his wordplay. I was immediately taken by his words and my sadness drew away.
“23 years? 23 fuckin years??” I was staring at him blankly.
“Yes! 23 years and still counting”
“What? You are still waiting!? What are you? Unfinished torrent??” The guy laughed hard at my remarks.
“I promised her, I would”
“23 years is a big deal”
“She was bigger. The only love. The only ‘Shreya’ ” he grinned.
I couldn’t imagine, I just met a guy who has wasted his time waiting for someone for 23 years.
“You doing it again.”
“Thinking out loud. It’s clear as the sky. You are bewildered by the astonishing fact. Yes there are men who actually keep their promises.”
“Sorry, What about her? Is she still waiting?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then why are you waiting? Move on. ”
The old guy sighed. He looked nostalgic. He removed his glasses and turned towards me.
” You can’t hold onto someone who doesn’t want you to. Sadly, it took time for me to figure it out.”
” How was she?”
” Neha, always chirpy, cheerful and amazing. She was the person I dreamt of. I wondered why I never got along with anyone else but the moment I saw her, I knew. This was the reason. She wasn’t the perfect house but somehow she was my home. A home to me. Someone who remained the same her whole life. She was beautiful, she still is. Always hungry. Her cute little nose was my favorite and her voice was my nirvana. She had the wonderful ability to make the hardest ones melt just with her voice. She sang horribly amazing. The best part, she sang for me. I wonder if I can explain her in words. Words seem too short.
On the contrary, I was the nerd ugly looking guy who was always daydreaming of her. I was the noob.
She could bring the apocalypse and get away with it just with her smile. She could stab me and I would die happily. But instead, she hugged me. I was the closest friend she ever had.
Yes, that’s where I started and ended. Neha. The person who is worth waiting for.”
” I wonder if she knew.”
” She did ”
“So what did she say?”
” I let it sink. Her eyes showed care but not love so I let the ship sink.”
” But the captain didn’t sink with it?”
” As I said, she was my home. I couldn’t leave my home.”
” What are you waiting for?”
” I don’t know”
“Wow, now that’s a very elaborate plan”
” Neha, remained. Eternally beautiful in here.” He pointed towards his heart.
” An old guy in love. Travelling the world with a happy grin just to escape his own heart. What a nice day”
” Son, Waiting for Shreya means you becoming me.” His gave a smug smile.
” It’s love”
” Love fuses the brain, freezes the heart and kills you with a rose.”
” But you look happy.”
” Hell yes, I am. I’m travelling and I can take my home wherever I go.” He opened his wallet and showed me her picture.
” Don’t you feel empty?”
“Aah.. kids.. feeling empty.. depressed.. alone.. Bunch of dummies. C’mon there’s lot in the life to lose. Shreya can be with you forever.. Make sure to let her see your smile. ” He showed me the picture and smiled to her. “She always wanted me to smile. That’s the reason she made these funny faces. I just fell harder, on each stuffed cheek..” He chuckled.
I watched him smile and felt lighter. I chuckled and spent the journey with my new friend. Although he got off before me, his smile stayed.
“Okay.” The old man sighed. It’s been a long journey. Hope the wait is over.