She had been to the mall with Simi. Lazy Sunday afternoons, you know what they are like for a person like her. Simi had almost coaxed her to throw away the novel she had been trying to wind up for the past three months (thanks to her job!) and help her shopping for her (Simi’s) wedding.
Browsing through the bookshelves, reading the epilogues of books she had always wanted to have, she saw something. She saw someone. Someone who reminded her of what she had been like. It brought back her face, ten years younger than today. She realized that she had not been imagining it all, it really was him. The same man, tall and spectacled. Hair, slightly longer than normal that fell on his cheeks…that stoical indifference in his eyes. That inane shyness. Hardly anything had changed about him. The man she had desired at some point of time stood just two feet away.
She saw him coming her way, and hid behind, something…she hid because, being her true self, she had always wanted to keep certain things to herself. Some secrets are between just ‘me and me’ for her. So she would never let him know that she had come across him somewhere…and went unrecognized.
The passionate days of her youth had passed. Giving way to faint wrinkles that now showed on her face. Many of her haughty and cynical girlfriends had begun too look out for men who could equal their charisma. But she never grew up to that age actually. Age doesn’t matter for poets. She had stopped growing when she was eighteen.
She heard Simi shouting out to her for something, and afraid that he just might get to remember her name if she calls her yet again, (Simi had yelled loud enough already!) she joined her.
When she had been an early twenty something, or younger, whenever things as these happened, she craved for a listener, immediately, but now she didn’t. She wasn’t as excited as then. Thirties had taken their toll on her. Time passed slowly for her…now.
She tried to choose between the bad and the worse dress that the unusually short and stout Simi had chosen for herself. Amongst Simi’s numerous questions like “ How’s this Dini, How’s that? Will this make me look taller?” and the types…. our Dini wanted to believe that she hadn’t seen him. At all!
The wound had been uncovered. It was nothing like she loved him or anything. But the ‘rejection’ came back to her. Those nightmarish experiences of being sidelined by someone she had been awestruck by, had shattered her confidence, and made a thousand streams of tears flow… It had taken so much time to heal.
But then you learn things in life and move on, don’t you?
She thought of all this, before Simi asked her to get inside the car, they were leaving…and for the umpteenth time, she sighed, “I’m just alright!”