*It was snowing outside, but snow didn’t look like snow. It looked like something else. Something which was unlike snow. Something which was far more real, like white blood. Some white monster’s white blood drop, dripping from that monster’s white nose. Every white drop, thick blob of white marshy thing, it was not like snow at all.*
He thought of taking the train back home. He was tired and wanted to quit his job, life, hopes, almost everything. Before entering the train station he unstrapped his wristwatch and threw it in the gutter.
She waited for her lover for four hours, she thought her lover loved her as much as she did (but he never did). She kept on reading some short stories from a worn out paperback for four hours. After four hours, when she realized that her lover was never coming back, she headed for the train station. She thought she was crying but she wasn’t. She threw her paperback in the gutter.
He was thinking about something when he stood in front of the empty seat, something surreal, something with wings, perhaps he contemplated flying, but then he thought it was too cold to fly outside and he kept on standing in front of the empty seat.
She found some old newspaper clippings under her seat, she wanted some distraction, she started reading it, it was about a mastigophobic man, that man was so scared of getting punished that he never attended any school or college but, apparently, later in his life he became a great writer.
He thought he took the wrong train and waited for the train to reach the next station. He got off the moment the train doors opened and rushed to the nearest shiny bench, he suddenly felt very tired and he wanted to sit for sometime.
She didn’t want to go home, she thought she’d wait for some more time on the next station and then think about going back home. When the train doors opened she again thought about her lover (who never loved her) for few seconds and while looking at her ugly fingernails, she stepped out of the train.
He didn’t realize that this station was not brightly lit like any the other station, this one had a weird smell, smell of balloons. He was always scared of balloons, he couldn’t tolerate the loud noisy death of full-blown balloons.
She thought she saw a bird and kept on staring at the ceiling of the station. When her eyes couldn’t find the bird, she looked around for some place to sit. She thought of going back home on the next train and cry but then she looked for a place to sit on the platform.
He kept on staring at his shoes, his own dirty shoes, his shoes were always dirty, he didn’t much like clean & tidy shoes. He always looked at others shoes, not because he had some shoe-fetish, just because he thought that one should always start looking at someone from bottom to the top.
She saw a man sitting on a shiny bench, she didn’t want to sit next to him but there was no other place to sit. She went closer to the bench, stood there for some seconds then she sneezed.
He saw another pair of shoes, some woman’s shoes. They were not dirty like his but they were elegant, some may use the word classy for those shoes. Then he heard a hiccup kind of sound, which was a confused sneeze, a female’s peculiar sneeze. He looked up and saw a hair-covered face. The station was eerie, that face covered with jet black hair was also eerie.
She sat beside the man and waited for the next train. She was not thinking about anything now. She didn’t want to look at his face, eyes, nose, nothing. She was waiting for the next train to come and take her away.
He looked around and there was noone else on that dead-dark platform, not even housekeeping staff. He saw a train approaching the platform, he thought of getting up. Train arrived but it didn’t stop.
She looked at the train which just passed by, she got confused. Why that train didn’t stop?
*Five or six trains passed by, not a single one stopped. There was, seriously, something wrong with that dead-dark-gloomy-damp train station. Trains ignored that particular station like people ignore other people when they walk on side-streets May be that station was not a station at all.*
He asked the girl sitting next to him, if she knew what was happening. She kept on looking at her fingernails and shook her head like some history professor. He wanted to look into her eyes for some unknown reason. He thought her head-shake produced some music or some rhythm in the the dead still air of that desolate station.
She was not thinking about her lover now. She was thinking about a castle-cupcake which she had seen a few days back at some baker’s shop, cupcake shaped like a castle. She forgot about the trains not stopping by, she wanted to sit like that for the rest of her lover-less life.
He stood up and took five steps in the north-west direction, he didn’t know why he did that. From there he looked back and asked the girl if she could tell him the time. He saw her nodding and then she told him the time, she still didn’t look at him. He thought he just saw his life’s best nod, he had never seen that nodding-pattern, “yes there was a pattern”, he shouted in his head. He unconsciously smiled, the kind of smile which people give when they see something beautiful.
She nodded and squeaked the time to that random stranger whose face she didn’t want to see. She never liked her own voice, her lover never liked her voice, nobody ever liked to hear her voice. She heard a ‘thankyou’ after few seconds, she liked the sound of the ‘thankyou’ coming from that stranger, it had an extra emphasis in the initial ‘tha’ and it had a subtle thump in the middle though the sound dropped like a bomb at the end. She tried to imitate that ‘thankyou’ in her head and she wanted to smile but she didn’t.
He felt like scratching his head and whenever he scratched his head, small white flakes came off from his scalp, it was like an extra wax coating. He controlled his itch and looked back, this time he could see the girl’s face. She had the most grotesquely beautiful face he had ever seen, with puffy little bags under her deep black melancholic eyes and a small scar in the middle of her forehead.
She looked up and saw another shadow of the train swooshed by. She noticed a book lying next to her, some unknown poet’s poetry book, she knew it belonged to the same man who was standing five feet away from her. She thought of squeaking a ring of ‘helloww-excuse-me’ but she realized he was already looking at her face with maligned seriousness. She just moved her eye-pupils, a sharp left and then right. She got intimidated by his vulnerable eyes.
He looked at his book and came close to fetch it. He kept on looking at her indifferent face, not a single facial muscle moved. He again did his whimsical ‘thanks’, this time it echoed, his sound waves came back to his eardrums after touching the floor, ceiling, wall-clock, and shy cameras, who were following his every move. He thought of smelling her hair, they looked glossy, they looked unreal. He sat again. He wanted to say something to her, anything, he said – “you have a lovely nod”.
She didn’t know what to say to that, she just nodded and stood up. She took out her phone from her bag and started pressing buttons on it. She just wanted to avoid that freaky random stranger, he made her nervous. She started nodding, sharp precise calculated nods, mixed with pattern-breaking shakes, she always did this whenever she got nervous.
He felt a sting in his chest when he saw her incessant nods, he forgot about everything else. He compared her with those toys who have springs in their necks and only their necks moved uncontrollably. He wanted to stop her from doing that, it was gorgeous but it was dangerous. He opened her book and tore some random page from it and waited for something to happen.
She thought that her phone just buzzed, she realized that the random stranger was now standing right next to her. She didn’t look at him, she kept looking in the opposite direction. She felt a mild tap on her shoulder, it was that random stranger, he wanted to give her some paper. She looked at the paper, it had some words printed on it, a torn-out incomplete poem from that book. She didn’t want to look in his quaint eyes again, she read the paper.
thoughts were sparse
quotes of scars,
while longing for
to the sadness
to his crippled eloquence
he danced in a trance
and it was bizarre.
He saw her keeping the paper in her purse and in fractions of second a train stopped.
She stepped inside and looked at his face.
He knew that she knew that air, she was familiar with that air.
She kept on looking at him from the closed-glass door
He kept on looking at her from outside the door.
She leaned forward and pressed her lips on the glass of the window.
He also leaned forward and kissed her lips, with the glass-door in between.
Train gave a jerk and gave a hint of moving. They kept on looking at each other.
And that was that.