It was a beautiful morning. Clear and Calm, Birds chirping as far as the ears could hear. Footsteps on the dry leaves that were scattered on the footpaths. It felt magical, that morning, it was a beautiful December sunrise, school was out and yet I woke up so early. I slipped into a pair of shorts, grabbed my camera and went out for a walk. Everything came to me as pictures and I went mad clicking all that came before me. I wandered into a park and started clicking flowers and insects. I was ecstatic. I turned around and saw a girl sitting on one of the park benches with a book in hand, the sun shining straight into her face. I focused at her and clicked the shutter.
She heard the shutter and looked at me. I looked at her face closely. There were tears in her eyes. I got scared; I sat down beside her and asked “Are you okay?”
“Did you take my picture?” she asked again.
“I did.” I replied “But I can delete it if you want to.”
“That would be nice” she said and turned her head away.
I kept looking at her face. Her tears were still fresh and I decided to ask again. “Are you sure you’re ok?”
“Yeah I’m fine. I’m just waiting for someone.”
“Will they make you happy?”
She looked at me with vacant eyes this time. It seemed like those pretty blue eyes had seen a lot of pain. “I guess.” She said.
“What was the last thing they did for you to make you smile?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember. I’m forgetful.” She said. “Look I don’t even know you.”
“Well what do you want to know?” I asked.
“You could be anyone.” She said.
“Exactly.” I said “I could be anyone; I might just change your life.”
Then came a few moments of awkward silence as she looked away from me, tears still in her eyes.
“Look I’m not perverted or anything.” I spoke up.
“That’s……….. good to know.”
“I like to see beauty in the world. I like animals and nature. I like books too.” I said snatching the book that rested on her lap. It was ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini. “In fact I have read this one.” And handed back the book to her.
She kept staring at me as I continued speaking. “I feel nostalgic sometimes. My favourite pair of shoes is falling apart.” I said pointing to my feet. “Makes me remember all those wonderful treks and camping trips that we went on together.”
I walked around behind the bench. “My Mom used to say to me, Son; you can tell when you’re having a bad day because your shoes have an argument. I guess I stomp when I’m angry.”
She laughed a bit and turned around to face me. A smile on her lips. Our eyes met for the first time. She kept looking at me for a while and turned away shyly. “Why are you telling me this?” She asked.
“I guess this way we can get through the awkward getting to know each other things. Where we lie to make each other happy and to impress each other. To get to the stage where we are comfortable with each other. The good stage. Sitting in perfect silence but loving every moment of it. Getting through the bad stages like bad dancing and your forgetfulness. I mean, how can you forget my birthday?” I said.
“But you never told me your Birthday?” She asked surprised.
“It’s 15th of September, don’t you forget now.”
I sat down beside her once again. “ Listen……” I said and paused.
“Zarah” she said.
“Yes! What’s the difference between me telling you these things in person or you reading about me some day on facebook?”
“I actually don’t use Facebook.” Said Zarah.
“Really? I like that about you.” I replied.
“You shouldn’t say that.” She said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“It’s… It’s just weird.” She said.
“Why? Since I said I like you without knowing you long enough?” I spoke. “We could meet every day for the next 20 years and still my answer won’t change.”
“I think you should leave.” She said.
“So this is the painful part. Where I have to walk off with a single question in my mind that would stay there for a long long time? What if I stayed?” I said.
“You’re crazy” She said.
“You’re gorgeous.” I replied.
“Honestly. Are you on drugs?”
“No. I like your concentration. You were so engrossed in that book that it made you cry. You have feelings. You’re not like most of the teenage girls who are getting drunk or getting laid. You’re real. You exist.”
I saw her fidgeting with her hands. Getting even more fidgety as I continued. “You’re sitting in the park reading a book, not caring about anything else, not giving a damn about the world. And I really love that. In a shallow sense, I like your hair, I like how the sun is dancing on your face and I love how you’re blushing as I say this.”
“Stop.” She said and turned away again. “You literally know nothing about me.”
“I know that you might change my life.” I said and stood up. Turning my back to her. Hands in my pocket and staring at the sun.
“What’s so bad about your life?” She asked. I didn’t reply. She picked up my camera and started looking at the pictures.
“Not bad” She said. “Some… Some of these are very beautiful.”
“They are beautiful because of what’s in them. I just merely took the chance of showing them to the world. They are the actors, I’m just the stage.” She took the camera strap and put it around my neck. I reached out and took her hands in mine. A smile played on her lips. It had happened and I had no clue.