A Short Story
I stormed out of the office, angry and irritated. I worked in a stressful job but everybody else did too. The reason I was out of the office because I couldn’t take it. How could he? How could my boss ask me to put more when I was already doing my best? It was appraisal time and he was determined to screw my ratings. I was burning with anger. The whole year work ignored for some minor setbacks.
What needed was perfection and what I got was near perfection. I really did not understand who I was angry with? Was it my boss or was it me for letting him find faults in me. Had I really slipped from the efficiency chart?
I walked to the bus stop. My mind played different games. I was the one who was wronged here. Grave injustice was done to me. Atleast my mind made me think that. I was walking but my mind was devising ways to get back to him.
“I will show him what I am” I said to myself. Ego? Vanity?
I reached the bus stop. It was already late. Mostly sane people were at home with their family. As for me, I am not sane and here I was, late evening on the bus stop, angry. There were quite a few people at the stop. Mostly the regulars, mostly the insanes who did not have anyone to go home to.
She was standing there in that small crowd. She, the one that made my going home late worthwhile. I could not believe that she was one of the insane. She must have someone to go home to. She must be having the evening shift. That’s the only logical conclusion I could see. I had thought of it when I first saw her. Now it has been months since we have been seeing each other. To put it correctly is we are seeing each other on the bus stop. She stays at one end and I on the other.
As I approached the bus stop, I saw her standing at the very end, alone, immersed in her own thoughts, lost in herself. She may not be the most beautiful woman in the world but she had that something that made her attractive to me.
Everyday I would steal glances her watching her from the corner of my eyes. She hardly noticed me as if I did not exist. Some times our eyes met but then she saw through me. Everyday I was just happy watching her but not today. Today I had my own demons to kill.
I ignored her and continued to be lost in my thought, lost in my own battles. She doesn’t care a damn about me anyways. I am still angry with my boss. I need to teach that guy a lesson. How dare he blame me for everything? Sure, I did some mistakes but who doesn’t.
The night was a little chilly but I was angry to ignore it. Anyways Mumbai winter is as good as being summer. One by one everybody gets in the bus. She does too. I jump in last. No need to rush in. There would be enough seats for everybody. I get in and walk to my last seat at the end of the bus. It was to be a long journey home. Being the last stop meant that I could sleep till I reach home.
I rest my head on the window and close my eyes. I normally fall asleep quite easily but today was different. The anger in me does not let me sleep. I open my eyes. The bus is quite empty compared to the peak hours. Everybody is seated. Some are dozing. She was sitting on the second seat. I look at her then try to close my eyes again. It was still a long way home.
I close my eyes shut and try to drift into sleep again. I guess I needed to relax. I let my body loose.
“Angry?” The voice was hardly audible over the sound of the bus engine
I open my eyes to find her looking at me with those beautiful eyes. Such beautiful eyes and so close. I am too dumb to speak out
“Angry?” She asks again and this time she smiles.
“Just office matters” I smiled back.
“Anything serious?” She asked again, a little concerned perhaps
“No! No! Nothing serious. You know just routine office matters. The kind of office frictions you see everyday” I was trying to downplay the whole thing. Few minutes ago, I could have bashed my manager if he would come near me and now I was trying to make it look like normal office matter. Talk about trying to put a good impression.
“Oh! I see! Just thought that you looked quite disturbed today.” She said looking at me. Her eyes bore deep into me. It was so difficult to look into her eyes.
“No! Just normal office issues. You know how they are? I was a little disturbed but now its ok” I reassured her.
“Now you look ok. I thought you were disturbed and I knew when you came to the bus stop. You did not look at me the same way as everyday” She looked at me with questions in her eyes
“You noticed that?”
“It has been months you know. I liked the way you looked at me but I was not sure why you didn’t approach me”
I smiled. There was nothing to explain. Even when she asked, I knew that she knew the reason.
“You don’t look good when you are angry” She remarked
“Well! Its not all the time. Just sometimes.”
“Relax! Its just a job!”
“I know but you cannot remain calm when things fu…” I stopped short of uttering the “F*” word
“Its alright! I know what you mean” She smiled. I was clearly not making a good first impression here.
“I am sorry. Its just that I am little disturbed”
“You are?” She teased me “You know what you should do in times like these?”
“What?” I asked her with the same teasing tone
“You should talk to me”
We laughed. I was much calmer now. I was ready to forget the reason for my anger. After all not everyday a beautiful girl comes and talks to you. As she said, at the end of the day, it was just a job. I watch her as she laughs next to me, her silky hair against her face. She brushes the hairs aside from her face but the wind brings them back. We talk like we have been friends for years.
It was turning out to be an interesting day, ending the office with a quarrel and ending the day with a beautiful girl.
“You know, you should not take this small things so seriously” She advised him
“Oh Yeah!” I teased her “And what does madam suggest I should do”
She laughed. The whole hearted laugh
“You should wake up”
“Huh?” I looked at her, confused “What?”
“Just wake up” She was still laughing.
“What?” I did not get the joke.
“Arre bhai utho! Last stop hai” (Get up bro, its the last stop) She was laughing but the voice was not her.
I force to open my eyes, the bright bus light hitting my eyes. I see the conductor standing there looking angrily at me. He looks suspiciously at me.
“Last stop” He barks angrily.
I look at my side. She was not there. I look around. Everybody has got down except me. I looked back at the conductor. He was still looking at me, angry. I collect my bag and stagger out of the bus. Its a little quite at the last stop. It always is. Where was she? Did I see a dream? I feel like a drunkard coming to senses about the people and things around me.
It was obvious that I was dreaming. I smile at myself. A good dream after many days. I would have so much liked her to be on my side now. But some dreams just remain dreams. I walk toward home. I need a good night sleep. Tomorrow will be another day.
Some of us have to fight our battles alone.
Note: Based on personal experience without the dream sequence and of course without the girl.
All stories at Fictionaries.