Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Short Story


Love Happens

He was a short man of forty-five. Short because of his high-temper, his hastiness and ofcourse his height. His name was Richard Parker and he was quite good-looking for his age. He had a sort of businesslike aura about him. He had stubby fingers and was kind to people in general. He was fit and had deep blue eyes. He lived at No. 34, High Street and like most of New York City's working professionals he lived alone, occasionally going to the bar for a drink for he needed to relieve himself of all work-related stress, or else try to find himself some company.
He worked in a bank as a chartered accountant and he worked so much he hadn't any time for marriage or kids. Therefore, he was unmarried, celibate for as long as he could remember and extremely lonely. His work was monotonous and his salary exorbitant. Richard hardly slept for six hours and practically lived on innumerable cups of coffee. He often thought about changing his job, settling down, and making a family but these thoughts were fleeting as he didn't or mostly couldn't have time to think about love or marriage.
However, he still remembered the girl whom he so much adored. She was about an inch shorter to him; a petite woman with short and straight jet-black hair, sea-green eyes, a quick friendly smile and sweet to talk to. He would go to the nearby cafe where she worked and see her everyday as an excuse to buy his morning cofee before retreating to his boring little cell at the bank. But one day she left, like everyone in his life for a place called Takeeshi or something. He guessed it was one of the Asian countries and slowly moved on and forgot her.
It had been months since that happened, and sometimes he still thought about her. "She must be married and happy". Richard wasn't friendless, he had those kind of casual friendships with the barman(he did know his name, "Bob, i think"), his colleagues(though it was just all about "Hello, how are you?"), the launderer("He did lend me a nickel the other day.."), etc. etc. Yet the lonliness lingered. Sometimes, he would go to the park, mostly on Sundays when he would have leisure time to himself, sitting on the grass, reading those Sidney Sheldon books, or taking a mile-long jog.
On one such visit, sat on his usual bench and watched the passer-bys. He took out a ciggarette(he smoked only when he was particularly unhappy) and started puffing slowly. He felt intensely pensive today after a hard day's work, meditating on the previous week's sundry events. He was looking at the pond. A strangely large duck was waddling peacefully, it's eyes unblinking, almost fearful. There were schools of tiny fish swimming below and on a clear day, even the many silver coins would be shown, though now there were only slight traces of silver showing. People probably believed that it was a lucky pool; that they would get what they want if they tossed in a dime. Lazily, almost amusingly he dropped a small dime into the pond. The duck, slightly alarmed by this, swam a little further away from Richard.
He got up and started walking, he glanced towards the children's park, two-three year olds being carried or strolled around by young, vivacious parents and toddlers throwing loud tantrums of "Mommy! please let me go on the see-saw, pleeeasee!!" or running along excitedly trying to catch their little friends. He said to himself, a mere spectator, "How nice would it be to have one of them." Quickening his pace, he decided to get himself a pet. A cat, "no i don't like them", or maybe he would buy a dog. That would be nice.
Further ahead, he saw couples, either resting, jogging, chatting, or simply enjoying the place and each other's company. He breathed a sigh deeply(he must be right at the centre of the park, for here the air was pure, unlike the pollution of the city). " They are so much in love..what would it feel like to have someone who can read your soul, who can love you?" He wondered whether anyone would want him, who'd even care.Then as though on impulse, he started jogging rapidly, away from the world of lovers, away from that sinking feeling. He'd gone full circle of the circular garden and now found himself back at the pond. And then, just as he started approaching his bench, it hit him.
Sitting there on the seat, staring mindlessly into space with those bright blue eyes was a friend, a lover, someone like him, someone for him. She looked so sad, so lonely. Yet there was something about that kind of sadness, that kind of loneliness. "Yes," he thought, "She's just like me, she's been working tirelessly, trying to search for something important, someone important..".
He went upto her and sat right next to her. She looked at him wearily and somewhat hopefully. Then she managed a warm little smile. "She is so beautiful" he thought. Perhaps she found him the way he found her. Perhaps this was it. Slowly, Richard introduced himself and within minutes they had clicked, they were now discussing almost everything that happened in their buzzing, city lives. She suffered two failed marriages, was now working at the city zoo as a trailer, and her name was Violet. He thought, "Just like a flower is she, she has brought me her scent."
And when Richard went home that night, for the first time in his life he felt content. No amount of money or good health ever made him feel this way. He had her phone number, they would meet again tommorow and the day-after and the day-after that, same place, same time. That night Richard slept soundly, much more than six hours..after a long, long time.