It’s very cold today. Sun has set a long back. I could see it going down from my window. I turn and look in the corner. He is still sitting. I can’t see him properly but his scalp is visible. Does he apply oil every day or his scalp secrets all that oil by itself. As if hearing my thoughts, he turns and raises an eyebrow. I shake my head and resume my inspection of outer world. As soon as he gives a go, I’ll leave for home. We just have to babysit this for few more minutes.
I fall into a reverie and find myself thinking about incident I heard some time ago. A girl grabbed outside her apartment during wee-hours of night time near garbage disposal bins. My garbage bin’s color is green. Green is supposed to be a color of prosperity but I find it somewhat ominous. Was it before I heard this incident or I always thought so? I’m not sure. I remember myself asking what was she doing there and friend told me she was just taking her trash out. I’ve done that so many times myself. Morning for me is not a good time for any kind of responsible citizen chore, afternoon I’m not home, evening I’m tired, only during small hours once in a while I think myself capable of dispensing of the filth. To think it can happen to me, feels so surreal. I think all crimes are, unless they happen to you.
I snap back in present. “Huh? What?…”
“It’s done. We can leave now”
“Oh! okay…see you tomorrow!”
Darkness slaps me when I came out of those revolving doors. I was too busy saving my toes and face from that monstrous door. I stay for a second or two struck by the gloom. Almost got hit by another one out of the door. He gives me a stinking eye. I deserve that. I also hate people who stops suddenly. No place for a pause in this restless city.
It’s only 5 but feels like 10. People don’t like other aspects of winter like snow, cold, heavy coats, gloves, I hate early greeting of night. Those wee-hours I’m so afraid of now, come so fast and linger so long. But this is a crowded place and dumpsters are far. In bus, like last 169 days, I try unsuccessfully reading a book and instantly go into a restless nap. I thought those are supposed to be relaxing, power naps they call them. They always drain my power, come when I can’t entertain them , leave when I’m ready and always make me feel like an ashamed host.
With a jolt, I wake up. With panic I peek outside through dewed windows. I can’t figure out the place, it’s so dark, heart rate went up. I know because my watch which is very smart tells me so. I take some long breath and open maps. Phew, I’ve still not crossed my stop. Why couldn’t I recognize the area? Some wiring in my brain which is responsible for roads/maps/paths is horribly broken. Is it just me or with all females like all male claims? Who gives a fig? I’ve accepted this flaw in me a long time back.
“Thank you..” I say to driver and she promptly chirrups, “Have a nice evening!” “More like a good night” I think and jump on to the pavement. It’s a 5 mins walk from here. Warm room and bright lights are beckoning me. I put on my noise cancellation headphone and start. After 10 steps, dumpster story pops in my head all of a sudden.
My heart is in the throat ,”..how stupid of me to use headphones. I should be aware of my surroundings…”
Headphones off and pace a little fast. “ Whoa! who’s walking there. Let me look at him sideways… don’t want to give him reason that I’m aware he is there and … I’m a little afraid…”
“5 seconds enough time for another peep….huh…where did he go?.. can’t risk turning and prompting…may be he is not thinking now…but what if I turn and he sees my scared eyes…he can think then…can’t he?….
“A little dark….feels deserted too…where are all these people….will they hear if I scream??… Will he try to stifle my scream?… Will I scream??…I can’t scream even when I want to..I wish I could scream…let me put my chin down..if he put his hand over me, it will first be at nose…and I could scream…”
“there is my home…but darkest patch starts…let’s just finish it quickly…what’s this sound….heart beat 120…135…140 now…outside gym that’s a first…oh my god is he also running?…what’s this sound…feels like someone is running…can’t stop looking…i’ll have to look…where are my keys…will gouge his eyes first….huh…where is he?…no one is here…what’s that sound…is he in the dark…he must have seen me turning…let’s just finish this walk…again that sound…turn 180 degree.. no one? …what’s happening…did I do too much work today?… Ah..finally home…lock unlock and I’m inside..heart beat 110 now… I barely escaped today….what is this sound…what?????…it’s the flap of my bag…beating on my legs….stupid flap…what’s its use…first time I’m noticing it and it scared me to death…rip…there…all well now…”
Watch chimed…” Today’s exercise goal finished……”
” Hmm…this kind of exercise will kill me soon.” And I switched on the TV.
Written By Richa SharmaOn a wintry night