story based on my own emotional involvement.
PRELUDE: Love flows forever
I was enjoying short stay in Uncle’s house. In afternoon, while chatting, crackling sound at garden gate distracted me. I cast a glance, time made a pause.
Bright was entering. Under sudden intense restless turbulence of mind, my heart beats accelerated.
Bright confidently stepped on balcony. Smartly he pulled a chair an casually addressed me for first time in his life ‘When did you come?'
I could not respond prompt. Oblivious answer was avoided by me. Completely ignoring presence of uncle, I dramatically voiced ‘It seems, I have passed through ages to meet you, probably twenty years or so.’
Bright laughed, ‘Such a long time…. I wonder!’ The words hit me like sword. Those came spontaneous in his throw, as if we had been in regular touch. I sank into an emotional upheaval. I felt life time achievements centered encircling my family, career, work receding into triviality. The only prevailing significance of life focused current presence of Bright so close.
Twenty years back, Bright lacked simple courage even to talk to me. To express love or propose was beyond imagination. Yet, both of us shared same profound longing for each other. Eyes spoke lots amidst silence.
Aunt came with tea and snacks breaking the spell. I took the tray to get first opportunity in life offering something to Bright. The setting Sun splashed multiple hues to horizon before twilight seeped in.
Ever introvert Bright haply became too talkative. Bright’s incessant chatter stopped. He stood up to take leave. I felt, request to stay longer would be an embarrassment. He stepped down into garden. Unlike his old self, Bright smartly enquired, ‘How long you are staying here? Why don’t come to my quarter tomorrow?’
Instantly I snatched the opportunity and accepted invitation. An array of spectacular Lily plants lined on garden path. Bright was charmed ‘What an amazing splash of color unlike typical pink or red. This shade is so attractive!’ Might passion of Bright put extra glaze to the blossoms.
I offered, ‘Please have some. Let me bring scissor.’
As I started to snip off a bunch, Bright interrupted ‘That’ll be enough.’
‘Don’t make me morose, take some more.’I tried to compensate for never having a chance to offer anything for Bright by heaping lovely bunches of lilies after twenty years. I felt delicate, yet deliberate brush of his fingers as I handed over the bunch.
Twenty years back, I spent six months in uncle’s quarter on study leave. Uncle was departmental Head, Bright junior most. We met each other several times without any interaction, not even little exchange of smile. Uncle was too orthodox over free mixing of young girls and boys. On way to college Bright had to pass by uncle’s house. I chose same timing to water potted plants. Occasionally Bright came to collect keys of the department. He never lifted eyes to look straight at me.
I just dropped the keys on his extended palm. Bright literally fled. I knew, at first turn of road, where a pair of Eucalyptus trees, stood as witnesses, he was sure to glance back to check me still standing on balcony.
I would keep an eye from study table behind window to see Bright on way back at lunch break. I would step out on balcony, pretending loitering leisurely in disinterested fashion. Invariably Bright would appear much after general rush of college attenders and trudge slowly along road. He would take five minutes to cross a stretch of two- minute walk juggling bunch of keys, when I would plan to attend potted plants.
Two young hearts bonded together without exchange of single verbal utterance. The seed of love bore a little plant of desire with tender leaves of passion. The firm roots pierced heart in pleasing pain. One afternoon, there was no trace of Bright. I became impatient but could not leave balcony as my eager eyes were scanning the usual path.
Suddenly I felt somebody’s intense look piercing me. Instant reflex made me glance to spot Bright directly on front road of balcony crossing diagonally through field. Next day onward, that turned into chosen path of Bright’s daily routine.
No verbal expression was needed to satiate thirst of mute lovers. Mere exchange of intense glances sufficed to delight silent souls. Each dawn brought new charm and enchantment.
I started walking in park in afternoon. Within minutes Bright was seen passing along adjacent road. On daily schedule, new venture of evening walk was added. It was far desirable for exchange of glances than remote spotting of Bright from balcony.
Six months passed. My final examination was on threshold. On last eve, I wandered in the park, Bright walked on encircling road. Gloomy afternoon turned to morose evening. Walkers and children left park one by one. At park, big banyan tree sheltered flocks of parrots. The shrill sound of chirping birds returning nest also ceased.
Park became deserted. Dim street lights were switched on. I walked aimlessly. Bright was moving in slow simple harmonic motion covering short portion of road. None was around. Absolute isolation bred excitement and expectation.
Suddenly, Bright became courageous. He rushed to have hasty entrance into park and stood in front of me face to face. I was not taken aback but looked straight into his eyes. Yet Bright failed to voice his emotions. The destined silence did not break.
POSTLUDE: In Core of Heart
Shall I visit Bright’s place tomorrow? Sure. I will.
No wobbling, any more. I can’t waste rest of life ignoring Bright. The lamp of love lit by us twenty years ago is still glistening.
I felt urge to honor the earnest ardor of Bright nearest to my soul. I groped extreme depths of mind. There are not any pangs of separation or lamentation.
“I pass on my passion to Bright by telepathy”, I murmured on myself.
I restrained myself from meeting Bright. The lamp of love is still blazing and Bright will keep the glow bright.
Retired Lecturer (Applied Mathematics) in Burdwan Women’s College, West Bengal, India
Professional Writer in leading News Papers n magazines of Kolkata, India n on ON-LINE.
Author of Academic Books, Children Books, Fictions, School n College Text Books.
Talker in All India Radio, Kolkata.
Translator of English Classics into Bengali.