When she appeared, his world stopped.
Like a plume of radiance enveloping him from time to time, he imagined her face, in all her glory, as if the goddess had chosen him to reveal her human form to. He was fortunate. Of that he was sure. For how else, had he mustered up the courage to go over, speak and write letters? He had written a lot of letters, although he had given only one.
His breath slightly heavy, he watched the coal miners on screen leave Tula for Chernobyl, swamping the erstwhile Soviet Union’s minister of coal’s impeccably, pinstriped suit with coal dust, as they patted him for the rare honesty, so unbecoming of the centralized, communist system of the Soviets that favoured silos of information gravitating in the heads of the top brass and their cronied elites, who controlled all natural resources of the country in the name of total state ownership, in the name of a totalitarian regime, sparking unspeakable horrors among their subjects and firmly enshrining democracy as the system of governance that provided the most bang for buck.
He imagined they were holding hands, watching the flames of Chernobyl as a couple of ghosts.
Fantasies, how he adored them. Everyone did.
Once, as a child, he had had a fleeting fantasy of making flight, using only his body to do so. Heck, once he had imagined that he had been alone in school with his crush, all of thirteen years old. Once he had day dreamed about letting loose a herd of wild buffaloes on his history teacher. None of the fantasies had turned true, except one. Aged nine, he had managed to sneak in his pet dog to school, somehow miraculously escaping the attention of the guard, only to watch her (his dog) firmly leashed in a corner with morose eyes that brightened the moment he appeared in the vicinity during recess. After a sudden burst of sobs, he was allowed to take her back home, a walking distance away for him.
Her WhatsApp status said that life was about acquiring memories.
Albeit few and far in between, he remembered all their offline interactions. There was no need to. He couldn’t help it. The depth of his feelings were much greater than the veracity of his mind, as if he were part of a group of prospective bridegrooms, assuring the bride’s father about her well-being by justifying their physical strengths. Coming to the present, he was convinced of a victory if there would be a fair contest adapted according to her wishes and the socio-economic norms of the twenty-first century. He had found his queen.
Queen. He liked the word. Perfect, like her. In every respect.