The Queen And The Terrace

She walked in, he froze up. Reflexively.

It felt cute in a way that he couldn’t speak. He left to have a cigarette till his knees got weak. Escape was just a nod and a casual wave, towards no one in particular, but an omnipresent being that seemed to corner him whenever she came around. He would obsess about her for the next few days. It was only just a crush, it would go away, he kept telling himself. Just like all the others, it would go away. Or maybe, this was better, he didn’t know. He prayed it all away, but it continued to grow. Everyday. Every hour. Every minute, well, almost. He wished he were a butterfly sent to do her bidding. At least that way, he could be closer.

The lunch, a quick fix ordered from a local nearby, wasn’t sitting well with him and he had decided to leave. If only, he could understand the nagging feeling that had enveloped him since morning, maybe his mind would feel at ease. He couldn’t even muster up the focus to meditate a bit. He had begun, and barely five minutes in, the restlessness would seep back, like a stubborn, irksome fly, waiting to be squatted away. Restlessness was an understatement. This was more like..crushed. Of course, she didn’t have anything to do with this, apart from maybe a very little, flashes of images more than anything, a product of his imagination, that fed off from the cues of his environment.

What could he do?

He knew it was nothing. Just his mind processing all the variables around it and seeking to predict something. Food was done. So was water and air. So was shelter. That was it. All that was left was sex. But that had been taken care off by him in the morning. He wondered what was the problem now. Maybe, he needed to exercise a bit? Let the extra energy seep out and be channelized towards his muscles? He left his work desk and headed upstairs to the terrace where there was nothing really. Just a few chairs which looked abandoned, but had each other for company, like the old couples loitering on the road confused by the changes taking place around them. He stripped off his shirt and diligently, slowly, methodically executed thirty push-ups.

The speck of sweat didn’t arrive. It was cold. There was no sun at five in the evening. The blood rushed slowly, in small streams towards his chest. He could sense its flows as he closed his eyes to concentrate intently. He pictured the vivid red liquid, the cells apparently had human-like faces, crackling and grinning in glee as they drove towards a highway made of their own weight. He wondered whether he could concentrate and focus his mind hard enough to reverse the direction of blood flow in his body? He changed his mind quickly, imagining his body tear itself apart like a suicide bomber, under pressure from a torrent of blood and flesh, his organs flying across in all directions and scaring his colleagues to their wit’s end, not to mention the trauma.

He felt better now. Calmer, more peaceful and warmer. Maybe it was the images of the torn body that had calmed him down.

A glow had just begun near his chest. A soft, warm, joyful kind of glow that seemed to want him to take it easy and live in the moment, not wanting his mind to run helter-skelter with visualizations of the grand future or the darker past, but rather something that sought to keep him focused on the present moment, like a hunter intently listening for the faintest rustle of grass to judge if it was a prey or a harmless frog. Complete, total awareness towards the present. As if on cue, he thought about her again, but this time, she wasn’t smiling invitingly or frolicking to his tune. She was just..smiling, an unconditional smile that meant nothing in particular, but a healthy, serene smile that told him one thing and one thing only.

Unconditional love. He smiled back at her. She waved. For a few seconds, there was absolute silence, and he wondered if this was reality. If it was, he wasn’t wearing a shirt and she was. The sky had turned into twilight, a golden hue meandered all over them. Just when he was about to say something to judge whether this was reality or not, she did.

“Wear your shirt. I’ll see you downstairs”. So saying, she had left. In a flash. Like a Queen, in charge.

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