He drifted into yet another town, a stranger whose eyes belied his true age. He had stopped ageing otherwise since he embraced the life he really wanted to live. Eons had passed in but a few years and time had left him by the wayside.

As usual he made his way into the local tavern for a drink and some conversation. That’s how his journeys into any town always began. He radiated an aura of calmness, a serene oasis in the chaos that is life. Perhaps embracing chaos as the essence of his existence had lent him that air.

As soon as he saw her he knew this journey was different. She was sitting in a corner nursing her drink while reading Catch 22. She caught him looking. Her eyes were haunted and vulnerable; his eyes were full of mirth, experience and patience. A contrast that should have broken the prolonged glance but somehow it tied them together in an infinitesimal embrace. A multitude of data and desire was packed into that glance.

He wanted to talk to her, the desire more acute than any he had experienced leading up to that moment. Yet despite his worldliness and extroversion he just stole glances as he sipped nervously on his beer. This is all so illogical he thought; nature is what inspires me, I don’t know her, why do I feel this damned attraction. This weird longing that makes the yards between us seem packed with air denser than it had any right to be is irrational he thought. His thoughts muddled and fantastical scenarios and stories spinning off as if driven by an autonomous mind; he sat there frowning and deeply perplexed.


He finished his first beer and ordered a second. His usual routine of striking up a conversation with a few locals was badly off tracks here. He just sat there sulking over his drink distraught with unreasonable grief. The grief he was familiar with as the one that he had experienced ages ago in another lifetime. An undefinable grief everybody knows sometime- of losing someone. But he barely knew her and theoretically he could still talk to her and something could happen.

As he was finishing the second drink she got up and left. While leaving she turned back and gave him a curious look. And then she was gone.

Another road not walked down. Perhaps another epic romance nipped in the bud. He smiled as he finished his beer. Another milestone on his journey to nowhere.

He shrugged and started talking to the stranger next to him.

By- Aseem Mahajan

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