During even the smallest moments of our lives, our actions can mean the world to someone. We must hold onto those moments with all we are.
This is their story:
We met at the bus stop.
You see, I was working at this place seven years back, and buses had to be taken to reach the institution. I was in a teaching position. She was in the library.
We got talking after bumping into each other at the same bus stop, boarding the same bus and getting off at the same stop every day. We were the same age. She was single and I was not.
Her long hair she carefully tied into a bun and soon we became friendly enough for me to intentionally pull out her hair clip and release her hair. She’d beg me to not do it; tying the hair down was “such a chore,” she’d exclaim, but I could not escape the fun of it. We’d chat all the way to the office, then chat all the way back.
She held her umbrella for me when it rained, because I hated carrying umbrellas, and she wouldn’t let me get wet. She claim to be fake-upset with me, but she always shared her umbrella.
Six months later, I changed jobs and I no longer needed the bus. I no longer stood at the stop. I no longer waited for her to arrive, so that we could catch up on our day (she lived at a hostel nearby the bus stop).
I recall catching a glimpse of her standing at the bus stop, while I was driving towards my new office one morning. The bus stop was no longer on my usual route, but I had broken my daily route that day. She was looking away; our eyes did not meet.
Then one evening, we bumped into each other while running errands. You wouldn’t have noticed that we hadn’t been seeing each other. While we were both in a hurry, the warmth was overwhelming. She invited me over to her hostel, but I refused, saying that I’d come by some other day.
Then I did not run into her at all. She crossed my mind now and again – I considered visiting her “one of these days,” but it just never happened.
Several months later, I ran into another ex-colleague. We’d worked in the same department, and rode the same bus to and from work. When the conversation veered toward M, the librarian, my ex-colleague suddenly got very serious.
M had been diagnosed with some brain-related issue and was undergoing treatment. I never got full details of what had happened. She’d had to get her long hair chopped off. She was still working but as she became progressively weaker, she eventually stopped working.
One day, she collapsed after a brain hemorrhage and never came out of it.
“Do you know what M used to say about you?” my ex-colleague asked.
“Now I have neither the hair, nor the hair-puller.”
I cannot believe that M thought of me in her last few months.
What I put aside with procrastination and life-getting-in-my-way, has now become unachievable.
She is no longer there.
I instinctively look out for her every time I pass the bus stop.
She will never be found there. But that should not stop me for silently acknowledging the place that brought two strangers together.Right?