January 23, 2018


Short Story

Short Story


by Shahinur Islam

The last day of March was glittering as the sun showed up with a new vibe after it tried its best to surface for a couple of weeks. With the vibe it was now striving heart and soul to kiss the lips of the frozen nature of winter, and to spread pervading warmth that was making the heaped up ice on either side of the road melt, and starting to soak.

It seemed to Shajik that the ice melting scene was like a white, eyeliner wearing lady who was waiting for a long time for her beloved, and finally met him with tears of joy in her eyes.

Shajik was thinking of the simile while he was sitting by the window of a bus and watching the scene outside. After a moment he threw a glance inside the bus and found a five feet long airy tunnel, which caught his attention right away. The tunnel led to the face of a snow white girl. He cast a glance at her through the tunnel. Having a medium build-up and a comparative high sitting position on bus, she was seen through the people’s armpit-formed-tunnel despite her standing position.

She had a white face and a good shape. Her hair, eyebrow, and eyelashes were so black that it seemed she wore eyeliner around her eyes. But her face was pale; her lips were dry as if they were not wet for long. She, however, was not throwing even an arch glance at him while he could not dare stare at her in a row, so he was sharing his look both inside the tunnel and outside the bus.

When he was looking outside, he could see the maples and other trees were peeling ice as the hens after a dust-game or the birds after a water-game, shakes off their body. Although the trees did not bloom or even come into leaf, it seemed to be their preparation of reception for spring. They were ready like the matchstick—just needed a rub and, with that, would amaze everybody. They knew how prepared they were inside, though it was not sensed from outside. And the flocks of wild ducks were coming back just to twitter and make the atmosphere resonate.

The bus moved quite a number of stops. But the girl was never throwing her look through the tunnel. She was looking outside absentmindedly.

Shajik was, as usual, throwing a hopeful look once outside then inside at her. Some passengers were getting off, some getting on. The crowd was still the same. But the tunnel was not supposed to be the same as the people were regularly getting off and on. As if everybody wished a communication occur between him and her! But, no, the tunnel itself now got exasperated, so it broke when the bus reached the Westboro station, and she disappeared from his view in a moment.

Now he seemed to be fidgeting; her visual absence was resonating in his mind. The song that he played deep in his heart so many days seemed not to be ready enough to play public. The story he wanted to tell seemed not ready to be told. He wished the crowd would be no more.

He was wondering if she got off, if anybody could charm with her appearance just at a glance. It seemed she was known to him for a long time. But he did not find his familiar people so close. How weird people’s liking is! Sometimes it is inexplicable. Or was she in his mind for a long while? Now she got revealed in this inaccessible atmosphere.  If he got the concrete form of his pent-up liking today after a long time, then would saying it to her be abstract? This thought made him sad to a great extent.

The bus crossed two stops more, and the crowd became thin. Now he took a hopeful look at the direction where the girl was standing. But where was she? She was just there. Did she get off? Oh, what a concrete revelation of abstract thought! But why did he feel sad?  She was supposed to get off. In fact, she had all the rights to be off. Wasn’t it usual? What did it matter to him? Who the heck possessed his mind in a short time? Or was she already in his mind as a drawn bird that would want to fly away now? Liking was so illogical! How could someone like someone else who he did not see before, know nothing about? He could not figure it out.  Was his like then residing in the deep corner of his mind under the pretext of love?

Perhaps he got devoid of sense, so he did not look to and fro. He thought her standing position on bus as his abode of sight. But does the target always stay at the same place? Rather, it changes its position invariably—sometimes mentally, sometimes physically. Perhaps if someone loses his sense, such a fixed feeling works.

Yes, there were her hair, eyebrows, and white face. She did not get off then. Yes, everything remained the same. The only difference was she was not standing, rather sitting on the next seat.

Shajik got hopeful again just like a famished tiger smelling a doe from a distance. But did she take away his sense of logic and reason along with his mind? Logic and reason are most likely to be hostile to love; they do not coexist.  Love wants to dominate and rule over everything. It matters little if it destroys an empire.  As long as it stays somewhere, it rules over, or turns everything upside down with a tsunami.

This time as much he looked outside, as more he went on looking at her. Yet he could swap sights with her not for a single time. She was so close, yet she was too far. The sky and the earth exist too far from each other, but they, too, meet. The day and the night are like two poles, yet they, too, meet for a moment at dawn and twilight.

He wondered if he would move forward to meet her. But he dithered about it. When the opportunity comes, the hesitance seems to build a wall of obstacles, which echoes the fake solace of the next opportunity.

After a while, the girl, somehow, threw a momentary glance at him who was still looking at her. His eyes did not blink that time. When she looked at him, she gave him a chuckle, which blew a storm of joy in his mind. Oh, this storm felt unbearable to him. All of a sudden, a lightning played on his mind. Through all his veins, blood flew in a twinkling. His heartbeat seemed to pause. But all of the things disappeared after a moment.

If she stared at him some more time! Why did his cherished desires find an exact match with her? It was not only his fault, but also hers as he had held her in his heart, and she had got revealed as his emotion-charged outpouring.

But what was this? Why was the storm changing its character? It seemed to root out everything. Unbearable! It was good before. Although her smiling face was pasted in his heart, he could hear the roar beyond her smile.

Now he looked out of the window to deal with the devastation that the storm made. He could see the glimmering sunshine vanished, yet everything existed in that pale light.

After a moment, he looked at her again. What was this? Did she disappear again? Why was that again and again? No, he thought she was there, though he could not see her like before. The crowd that time had a tunnel, through which he could see her, but now there was no crowd; rather, something else covered her like a crowd, which was a hundred times more unbearable and annoying to him. Who was that wetting her lips? Then, one storm caused another storm, which was more horrible, more intolerable. It not only ravaged but also absorbed all his mental and physical power, and left him burnt and helpless. He could not see her face any more, but someone hiding her whole body.

That time, he remembered what Sabrita once said to him, “You’ve to suffer a lot!”



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