Gingerly placing her foot on the steps, she landed quietly on the floor. She faced to give him a quick smile but he was looking out into the blackness. “Fine,” is all she thought. She sat opposite to him on the other end of the berth and put her cell on charge. Waiting for it to boot, she started looking in his direction discreetly, choosing to stare at the space beyond him. She folded her legs and brought her knees close to her chest. She made herself comfortable, tilting her head and resting it near the window sill.
He was reading, sometimes staring at the pitch black interspersed with white blobs. He wanted to speak with her, listen to her voice again, but was wondering how to begin. She was looking beyond him. Her hair tied loosely in plaits, falling on her right shoulder, her glasses on; lost in thoughts she looked adorable, sitting right in front of him. A while later, she started texting constantly. In between, she pulled the window up halfway. The cool breeze blew through those curls and sleep started fluttering in her eyes. He could make out she was tired.
She was tired of talking to her friends and coordinating between them both. In between while waiting for the network to catch up, she kept her phone aside and closed her eyes.
While sleep bewitched her, it eluded him. He realized after a while that she’d fallen asleep with her legs still pulled to her chest, hands crossing her knees and head still tilted. Closing his book, he chose to simply sit and gaze at the face that had captured his attention. Was he dying to get to know her or what?!
Afraid she might catch a cold; he picked her blanket from the upper berth and put it over her. Satisfied, she would be fine, he decided to give sleep a shot.
She yawned and opened her eyes. She was blankly staring at the man sleeping before her. It took her a while to realize what must have happened last night. She straightened her head while her neck muscles cried with searing pain. Blinking sleep out of her eyes, she picked up her cell. It showed 5:56 am. She’d slept through the night on his berth while he must have been awake or terribly uncomfortable while sleeping, at least. She then noticed her blanket draped on her. Pleasantly shocked, a small smile on her face, she admired what she saw. The rising sun never looked so beautiful.
At 6:15 am, her alarm rang out, waking him out of his slumber. While he was still stirring out of his sleep, she sheepishly climbed up her berth again. Her station had almost arrived by the time she assembled everything and made herself presentable again. When she came down again, she noticed, he was ready to move out too.
The train chugged into the platform. They stood side by side, each hoping for the other to begin. Passengers were bustling around them. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. He was looking out at the platform. “I should at least thank him out of gratitude,” she thought. Unable to take it anymore, she closed her eyes, took a really deep breath, exhaled, and before her mind changed itself, she turned to speak to him. But he was rummaging for something, in his backpack, book in hand! As the train came to a halt, two men came up from behind to greet him. Friends, brothers, whatever. She wasn’t interested. She was disappointed. She looked away.
As they led him away, she picked up her suitcase and bag, not wanting to waste anymore time. There was a book lying on the berth. Hastily, she picked it up!
She thought she caught a fleeting glimpse of a smile in her direction, as she saw him out on the platform.
He thought he caught a fleeting glimpse of the book in her hand before he turned away.
On instinct, she opened the book. Scribbled across the first page, was a name and number. Indeed, he did make the first move! And she couldn’t wait to make the next!
P.S. : I cannot wait for criticism (hopefully, constructive!), love, humour and kindness to be showered on the piece. Please tell me if you like it. It’ll encourage me to pen some more of these 🙂