I first saw her writing her paper. They all were engrossed in making sure they were right. All but her. She doubted herself. The familiar frown, it felt as if she were finally trying hard enough to get there. She looked at me for a second, and turned away again, fearing that I might ask her to help me. But somewhere down inside, I knew I couldn’t ask her any thing, and I’m sure so did she. I moved on.
She had finally arrived, and she seemed happy.
Later I saw her with her friends. All laughing at something no one else would probably be able to make sense of. All but her. Her eyes were glazed, though the smile was genuine. It’s one of those times when you could make out she’d rather be alone. Yet again she was trying to keep everybody else happy, and no doubt making a good job out of it. But no one looked into her eyes today. I did. And the minute I did, she shut them. I will never know if she missed it, but I saw the dry tears. I moved on.
She stood alone for the bus. They came one after the other. Thoughts and thoughts she never thought she’d think. Everyone was busy frowning at the heat. All but her. The heat from outside was lesser than the fire raging inside. It cooled her down, but did she care? Her mind was away, her eyes still glazed and no one knew that. I felt the heat when I walked past her. How long could I ignore this? She saw me looking at her, and smiled yet again. Embarrassing though it was, I couldn’t help smiling back. She stood there, alone amidst the crowd. Absent-mindedly meddling with a thick strand of hair so familiar yet so strange with a finger.
How she longed to see those eyes again. The warm touch guiding her nowhere. The feeling of mothering something that has lost its way. A subtle feeling of rising power, like standing on a rock above the rest. The beauty of having known the right answers to unknown questions. It was freedom in its truest form, a freedom she craved to cradle once more. Then again, she was just a teenager. How could she have known so many wonderful things at once?
I had been walking without watching where I was going. Suddenly, I felt a slight bump on my shoulder. She smiled, and walked away.