Last evening, while I was enjoying a relaxed Sunday, and savouring my evening tea, I heard someone knocking on my door. When I answered the doorbell, I was in shock.
A young woman stood before me, her chiselled features and bewitching smile almost making me mistake her for someone else, but the truth was, she was wearing my clothes. Her shoulder-length hair was just like mine used to be once.
I couldn’t help asking myself if I knew this woman at all.
While I debated in my mind whether to let her in or not, she didn’t seem to waste any time. With a gentle push, in a playful sort of way, she made her way in, as if she had known me always and there was no need for any formality between us. Before I knew it, she had made herself comfortable on the sofa, checking out the living room with a bemused expression on her face, that looked uncannily familiar again.
“Hmm…So, this is where you live, now?”—she seemed pleased as she uttered those words. “Not bad, I say.”
I barely spoke. I watched her as she rose to go to the balcony. I followed, just to keep an eye, since I didn’t have any way of guessing what she would be up to, next. Taking a wide look around, she came and stood right at the edge of the balcony, clutching onto the rails tightly, her eyes resting on the lake all this while. A minute later, she shot at me—
“Do you like that view?”
I nodded in affirmation. She smiled.
She made slow circles on the floor with her toes, watching the bougainvillaea blooms swaying in the breeze. Next, she seated herself on the brown cane chair, where I had been sitting all afternoon before her appearance.
She flipped over the book that I was reading and asked, “Do you still read often?” I nodded. She bent over and sniffed at my cup of tea, which had been turning cold!
“You seem to like Chamomile tea, now, huh?”
I simply nodded. Clearly, I hadn’t felt the need to justify my preferences to her.
Watching her every move, I saw that she had leaned over the wall now and was waving at someone below. From the corner of my eye, I could see her watching the 16-year-old, cycling with his friend, while the husband was busy conversing with the neighbours.
She turned to me and smiled. Perhaps, she wiped a tear, as well.
It was uncanny how much she resembled my younger self, from two decades back. That sense of spontaneity in her smile and the stride were unmistakeable but the lightness in her being was what made me envy her the most. I wished for a minute that I could go back in time, to being this young again.
It sp happened that at that very moment, the young woman looked up, pausing, as if she wanted to say something—
“You know, I’d like to be like you, someday. You look so calm and sorted. You’re everything I’m not. I’m struggling with so many things right now. I hate myself for the mistakes I make and most of all, my indecisiveness about the things I wish to do in life. The dead weight I’m carrying inside my head… how do I get rid of it?”
I smiled. I had to tell her that life itself would turn out to be her biggest teacher and healer. The years between us would one day become the catalyst for the most powerful changes that she needed to get to where I am today.
The chasm that stood between us would become the path—and all those years to come; the life events—some planned but mostly unplanned ones—the wins, the defeats, the smiles, the heartbreaks, the hurt and the pain and then, the inevitability of the change within herself, would alter everything and give a new meaning to her existence. Time would be the biggest teacher and the most powerful healer of all. The wisdom and the grey hair and the quiet acceptance to everything that she so envied is waiting to come to her one day. Right now, all she needs is to be patient.
She seemed to have read my thoughts even before I had uttered them. She came up to me and held out her hand. I took her hand in mine and we hugged each other, like long-lost sisters, who were waiting to meet for years. She smiled for the last time before I saw her form fading away, until she merged into the cloak of darkness, all in a matter of minutes.
Just then, the phone rang. I sat up, a little startled, and somewhat confused. The book I was reading lay by my side and my cup of tea had gone completely cold.
It seemed like I had dozed off for a bit.
The distant lights across the lake were glowing brightly, reminding me that it was time to get back to my desk to wrap up my weekly writeup on the blog.
Written as part of our #SoulfulSunday freewriting exercise—a concept ideated by Vinitha, Shilpa and yours truly.