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It was a cold winter morning but the scenery fortunately resembled the falling grace of autumn. The lake had frozen over but a thin layer, manipulated by the sun, allowed a liquid glaze to rest calmly on top. The effect was marvelous; it felt like you could pierce the ice with a dive requiring just enough effort to make the cold water feel like falling on a comfortably humid cloud. They sat there next to each other on a wooden bench which had conducted their warmth to each other with great efficiency. The woman looked out across the lake as if she was trying to contemplate how many times she could have swam across it in these long years. The man watched her with great calm even though he knew that he had turned a quick glance into a noticeable stare. He couldn’t help it. He was compelled to search her face for a sign, any sign, that he could use as an affirmation for his already built hypotheses. He wanted the questions in his head to be muffled by answers, wrong as they might be. He wanted her to lie, he wanted her eyes to assure him that he was wrong, her sardonic smile to indulgently tell him his mind was playing dirty tricks on him and that his worst fears would not and could not be realized. Her face remained impassive. The wind rustled the leaves and made a sound that resembled a muted background score of an epic film heard by the audience just getting settled into their seats next door. That sound unfortunately wasn’t enough to quiet the overwhelming questions his skewed sense of reasoning was posing to him.

 

The moment felt like a millennia but it didn’t make up for its insignificance in the time of man. The lake had betrayed it by reflecting enough heat to make the woman feel it on her neck and then attribute it to the stare of the man. The flurry of disappointment that flooded the man could only be described by a painter working with a fidgeting muse. This wasn’t the expression he was looking for. He had conjured a picture from his deep set ideas, dumping all his hopes where they would inevitably be shattered, and he had to now face the repercussions of living in a comfortable bubble that he knew would be the tool for his destruction. It showed on his face, the woman caught it quicker than she could interpret it and her confusion showed on her face. She sensed he was expecting something, and had she the faintest idea of what it was, she would have been more than eager to comply promptly to his wishes. Though she was as clueless as she had always been when it came to this man. There was something about him that wanted her to live up to his expectations, something that always urged her to prove in some way that she was worthwhile. And for some strange reason, she knew she had never really been able to do so. It took a strong conscious effort for both of them to reconstruct their normal expressions. The man stumbled in his effort and that failure was also caught by her in a fraction of the time it took for her to look back at the lake. He could not look at her anymore, he tried gazing at the lake but her reflection had decorated it so he dived into his thoughts. He had seen it clearly, and the realization seemed to have left him numb. He wanted to feel angry, to react to the raging emotions he ought to be feeling, to be incited into saying what he knew he’d regret later, but he couldn’t. He had seen it coming. He had prepared for it. Some part of him, and he didn’t know how dominant that part was, had even hoped for it. He was through with all the delusions, with her lies, with her pretences. For good.

 

It had gotten very quiet as if the wind had stopped to listen. She could hear his breathing losing its frequency and growing louder. This time, she knew he had reached a definitive conclusion and that whatever she said was not going to help her cause. She would just be giving him more reasons to be more concrete and rigid in his assessment. She was tired of all these mind games. She wondered if she had made a mistake by choosing this path, and forsaking the one where things would have been a lot more different, a lot more simpler. She wanted to beg him to revoke his judgment, to give her the reasons for the icy expression she had witnessed, but she knew she wouldn’t. Pride was a funny thing. He had gone right ahead and misconstrued her actions as they suited his whims, and she wasn’t about to plead for mercy. All she regretted was the complete lack of communication. If only he had asked her before drawing inferences which he seemed to be rigid about. If only he would have given her a chance.

 

“You could’ve just asked.”

 

“I know.”

 

He didn’t say that to agree with her statement, he was referring to things he knew without having to ask.

 

-This was a form of creative stimulation my friend Krishna and I happened to indulge in.  A major chunk of this has been written by him. I have merely added a few details to complete the picture, and yet leave it incomplete.

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2 Comments

  1. I love how descriptive this is!!

    -Lucky


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