Short Stories

Letter to a Stranger

Dear Stranger,

I couldn’t see you go. I know it’s an odd way to start but I really couldn’t. That sweet and confident smile on your face and fairly large spectacles on the nose where irritation from the previous night persisted, still had me under the spell. Though honestly, I really hope that irritation was from lack of sleep and not our escapades during the wedding.

When I had set off for the marriage of a close friend I was excited, not for myself but her. She had dreamt of this day her whole life. I didn’t know her dreams, the frenzy which was racing through her mind, or the ecstasy that was in store for her. But I knew they were there. What I had no idea of was that the same frenzy would take me face first.

What I didn’t know was that I’d meet you.

I recognized you as a piece of my soul from the moment go. Although it might sound cliché and even made up, it felt like I had seen you somewhere; maybe my dreams. The nostalgia struck romantic that I am, I figured it must’ve been a previous incarnation. As I looked closer though, I realized you had the same face and confidence-laden smile as one of my friends in college. It was an odd coincidence, and I took it upon myself to see that the signs didn’t go to waste.

When I saw you the first day of the marriage jollying away silently in your huge spectacles (not that mine are any smaller), I couldn’t help but notice a solemn confidence. A refreshing resilience I hadn’t seen for a long time. All day I had been dealing with age old and unkempt personalities adorned with stale beliefs and consciousness of how they looked. And in you came, with a rather unadulterated beauty yet a confidence that could rival Aphrodite herself.

In the following days, you didn’t give any indications to prove I was wrong. Quick witty retorts and short whips of humor mixed with a sharp stare from the corner of your eye seemed to make the dullest of the days something to look forward to. Amidst the workload of a girl’s wedding and endless nitty-gritty of the preparations, you gave a whiff of much-needed respite.

Till today I hadn’t understood the concept of a muse completely. Now I do. I now fully grasp the fever that spikes a writer when he sees an object fashioned out of pure passion and inspiration. I don’t entirely agree with the definition primarily the object part, but the inspiration I do with all of my consciousness. I dare say you are like me. Actually, I would like to believe that. Truth is the way you battled opposing forces around you alongwith looking absolutely stunning proved I am nowhere in the vicinity. If I talk in respectable Pokemon terms if I am Pikachu you are the Raichu I could and can never be.

You might say the praise might not get me somewhere, but honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere. Or rather I know there isn’t anywhere I’ll reach.

I know it might feel like, but this is not a letter of revelation. It is a letter of admiration. The inspiration that you filled me with had to go somewhere. I figured better paper than something else. I know and agree you are a complete stranger to me, but a stranger to my mind you are not. This letter is not a confession of immature infatuation or even a whim to follow something. No. Dare I say it is an effort to introduce you to yourself. If I may, it is an attempt to fashion a mirror out of words and set it in front of you. And try to do something that none of the people around you would’ve tried. Show you the real you.

The last day came and the level-5 introvert that I am, I hadn’t even talked to you past the occasional Hi and Hello. I had lost hope as I always do, convincing myself there’s no point of talking to you. I might fumble or humble myself into something that I didn’t want to say or worse.

Then something happened.

I got an opportunity that I grabbed with all three hands. Or was it two hands? I forget that part. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell for this, but I leaped with joy at the opportunity of spending few moments where only the two of us would be there, even if it meant taking one of your friends to the hospital.

I got a chance to talk to you and find out if what I had concocted was the reality or not. It was not. You were even more fierce and resilient than I or the generations of writers before me could fathom. The silence was deafening than the mightiest of explosions, and the swipe of hand deadliest than the flurry of a thousand swords. With a little trigger from my overacting friend, you came out with all guns blazing. I talked to you surely but steadily in fear that you might turn the canons towards me and fire without haste. You didn’t. I came to know that you were leaving the following morning which made that night even more special. It was virtually the last night we would ever talk, judging by the extent to which my reserved nature went when it came to talking to girls.

Other than looking beautiful, you seemed lost and precarious but focused. The grace with which you handled the lazy and arrogant doctor left me impressed, to say the least. After being constantly irritated by the adverse environment, you remained unfazed. I found that hard to believe, and yet you were. After battling with all your defenses you were calm and composed (mostly). That was commendable.

The night went on and the morning came. After being awake for the better part of the previous 24 hours, it was hard for me to even stand up. So I took my leave and left without saying goodbye to anyone. It had been a crazy three days, and I wanted the excitement to stop for a short while before it began again. I hadn’t walked far when I saw you standing near the bus stop. From the previous night’s captivating attire you had changed to something comfortable. I saw you and you saw me. I knew you were leaving and you knew you had told me everything the previous night.

There was a lot to say yet nothing came out of our mouths. We just smiled at each other, knowing this brush of destiny would leave us scathed for the rest of our lives. We knew there would be nowhere to go after this. So we chose to savor the moments and memories of these three days rather than pursuing something we knew had no future. Our destiny was limited to those three days and to those three days I send out this letter. Not out of love, not out of affection but out of necessity.

Yours sincerely,
Suburban Wordsmith

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Check out: The Girl who never smiled

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