I saw her for the first time on one of the busiest streets. How gracefully she hopped from the pavement onto the road and stretched her hand instructing the vehicles to slow down as she crossed the path. Just that faint recollection of her crossing the motorway lingered on my memory like the scent of a lovely perfume. How much ever I wished to see her, our paths refused to meet until the day I spotted her walking into a jewellery shop. I made no mistake in recognizing her. I couldn’t. Before I could think better my feet were racing towards her and I found myself helplessly glancing at a very vast space with innumerable counters. When I swiveled to complete a full sweep of the place with my eyes, I caught her walk out of the building. This time I pulled myself together. I was a respectable man. This was unlike me; I knew I shouldn’t be chasing her. However, I did spend the following few weeks regretting how I lost an opportunity to probably get to know her.
As the months passed she slipped from my thoughts. But, I found myself filled with the same cheer when I spotted her on a random official occasion. Our tables were diagonally placed. I strained my neck each time to catch a glimpse of the woman who was unmistakeably her. As the occasion neared the closing time, I buttoned my coat and walked to her extending my hand introducing myself, “Hello lady! How delighted I am to see you here today. I have known you since the past couple of years and have been waiting to be introduced to you. But, I was never able to get to know who you are. Pardon me for introducing myself to you this way. But I have been enamored by you each time my life was graced by your presence in the same surroundings. I am a respectable man; I work with the Stocks. I would be delighted if we could exchange words over dinner.” Her eyebrows furrowed and she appeared unsure, “I am so sorry; I am really humbled by this encounter. But, I do not extend my company to men I do not know.” I quickly found my business card and handed it to her, “Here are all the details of the man dear lady. Pardon the foolishness of the person I have become after being caught in this tame-less passionate yearning.”
She signaled me to take a seat in the table for four where she sat unaccompanied. It was utmost pleasurable to finally be at a discreet distance from her, to look at her features, the colour of eyes, the fall of her locks and the smile on her lips. I gathered myself and initiated the conversation by talking about my family, where I was from and asked more about her. By the time the food arrived, I regretted my folly for having unabashedly expressed my desire for a woman I know nothing about. Each time there was a stance to be taken on a topic or a perception to be presented in the context of the conversation, we both invariably took different stands. We engaged ourselves by covering the awkward silences by inappropriate laughter or unnecessary feeding of ourselves in an attempt to buy time to think of more words. When the dinner ended, I bid the lady goodbye and we both exchanged courtesies of calling back. She was charming yet intelligent, graceful and humble. But, the additional attributes added to that faint sketch of a woman I have envisioned based on my frivolous encounters with her over the two year- I was disappointed. I even dreaded receiving a call, though it was apparent she would never make use of the card to contact me nor I would make an attempt to get in touch with her.
It was a year later that I saw her again. I considered exchanging a smile, because of the inescapable familiarity that showed on both our faces. But then she looked straight ahead and disappeared into the crowd. I gasped a sigh of relief. It is strange, this - zealous longing. How silly that we build a person from fragments of our imagination. And sometimes we do it so well that we develop this affection for an unreal person/fancy which may be very different from the real being who enticed us into this desire to begin with. I turn my head to catch a glimpse of her and she crosses the street in the same manner she did years ago. The faint image of the lady- there she is - a unknown beloved. And knowing her- changed it all.