I sit on the bench, smiling into my phone screen, scrolling and reading the words I’ve already read millions of times before. I scroll up until I see that one text, and then remember the call that followed. As my eyes lose focus of the text and my mind drifts off to her voice, my smile turns into a grin.
I lay back, and stare up onto the ceiling. The station roof was intricately designed with metal beams and supports, and upon proper attention, you could see the symmetric and structured beauty of it. A train was standing in front of me, destined to take me momentarily away and yet eventually take me ever closer. Every inch that I move in the other direction takes away seconds from the time gap of rendezvous, and so I may be inches farther but I am actually minutes closer.
It had been a fantastic day. Fantastic due to ordinary moments extraordinarily transpired, not due to extraordinary moments in an extraordinary day. The beauty of a gradually transformed mundane is akin to a collection of dandelions – nothing of generic beauty or extraordinary, yet extraordinarily beautiful at times. The transition, or rather shift these days has been not the presence of somebody, as surprising as it may seem, but the sheer prospect of gratifying and intensifying the presence into the case of substantiation.
“A hundred days have made me older Since the last time that I saw your pretty face. A thousand lies have made me colder And I don’t think I can look at this the same. All the miles that separate Disappear now when I’m dreamin’ of your face.”
I get on the train, and I have secured my favourite seat. As I make myself comfortable, I realise that I have been ignoring my train journeys this year. They used to be a part of my romanticised fantasies, and while the fantasy has begun to furnish a little, the absence of trains in them was now bothering me. Fittingly, the moment I rested my temple beside the window as I always do, the train began to shower its resentment at me. I couldn’t know whether it was an intention to punish me for my ignorance or just a very fervent welcome back – often the difference is like trying to differentiate between day to day Urdu and Hindi, only the knowledgeable can.
“So I finally have your attention, do I?” it questioned, sarcastically. “I used to be the hoarder of thoughts which you wrote about. What now, though? What do you write about now?” It complained. A sheepish smile didn’t leave my face, and somehow it knew. “My chugs and tugs made you zone out so you could think,” it whined, “and now you zone out my chugs and tugs so you can think about someone else? It’s the night travel, boy, and there’s only one thing on your mind. There’s a dream in your eyes, and within that dream is someone, and there’s this lack of loneliness I now sense, which renders me useless, isn’t it? She’s not here, but she’s still here with you.”
I’m here without you baby But you’re still on my lonely mind. I think about you baby and I dream about you all the time. I’m here without you baby But you’re still with me in my dreams And tonight girl, it’s only you and me.
It was easy to talk to and convince the train, that today it wasn’t about me ignoring its sounds. Today was about rediscovering the said sounds, and counting them as time ticks away. I’ve told the train about many a people coming and leaving, about the glories and disdains of life, and about how I have a habit of anthropomorphising things into personalities, and somehow even getting answers in return. I have travelled long cumulative distances with the train, and each time it tells me something different. The fact that now I have another source to tell me things I need, makes me wonder if I could ever repay the train for being there when I needed it; when it was, full of people but only talking to me, often as she does now.
But just as the way the train has taught me selfless love, as a very nod to that it will take me to and from, with and beyond her. And I know it will always be there for me – sometimes a little late, maybe, sadly – as I will be there for her.
The miles just keep rollin’ As the people leave their way to say hello I’ve heard this life is overrated But I hope that it gets better as we go.
Yet the wait is hard. Not because I have to go through a great ordeal whilst the wait, but because I wish to do nothing and now I have to do not much while I wait. The wait is a pain when you have nothing on your mind – nay, nothing but the wait on your mind. An empty mind is the devil’s workshop, and the expectant mind is a creative disaster. Creative, as humans are thus so creative that they create their own new problems, even within a cocoon of a self-chosen environment of favourable constituents. It is then I see how love can be a problem, despite it not giving me any pains. How it’s tentative deadlines and pervasive presence (or sometimes the lack of it) leads to different notions of it. How love takes preys, makes people fall and rise, and thus belies itself.
I won’t say I understand love, nor do I claim that I want to. I just know that it is love, and beyond that I know naught. I know that the distance that keeps us apart physically has somehow managed to bring us together in a way not possible. I know that probably she’s there without me, but I am soon going to tell her to her face that I am always going to be,
here with you.
Everything I know, and anywhere I go, It gets hard, but it won’t take away my love. And when the last one falls, when it’s all said and done, It gets hard, but it won’t take away my love.I’m here without you, baby, But you’re still on my lonely mind. I think about you, baby, And I dream about you all the time. I’m here without you, baby, But you’re still with me in my dreams, And tonight, girl, it’s only you and me.
* Quoted song lyrics from, “Here Without You, 3 Doors Down.“