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August 16, 2012

She called. It had been some time since they last spoke. He was mildly surprised to hear her voice again. It was pleasant, that birdsong of hers. He knew she was like a bird that sits by the balcony once in a while, sings its song, and flies away. One never knows if she will come back again, until she does. She talked. He listened. Of late, it was becoming difficult to find the right words for anyone and he was grateful he didn’t have to find any. He could just listen to her talk. It was a conversation of the good old kind. They were in a relationship, one she would call “timepass”.

He would often wonder if there really were relationships of any other kind. After all, isn’t it what all of us are doing, finding one way or the other to pass our time on this planet in a way that carries some semblance of meaning? Of course, the “timepass” between them was meant to be a meaningless affair and nothing would ever happen between them. There was a time when he had a big crush on her. He claimed he was in love, unsure of what it really meant. It didn’t turn out well. It was much later that he “recovered” and things became less awkward. Still later, he realized timepass with her can be a lot of fun.

The night was warm and the mosquitoes relentless. He was staring into the relatively clear night sky, contemplating the stars while she was telling him she had found another “timepass” for him. He didn’t want one, of course. This one was enough. Besides, he wasn’t sure he really had that kind of time. He mumbled something he didn’t understand, the words just didn’t take the appropriate shape, and meaning was elusive. He gave up mumbling. It was no use. What he had to say was long said and there wasn’t much he could add to it that would change anything. He would do better to just make sure the time they spent talking was time well spent. Who knew when they would talk again? Time, after all, had never been his ally and he couldn’t take more chances with it.

She was bored soon enough. He wasn’t in his element. Something was amiss. He was happy to hear her, but not euphoric. What did he expect from her? Here she was, taking time out to talk to a recluse like him, and he was taking her for granted, uninterested in her gossip. On the other hand, he thought to himself, what did she expect from him? Attention, perhaps. That is all one needs, after all. Strangely enough, he did not seem to want any attention at that moment. So he decided to pay some. It was too late, though, for she was going through the ‘good bye, take care’ ritual already. He wanted to talk to her now, he wanted to say so many things! But he couldn’t bring himself to tell her that, and so, with a ‘take care’, he let go of the call.

That was a rather dull timepass, he thought. He should have done better.

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