Behind Eyes Closed by Anand Shankara

~1000 Words

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like if we were a molecule of water?” she asked me.

I shook my head, looking down at our reflections in the puddles as they quivered with each drop of rain that hit them. In my hand was a wet cigarette, soggy with its unfulfilled destiny, and in her hand was an unopened umbrella.

The rain was unrelenting. We walked on nonetheless.

She took my hand in hers, and gestured expansively with the umbrella. “We could see the whole world. We could fly with the clouds, swim in the rivers and streams and lakes and seas,” she said.

I smiled and nodded. I hadn’t seen much of the world. It would indeed be good to travel. I hoped I had left the rest of the cigarettes at home.

She leaped, trying to reach for a couple of leaves that drooped lowest from a tree. I glanced down at the footpath, wary of jutting stones. I could hear the water gushing, meandering, indifferent to the path it couldn’t choose even if it wanted to. It flowed to wherever it could, from high to low, from full to empty.

We found a bench, painted green. The metal underneath was showing in places, black as night. We sat down. She set the umbrella aside and put her head on my shoulder. We watched the clouds for a while.

“Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to kiss in the rain?” she asked me.

I kissed her. She tasted of strawberry. She tasted like tears. She tasted like the sun peeking between darkened clouds.

After a while, we got up and walked again. The rain seemed a little hesitant then, a little uncertain, perhaps, as so many endings began.

Leaves hung down trees like the sodden green beard of a giant. Our clothes were soaked through. My shoes made squeaky noises. We didn’t know where we were going and we didn’t care. Her umbrella lay forgotten on the bench.

I looked at her, her long dark hair plastered to her face, and felt strange for having thought of forgotten things. She looked at me with brown eyes so dark they were almost black. I put my hands into the pockets of my jeans.

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like, if you were someone else’s dream?” she asked.

I clutched my wet cigarette tightly, my chest ached, and there was a lump in my throat. I heard her words, I felt them, but try as I might, I couldn’t understand them.

I hoped I had left the matchbox at home but I knew somehow that I would never know. She looked at me, with tears trickling down her face. I wanted to comfort her, to tell her that when she came back I would be there, but suddenly I realized I didn’t know if I would. How could dreams know?

She closed her eyes, and all was light.


Author Bio: Anand is a fantasy and sci-fi geek from Bangalore. He likes reading books, playing the guitar, and creating universes in his head. He occasionally dabbles in the real world during his day job as a software engineer. This is his first published story.

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