Winter closed in on the streets of Satayr . It was evening . Summer had left and winter was just stepping in.
The yellow maple leaves decorated the grass floor of the park and flew to the tune of the breeze that frequented the streets. The street lights yellow paled beneath the shop lights. The smell of burnt bread and coffee wafted through the air.
She brushed through the crowd, the cold air hanging around her. A loose sweatshirt and purple mittens kept her warm. Her black curls lay strewn across her face wildly framing her eyes and the cold did not account for the blush on her cheeks. Nyla turned left, to her new apartment and sat down on the chilly steps of the building recollecting the face she had seen at Zach’s corner.
His laugh was infectious always. A quick glance had surprised her. Aiming for a better luck, her memory confirmed that face she’d never forget .She sprung to her feet and rushed through the crowd before any single thought could fill her empty mind. Now, she wondered why she had run away from him instead of running towards him and startling him.
He occupied his seat deep in thought, staring at the world outside . He had looked right through her and not seen her.
“Was it him?”, she wondered. It was definitely Stefan. It was seven long years since she last saw him.
He was her childhood chum. She was six years old when he moved next door. He had hung about the gate .When he first saw her, his mouth had twisted into a heart-warming smile and his hands held out a funny looking chocolate. She instantly liked him. It took him more than a chocolate and a lot of effort to drag her out of the comfort of her shell and out into the sandy shores of the Arabian sea.
They would watch the sun sink under the sea and the sky streak into several hues of orange and red. She would lie on the sands counting the stars and he’d be playing catch and run with the others. Sometimes, no, more than often they caught these tiny little crabs crawling in the sands. They would disappear into these tiny holes they had drilled and never be seen after(you wouldn’t find them even if you dig them up into giant rabbit holes). Stef ,being the expert had devised his own way to catch these puny little creatures crawling up the coast. He’d dig his hands into the sand and feel it. He’d go that way about until he felt a crab moving somewhere and clasp it in his palms. He’d hold it safe in his palms, not letting it go, until he showed his pretty little friend their catch (No doubt they’d use the opportunity to sting his soft palms) and tow them away in a cover. They would put them in a tub later at night and when morning came, the magical little creatures would have vanished. They would sit and talk on her doorstep. He would tell her stories about the Boogie man and she’d listen to them in fright.
Each day he’d scare her wits about her with stories of Jack the ripper and ghosts that haunted the nights .
Time flew, he found new friends and she slowly retreated back to her shell. She was twelve when they moved away, to another street , to a beautiful house.
She missed him. He’d occasionally surprise her with a visit but the visits dwindled with the passing years. They had drifted apart. She was sent to a boarding school .
When finally she came back from her exile , she had met him again , he even had a moustache then and she was all giggles about it. She left town for college ,they had parted and a year later, when she came to visit again, she didn’t know what happened, he refused to speak to her.
She would smile at him when she saw him on the road or elsewhere and he’d quickly tear his face away. Gathering up all her wits, she went to his house to seek an answer .He had left the town in search for work. There was no word of him after.
Seven long years after, he was sitting right there, in the café around her corner and she was scared he would dismiss her nonchalantly and that, she could not bear. But it was time to put all her worries to an end and confront him. She gathered up her courage and walked down the street, to the café.
The door bell sounded and she drifted in and sat two tables away. She ordered her usual and nervously glanced around.
It wasn’t a rush evening and silence had its strong hold on the two familiar strangers sitting two tables apart.
But for a second, their eyes caught and for a moment, she was in her happy place as sweet memories rushed by. She held a weak smile, it was not returned. There was no glancing around after.
And then she firmly decided that she would not care. There would be no more brooding over the matter. People grow apart all the time, that was life and she had to take it as it came. She would no longer be bothered by the indifference, that she swore to herself.
No more crying, no more useless brooding.
Later at night, her soaked pillows told a different tale.