A – And then

It had been raining all day. That’s why I was in a good mood when I stepped to sign out. It was 6:00 in the evening so I was sure they would have locked up the office and all gone home. This didn’t bother me because I had nowhere to be. I grew more hopeful of the day’s possibilities. I didn’t know what I wanted but I didn’t want today to be taken away from me. I wanted today to be the longest day of the year. Because it wouldn’t rain tomorrow; not like this. And even if it did, I will not like rain tomorrow. And just when I was smiling at the thought of having the rest of the evening to myself, drinking tea and doing nothing, the most tragic thing for anyone who has made plans with themselves happened.

I saw company. He was standing near his car, smiling and waving at me like all Avira antivirus pop ups do when you are looking up serious and more important things on your computer. I looked for the close window button. I couldn’t find it or any other escape, so I waved back like somebody whose father had just died. But he didn’t see that many fathers had died in my head. He drifted towards me, with his octopus like arms stretched out to hug me. I fell into them, reluctantly, like last bits of food on a bursting stomach.

‘Come, let’s go’, he said, in the world’s most irritating invite.

‘Can’t’, I said. With all the politeness that my mouth would allow.

‘Work’?

How do you explain to them without hurting them that you have no work, no plans, you aren’t meeting anybody or any deadlines. You just feel like the day is too perfect to spend with somebody else. Would they understand?

All of 4 Sundays the last month were gone like this. Because I had become somebody else’ hobby, habit. Because saying no to company produces all manner of heaviness: guilt, fear, regret, the feeling that you could be missing out, the dread of wanting company later in the day or in life after you had said no to it.

‘I, er… I’ll go grab my bag’

‘Cool’!

The after rain wasn’t nice anymore. I felt cold, like I was sleeping naked on the kitchen slab. As I turned away from him, I tripped on a stone and fell on my face. It was fast and it didn’t take much time to happen, like these things never do. I tasted wet earth and salt. He pulled me back with haste, like he was preventing damage from happening.

I could taste blood in my nose and mouth. The mud was tasty.

As I made my way back to get my stuff I saw the line of traffic on the flyover and the orange sky behind it, the vast stretch of apartment buildings towering jealously over the flyover, soaking in all the little sun they could snatch away from it. Someone in there must be looking out the window and having tea.

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