“You cannot hold the memories on palm of your hand; it’s always under the blink of your eyes. And the memories that they had buried deep within, just their one glimpse of each other made those memories jump back and come alive. They both seem to be staring at each other. Yet they both looked unaware and unsure about it. I faintly could picture them as kid making paper planes and flying from Deep’s veranda. Lina was just on the same old window trying to peep her head out.”
The buzzing sound of alarm opened my eyes but I closed it as soon as they were open. I snoozed the beast for another half an hour and kept talking to myself inside my head. I slapped my cheeks few times and said to myself, “Wake-up Deep.” I cannot recall when did I slept? I couldn’t just stop murmuring inside my mind that I finally saw her. Did she saw me as well? The heat of excitement and anxiousness is rushing through me under this thick blanket in this drop dead cold weather.
Again, the beast ranged.I just happen to check my phone and there goes twenty missed calls. The horror of missed calls made me wash my face, chew some mint, put on my trouser, T-shirt and jacket. I just ran out trying to tie my shoelace.
I know I have a destination to reach though heart wants to drift away aimlessly. As soon as I walk out, the streets are still filled with enough thin layer of mist. The street light and its yellowish light is still on. It almost feel like you are inside the painting that is displayed in one of these closed shops. The people walking in the street aren’t clear enough which means I don’t have to greet anyone. I pass through these huge gigantic houses on both side and small narrow lane in the middle which we call “galli” because it’s always the shortcut. The chill air blowing in my face made me miss the warmth of summer. It is Thursday and the temple is already filled with queue and devotees. I am really not the person who bows and make this strange hand gesture every time I see a temple. Yet, I love the atmosphere of temple in the morning. The melody coming out from temple, the sound of bells, the prayers and most of all the lights from oil lamp it not only brightens up the place but it also gives warm embrace of faith to me. Finally, I arrive at the Bridge. This very bridge connected me back to yesterday night. The further I run forward in this bridge it keeps pushing me back to yesterday’s frozen time. Despite of my obstinate determination to forget it, I recall it.
It was sharp 8p.m, 4th of December. Oddly, I don’t know what made me remember the time and date but I wanted to carve it somewhere. Lina was across the street in her home on the same old window peeping out. It would be almost a decade since I last saw her.
Winter nights were usually dark and yet everything was glowing and brightening up tonight. The half-moon had this dreamy look and stars were hiding behind the fluorescent light of the moon. Yellow light from the bulb above the window made it clear, it was really her. For a moment, I tried to confront myself whether it was real or surreal? Was it just a hallucination that foggy moon was creating? But her long dark blackish-brownish hair, her deep dark eyes, pink shades of lips, her round shaped red cheeks and her struggle to peek out from that small Newari style window reminded me it was all reality. Even though she was all grown-up,her face features were still the same. The cold winter night almost froze me and I got glued in the concrete floor of my veranda. However, I protested inside my mind to every god in Kathmandu this moment should have been frozen.
“He hurriedly reached to Baneshwor Chowk and slightly bends down, his hands were clutching his knees tightly and he was breathing heavily. A short haired girl, dimpled face with grey track suit and long sleeve tee stood in front of him. The steam from her mouth and petite body was due to cold or because she was furious, it was hard to distinguish. She folded both of her hands and yelled at him in the middle of Chowk for being late.
He just looked lost in different world or probably stuck in yesterday. But her scream smashed his dream bubble and brought him back to cold harsh ground of reality. There was no sound in the atmosphere but something broke inside him. With the same stoned face, he took off his jacket and puts it in the girl’s shoulder. He apologizes to her quietly and comforts her by clutching his arms tightly over her shoulder. He genuinely appeared guilt-ridden but whether it was for making her wait in freezing cold or because of discovering his feelings towards Lina or both, it was hard to confirm. The girl was talking but Deep was still gazing in same dreamy state of yesterday night. After few second, they just vanished in the thin mist of fog.”
That night, Lina and her cousin sister Mallika were having conversation in their terrace. Lina’s cousin Mallika looked annoyed that her sister brought her to terrace in freezing cold. Mallika snapped at Lina, “Couldn’t you be happy just by peeking your big head from our small window? Why do I have to come up here in this freezing cold?”
Lina replied back with politeness yet her voice sounded bit commanding. “Can’t you see how lovely the moon looks, today?”
Mallika questioned her with satirical remark. “Since when did moon started to look lovely for you?”
Lina was surprised with such kind of satirical statement made by her younger sister. But then Lina was Lina after all she knew exactly how to question a satire with a satire. “It always did. You would have noticed it, if you would get a little time off staring at this mobile screen.”
At last, Mallika bluntly spoke with her cunning tone. “Why don’t you simply say you want to check out that guy of that Veranda House? Anyway, I saw him today with a girl while I was going to college. They both were very close. I hope your day- dream will stop by now.”
Lina kept a straight face and acted as if she really didn’t bothered. Though somewhere in her mind she feared it. The thing she feared most was no-more her assumption, it was reality. “So? What it has to do with me?”
Mallika knew her sister was heartbroken. But she needed to inform her before she webbed any more of her day-dream. “I am sorry. But you guys aren’t 5 anymore. You barely even come here since you moved to your new house. Plus, you two haven’t seen each other like forever.”
Lina’s body posture didn’t moved by that fact. She acted as if she was alright. However, her eyes moved and were fixed in the same veranda. Her eyes tried to dig for the answer. Unfortunately, answers were not floating in the air. She responded with her fierce voice but her heart might had crumbled, “Yah! We aren’t five anymore. He looked old, tall and muscular. Though he still got that child-like smile, yet his mustache clearly reminded me neither he was a boy nor he was child. She giggled but her voice was getting heavy, “Your sister is little bit crazy, isn’t she?”
Mallika felt guilty but she was more relieved. She understood the world of reality than the fantasy. She was shivering due to cold and with trembling voice of joy she said, “OK, finally we don’t need to freeze. Let’s get down.”
Lina turned back one last time to stare at the vacant space of veranda. She was standing here, he was standing there and all they feared about was that distance.