“So you’re really leaving? You’ve decided, haven’t you?”
“I need to do this...please understand. I need to make it on my own.”
“Make it on your own here. Why must you leave? We’ve had so little time together.”
I was staring, I think. I quickly averted my eyes and began to fumble with my phone, some song was playing. I turned down the volume. I shouldn’t have, but the people sitting opposite to me in the bus seemed to be having an interesting conversation. I knew it wasn’t my place to eavesdrop, but curiosity got the better of me.
“...you were drunk that day we met. You were staggering past people, looking for a cab.”
“Yes, and you got into the cab I had finally managed to hail, cutting me off.”
“Did not. I called first.”
“Did too and you know it.”
There was some playful shoving. The conductor had arrived in the meanwhile and I paid my fare. Zeppelin was playing on my phone. Ironically Robert Plant was crooning ‘Babe I’m gonna leave you...’.
“It’s a fucked up situation and you know it. You will be busy this coming week, right? You probably won’t even have the time to call me.”
“I’ll make time. Priorities.”
“Aww... you always were a smooth talker.”
“Want to catch a movie today? I heard Airlift is nice.”
“Sure... let’s go back to my place and chill? It’s closer to the hall anyway”
“Your mom will be home, won’t she…”
“She knows about us.”
They went on to discuss Shawshank Redemption after this for a while. Apparently they had watched the movie a few nights back.
“The city won’t be the same without you, you know.”
“Don’t go to the places we visited then.”
“That’s what I hate, you know. Every time I pass by that old tea stall or that bookstore or every time I leaf through a book, something small will remind me of you. How you smelled, how you kissed me, and I’ll miss you and you’ll be a million miles away. Every time the lights will go on in Park Street on a rainy July evening, I’ll think of you, staggering past, head bowed down, shuffling, so fragile, so human, so unbelievably mine in that split second.”
They held hands and I looked away. There was something in that moment that demanded intimacy and privacy. The two of them had created an oasis of bliss in a very crowded bus. Anyway my stop was near and I made my way to the front of the bus to get off. As the bus sped off I saw the couple by the window, presumably still holding hands. Some nights I wonder if they are still together.
Photography By: Tejo Guna