The sun has just set outside, and the sky has embellished herself in the palette of orange, yellow, and red to bid adieu to the day and welcome the thousand sparkling stars of the night. The bright sky of the day has started to fade away into the darkness of the night: the sun giving up the mantle to graciously play the second fiddle to his compatriot – the moon.
A storm was rising.
I light a candle.
The undaunted light fought with all its might against the gusty winds of the south-east to give me a sense of accompaniment. I rallied behind my confrère and covered him with bare hands to protect against the wind. But it proved to be too little, too late. With one last dance, he gave up to the dogged and brawny antagonist of his story.
I sit there, alone, in silence, and in darkness.
Time passes slowly as the sky puts on a cloak of darkness with shimmering flecks.
I embrace the darkness. Why run from fate, when it’s inexorable? Once you adopt the inevitable, you become adept at surviving.
The street lamp outside my window lights up. But the light seemed too feeble, too doddery. It flickered, and then flickered some more, in desperate attempts to revive itself with the last straws of breath, and then went out.
The moon hides behind the clouds, the stars blink, the thunder rumbles, a flash of lightning. Is the storm here?
I miss the sunset.
I miss the way the sky decks up every day, to profess her love to the sun, just as he gets ready to retire for the day. I miss the way nature sketches the frame to capture this moment of eternal love. I miss the way the birds sing to celebrate the courtship. I miss the way the sun, with its last flare, makes a promise to return to his lover, again.
I miss the sunset. And I miss her at the sunset.
At sunset, I used to walk up to the hill. At sunset, I used to sing a lullaby. At sunset, I used to walk the pebbled roads. At sunset, I used to stop by a garden. At sunset, I used to see her, every day.
I do not know who she was, or where she lived. I do not know if she remembers me. I do not know if she looks at the sunset with the same glint of glee in her eyes. I do not know if her eyes still search for me.
The day I first saw her, she was in a red dress. Her hair tied in a careless bun, lay on her shoulder. Her lips half parted: as if to let go of a gasp. Her face was shining in the last rays of the sun. Her eyes radiated with joy, and exhilaration, and euphoria. She sat there graciously, in midst of the bloom of white roses, staring at the sunset.
I stopped midway. The garden never looked better. The sunset never looked better.
From the next day, I walked by the garden every day, at sunset.
And every day she would be there, sitting amidst flowers, and looking at the sunset with the same elation in her eyes, as the last day. Some days she would look at me and smile: those days were the best. On others, she would simply enjoy the end of the day.
Every day I used to wait for the day to end. Every day I used to hope to see her in the garden. Every day I used to pray to God for a clear sky.
On thundery and tempestuous days, she was never there.
Every day I witnessed the beauty of the sunset, but never did I enjoy it. Nature, the birds, the sky, the sun – all seemed nugatory. Every day I went there only to see her.
We never spoke. We never sat side by side: it was always she – encompassed by the white roses and me standing afar, looking at her. We only smiled at each other. There was an unspoken bond – that we will meet at sunset. There were days when I was late, and I saw her eyes searching for me – and a smile with a slight touch of anger as soon as she saw me.
Then one day she was not there.
I stopped by the garden every day with a hope to see her again. Every day I thought this was a dream, and she will be there, waiting for me in the garden, at sunset, when I wake up. But she never came back. She vanished from my life, just the way she appeared – unforeseen and serendipitous.
But I went on going to the garden at sunset. Often, I wondered what happened to her, or who she was. I used to sit amidst the roses and write stories about her. In some, she was a princess in the refuge. In some, she was a farm girl from the hills. In some, she was a poet, traveling the world to unravel the mystery of life. In some, she was just a girl in the garden.
As the days went by, I started to notice the flowers, the birds, the sky, the sun. With time, I started to fall in love with the sunset. Little by little, I started to enjoy the palette of colors on the canvas of nature. Day after day, I started to romanticize life.
I miss the sunset.
The wind picks up the pace. The cloud rumbles – louder now. A lightning strike, again: much nearer this time.
The storm has finally arrived.