‘The Silence’ by Vaibhav Hassija

Please join me in welcoming a new contributor to these mini writing competitions – vaibhav hassija – with his poignant story of missed opportunities …..

flower bouquet

By Vaibhav Hassija
I wasn’t sure if I was falling in love, but I hadn’t taken any sick leave for a while so I knew there was something wrong. Her shoulder length black hair, smokey tiny eyes and milk-like skin caught me unawares the second I saw her. Leaning on the wall, staring outside through the kitchen’s glass window as she waited for her lunch to be warmed up; I was mesmerized in that moment.
I knew a few managers at work so finding out her lunch breaks wasn’t hard. I bumped into her in almost every break possible. Having just a glimpse of her even for few seconds would make my day. This happened for a while until one day she finally said, “we bump into each other every time, isn’t that strange?” My reaction to this was going to be my first conversation with her, so I had to be careful with what I said next. “I think you’re following me’’, I replied smartly, just hoping the humour didn’t embarrass her. She smiled after a moment, which then turned into laughter. And that was it. I was relieved as it wasn’t a bad start.
‘‘Should I really tell her? I mean all we talk about are the shirts I wear, the brownies she bakes and the customers she comes across over the phone. That’s it. I mean what if I am just another guy she shares her laugh with? I used to spend half a day interrogating myself with these questions sounding like a retard. So I thought of just waiting for the right time.
Months later, I got an offer to work interstate for my uncle. I had no reason to say no as it was the only chance to start my career. But I knew I was losing my last chance with her as well after this. So I finally decided to tell her on my last day. I waited for that day with a feeling I can’t express. The day before I was about to leave, we left work together. I looked at her while we walked and she looked like the most beautiful girl I had come across. For a moment I thought maybe it was the right time to tell her. Or maybe I should stick to the original plan and wait another day. I guess I was just too scared and wanted to enjoy that last walk with her, in case she said no.
I came to work a bit early on my last day. I looked at her seat curiously as she should have started by then. Sadly, and to my surprise, she didn’t turn up that day. I spent the whole day looking at the bouquet I had bought and wondered if I should leave that with a message on her desk. Or maybe I should wait. As I finished my day I made myself a coffee before leaving, leaned on the wall, and stared outside through the kitchen window till the rain stopped.

(c) vaibhav hassija

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