Ta'ra

Planted on the pedestrian bridge spanning the kayad road I look over the handrail at the traffic below, the road is barely visible under what seems like a flock of motorized starlings migrating to escape the harsh winter. Everyone gripping the steering wheel seems to put their frustration on display through their driving. The white lines on the road are almost faded; maybe they're just tired of pleading the people to stay in their lane. I avert my gaze from all the hustle and bustle and make my way towards the sidewalk where I lower my head and immediately start scanning the pavement looking for the signs of deterioration I'm familiar with. Counting the third tile from the left of the parking payment machine, I notice the oddly shaped crack my friend and i have always argued about. I am quite sure it looks like an eye with its inner corner turned abnormally inwards but my friend believes it resembles a sparrow. I smile at the idea for she has always been a nature freak but the corners of my mouth twitch unconsciously as I do so. I heave a sigh and continue walking. I realize I am running late but this revelation doesn't stop me from lingering. As I turn a corner an easterly wind brings along the savory aroma of all the street food present. I feel a vague sense of familiarity, some fragments of a happy memory flicker before my eyes but they disappear before I can get a hold of them. I haven't even taken a few steps ahead when I spot a child ,not older than 5, who is playing with a ball and is eating a samosa simultaneously. He's certainly not good at multitasking for he accidentally throws the samosa in the air instead of the ball. The samosa falls to the ground and the child looks at me as if asking if he should pick it up and eat it but my eyes remain fixated at the samosa that has fallen. It's as if a closed door in my brain has opened, I drift off to a memory of me and my friend; it is 2015. The monsoon season .The only shelter my friend and I have from the downpour is a thin jacket that is draped over our heads. The rain seems to have dampened everything but our moods. Mr. Khalid, our van driver has just called telling us he'll be late, for his van broke down but this hasn't seemed to bother either of us, on the contrary we are delighted! As if on cue we spot a samosa stall and exchange knowing looks. Without a warning both of us sprint, splashing the water that has- like always- failed to drain, buy samosas, and then come back to our spot laughing ourselves hoarse, drenched in rain from head to toe. Someone's angry muttering brings me back to the present; I had been blocking the way. I look around for the child but he's nowhere to be seen, I'm glad the samosa is still there. I clutch the string of my bag even more tightly and continue walking. The grey concrete building has now come into my view. Instinctively, I reach out for the page in my bag and scan the words I had written with so much care. This will never be enough, I think to myself. I hold onto the parchment as if my life depends on it and resume walking. Someone hands me a brochure and just when I'm about to throw it away (like always) a familiar face catches my attention. I can't seem to remember who the person is but the flashy heading that reads "Rina's bakistry” instantly tells me about the person. I take a mental note to pay her a visit after a few days or maybe weeks, I don't know. My friend had always been Miss Rina's favorite, she was so fond of children and the fact that she didn't have her own glued the two of them together. She used to bake muffins for her every weekend and they used to joke about how Miss Rina would one day start a franchise. I really want to tell my friend that this is finally happening. I can't wait. My watch says its 3:15, I should hurry. My walk turns into a jog and in a matter of seconds I'm running like a crazy person. I run for all I am worth and alongside me -so it seems- runs the 5 year old I had once been, coming home from school. The echo of the smaller footsteps sounds haunting because the sprint of a 5 year old is triggered by happiness and glee whereas.... I stop in front of the grey building; the stitches on my sides prevent me from standing straight. I wait with my hands on my knees till my breathing eases. I crumple the paper that I had been reading and editing since yesterday and throw it into the sewer. I watch as the words dissolve into nothingness and the ink fades. Deciding I'll speak from my heart for the eulogy; I brace myself to say a final goodbye to my beloved friend.

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