Under the moonlit sky he sat. Star gazing. Finding constellations.
He knew only two.
With each passing moment, the clouds went thinner. The moon shimmered gallantly across the sky in all its prime. “Jeez! So shameful of you. Showing off the borrowed aura.” He smirked under his breath.
Everybody was asleep downstairs. Anshul, Hina and Shikha. The day has been such, long and tiring. They were lucky to get cozy enough hotel rooms. The trip was going on pretty smooth; keeping in mind the last minute planning which materialized it.
His hands reached to the corner of his rolled sleeves and sneaked out a cigarette. Took him a while to realize that the matchbox was missing. He tried to remind himself why this trip was so important. Couldn’t come up with an answer though. He stared blankly over his shoulder. “You needed it, that’s why it was so important.” a voice replied from the other side. He smiled and turned towards it.
“I didn’t know you were there.”
He sighed as he looked away.
“I guess I knew, but didn’t want you to. I am in no mood of lectures.”
“How could I give you one? You are an intelligent person.
The night is beautiful ain’t it?”
He looked back at the sky. The view was mesmerizing indeed. He couldn’t remember the last time when he saw a star studded sky.
“When was the last time you saw a star studded sky?” the voice silently echoed in the shadows.
“Will you stop doing that?”
“Reading my mind!”
It giggled. “Reading your mind? Your face is like an open book. I just saw the lost look on your face when you looked at the stars in the sky.”
He felt irritated. “What do you want? Can’t you you just go away? Have some rest.”
“I am going away. You know that.”
He kept staring at the infinite sky.
He took his time to absorb the last statement and slowly stood up. He felt goosebumps all over his body. Just couldn’t decide if it was because of the sudden cold breeze or what he just heard. The hotel terrace appeared too small. He found his heart pounding heavier.
“Just take a deep breath. It’s going to be OK.” the voice whispered.
“OK?” He felt amused and agitated simultaneously.
“How could you decide to leave all of a sudden?”
“It’s not my decision to make. You don’t need me any more.” It sounded mellow.
“Did I say I don’t need you.” He felt that it came out a bit louder than normal.
“You’ll never say it. But I am not blind. I am holding you back. Won’t bring any good to you.” the voice drowned.
He realized that it doesn’t want to fade away. He calmly replied.
“You are wrong. You aren’t holding me back.
In fact, you have always been my strength.
You should have realized it by now. Or I must have failed to convey it to you.”
“Don’t smooth talk me. These are all last ditch efforts you are trying to make. They sound pathetic do you know that?”
It came out in a chilling manner. He froze back at those words.
Because you took this trip due to it.
You know the answer to the question which has been troubling you all along.
You just don’t have the guts to accept that it’s the answer.”
He didn’t know how to respond. He still wasn’t able to figure out why this trip was so important for him. Why did he need it? Where is he right now and why is he there of all places?
With a silence capturing the atmosphere, his eyes wandered off amidst the stars again, as his mind tried to answer all the questions and his consciousness slowly drifted away a few years back in time.