Shadow Walking

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I saw you in a dream last night...

Submitted: January 11, 2019

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Submitted: January 11, 2019



“This music crept by me upon the waters,

Allaying both their fury and my passion

With its sweet air. Thence I have followed it,

Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone.

No, it begins again.”

-The Tempest, William Shakespeare


I saw you in a dream last night. I was having my breakfast in a hotel- the usual paratha and scrambled eggs with a hot cup of tea when you came in- took a sit in a corner of the street-side hotel, and you smiled- not at me, not at anyone in particular, but only to yourself, and the whole place gleamed with your ambience. Then I heard you talking, to the chairs there, and to the sunlight that would sparkle in through the small holes in the tin-shade hotel, and it sounded like music to my ears- music I always wanted to hear but could never hear until you came in. I took a sip of the tea, it was sweet and boiling hot steam getting all mixed up with the atmosphere- white hot steam mingling with the cold winter air. As the mist cleared, I looked up from my teacup to the bench which you were sitting on, but you were not there anymore. You were long gone.


I went to the same hotel 7 days onward, but could find you there no more.


Today was as boring as a day can possibly be. I did not go out at all. It was so cold outside, and I had no winter clothes. I ran my hand over the gathering dust on the bed sheet, and it made me feel unhygienic and uncomfortable. I was in no rush to clean it, though. The scent of the room was not particularly nice either: dead roaches and rotten skin, scavenged by early-rising omnivores in a first come first served basis. They have perfect discipline, I think. Lately I have none. Do roaches have restaurants and bartenders as well? Do they go to school and learn roachanities and modern sciences and e-commerce? I should wake up and brush my teeth, probably. But I feel too lazy to get up again.


The afternoons are as boring as day time. Except a few minutes of black coffee or Coca-Cola. Those moments are very exciting.


As the evening falls, all the busy birds of the city go back to their dens. Then the night announces that it’s the perfect time to go out to get some air and socialize because nobody would see my distorted, ugly face and even if they do, they’d be too tired to care anyway. The nights can give you the chills all year long, but this night was particularly soothing.


The first thing I saw was a limbless man, with two small stools supporting each of his hands. In order to move forward, he would move one stool before the other and move an arm forward in a walking motion. How far can he go like this within one hour? I ain’t got no clue, but it was an interesting thought to ponder on.


Next would come the woman with her two children and an infant, who would never leave her position on the sidewalk. In summer, she would wear a dirty cotton saree, but in winter she and her children were all covered in rugs. Positions are important here, and so is dirt. Dirt sells, but children sell the best. The roaches were our only mutual friend I guess, and maybe the dogs as well. Otherwise, we are worlds apart.


Light years apart. Children sell the best.


Soft newborn baby limbs resting within comfy winter quilts from Regal. Dirty little face exposed with sheer innocent gleaming and longing for mother’s milk and love. There is no mother here, but a rusty aluminium dishful of dirty notes and shiny coins. Here is the world’s prettiest little supermarket, and here are the people walking by, taking me


closer to you, and yet so far away. I try to remember the things you’d love to say to me today. Things you’d say to lift me up and make me feel okay again. Not happy, no, just a little more sane. The entrance of the park is dark and pretty, fairy lights announcing the end of the year and also the relentless victory of our fairy godmother who would show us the way to our prettiest and prosperous fairy-tale land. Here is a camel with a curvaceous hump on its back, and here is some sand. But then a middle-aged guy role-playing as the police started shouting at me and I was like what’s the matter dude, why are you shouting so and breaking the silent peace of this painful beautiful night? And he was like you can’t go through this road right now, important people are coming. So we both nodded in mutual understanding, even though we were too far apart to shake hands.


Just so you know, when important people come to visit your neighborhood, you must represent your best self and behave your best as well. Hunchback people like me would stand as straight as humanly possible, and people kneeling down taking a piss on the side of the street would do so in such an angle which would make the stream of their piss look golden under the sunlight or colorful in the nights via use of modern technology like multi colored laser lights etc.


Two identical twin teen sisters startled me then, as it reminded me of a horror movie I had watched lately. God are you playing games with me? Is this a sign or something? Am I supposed to feel scared? God did not answer, of course. Not even a good old chuckle, and I was so bored.


Where was I again? This bubbling boiling sound on the electric kettle was getting louder and louder, gotta oughta make my condensed milk tea before I dive into the shadow of the pool reflecting the tree leaves on a surreal hour thinking what would you say if I suddenly bumped into you here? Probably a sweetest wide smile walking side by side in this empty city, holding two cones of evergreen pistachio ice-cream, looking, or ‘shopping’ for images like good old Allen Ginsberg did in good old days. And when the two dogs started howling at me treating me as a terrorist invader I stood still and quiet for a moment and let them come closer to me, then gently cafunéd their head in palpable affection. Afterwards, they would follow me through the entire galaxy. Even while I’m walking through my favorite spot where I looked into your eyes and lost you forever. Even while all the humans are asleep in the darkness of the dawn and I’m walking alone, crying.


On my way back, I saw the limbless man again. He ‘walked’ about 300 meters within an hour- not bad for a man with no legs, don’t you think? I wonder what he will eat today. Did he drink enough water? Where does he sleep at night? Should I go talk to him or something? What am I supposed to say?


I saw you in a dream last night. As beautiful and lively and as capable of infusing an extraordinary feeling of belonging and nostalgia and serenity and a sweet, prolonged melancholy as ever.


And thus, when I finally wake up this morning, I promise not to ever lose you again.


?? Open up, let me in

Let's go down the waterfall

Have ourselves a good time

It's nothing at all

Nothing at all

Nothing at all ??

-Radiohead (I Might Be Wrong)

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