“You know who would’ve met you halfway?
A worm whose tail wasn’t caught in a trap.
And I am a worm that is bait.
If we must meet, you have to cover the entire distance yourself. On foot. There will be patches of grassy land and there will be miles of white sands scorching under the sun. And no direction.”
She said this and other such profound sounding words which struggled to create meaning while concealing absence of thought.
He heard naught.
He only stared fixedly at the patterns her voice made – sometimes scattering about in the sunshine like droplets of a fountain, sometimes, taking on the sun itself as a giant chicken-cloud, sometimes, creating whirlpools of sounds one would be wary of going near. He just sat back in the wicker chair watching as each new shape emerged and vanished. Sometimes, he held out his hands and let the shapes come and rest in his palms, and the would invariably vanish the moment he thought of holding them a little longer.
He started thinking of ways to make those shapes stay. Would they like to live on in a glass bottle; a wooden box perhaps; or a canvas maybe.
He liked the idea of a canvas, and he set up his easel and the palette of colours – fields of poppy, of mustard, of cotton, grapevines – waited for her voice.
The force of her arrival pushed him back a step or two. He called out to her and she only smiled in reply. He asked her if she was well, and she smiled some more.
He knew that those fields of poppy, mustard, cotton, would now lie in wait forever. That the canvas that lay in wait for her voice would be blank; perhaps the ghosts of those shapes will continue to haunt it. It troubled him.
It troubled him more because he knew.
He knew that there was nothing more beautiful about her than her departure.
She snatched a fistful of earth from beneath his feet as she left. His world shook in wonderment of what a little wave could do.