What does he have to do, he doesn’t know. Where does he have to go, he doesn’t care. He is too young to give a damn. Round and round he strolls and wildly he bloom. He keeps on walking towards the edge, unaware of the sun blazing his teary eyes, neither recalling the bloodshed of words with his parents downstairs nor about his learnings of desolation and of time.

Since 1993, he has gained nothing of value and has no experience, or so they claim. As time flies, he takes everything it brings for him. They say it shouldn’t be like this. He refuses, time and again. Soon, he is on the edge. He knows that in a few moments, he doesn’t have to care about anything.

Terraces, the higher, and the better. It is a kind of privacy he cannot detect in his room, nor on his balcony. He purely loves the cold, hard breeze, which just floats him away from all his thoughts albeit for a while, but when he simply want to shut his eyes and smile at the freedom around.

It is a broad afternoon after many cold nights and she did not want to miss out on basking in it, lost in her thoughts. Hobbes is lying by her side, on his back with his tongue hanging out and his paws punching the sun rays. She has her eyes shut, her one-earpiece-working earphones playing a Petrucci. It feels nice, she thinks to herself. The shade of the water tanks, the sun high above her and her best friend by her side. She feels content, she has a smile on her face.

It is only when she hears Hobbes’s bark does she open her eyes to see that he isn’t by her side but is happily jumping around a boy way ahead of where she is sitting, walking towards the railings. It isn’t like the boy, she observes, as he usually plays with Hobbes and talks to him at lengths. They personally haven’t talked yet, she knew he was shy, and finds him cute. But it isn’t like the boy to ignore Hobbes. She waits while she watches.

Hobbes is licking his hand, standing on the railing, while he sits on the other side, a beer in his hand. It hasn’t been long. Regardless, she gets up and brushes her jeans, lights herself a smoke and walks towards him.

She: Hi. Do you mind? *pointing towards the stubbed cigarette and the terrace end, enacting to throw it over*

He was not paying attention. He looks at her, sees her, and nods. She throws the cigarette and comes to stand a small distance away from the boy, leaning onto the railing with her hands in her pockets.

She: How come you are up here all alone?

He: Not really. I just needed some time to myself. I love the gust on this corner of the terrace.

She: Okay. Oh! Yeah, no kidding. I never noticed. I liked it the same everywhere.

They don’t speak for a while. Taking in the weather.

She: I cannot believe how quickly we all grew up. Do you? I think, I think it is ridiculous…

He: Yet, disappointing somehow.

She: Why do you say that?

He: No. That’s all right. I am sorry. You were saying?

She: No matter how much you want it. You will not be able to chase all your dreams. Aye! What do you think makes us great?

He: *staring blankly at her initially, then composing himself* Err, I don’t know. What is it, if there is anything?

She: That we just cannot stop trying to be like each other.

He: I don’t  think that’s true.

She: Why don’t you ponder over it for a while with your beer?

He looks at her, smiles weakly and goes back to his thoughts. She keeps staring at him. Hobbes still stands on the railing, but now he is distracted as he figures out the varying smell in the air. After a while…

He: Okay, think about it. Would you say that it is argumentative that to be a nice person, you have to have a negative, dominant at-times thinking process? Huh?

She: I am not sure. *looking away, meanwhile scratching Hobbes’s ears* I don’t care. I think I can think like a dog. It is a satisfying feeling. I don’t know about nice or bad… Wouldn’t want to.

He: I am sorry. You are one of the lucky ones. I am thinking that life is a loop. That this 24/7/365 thing is all there is to it. One year after the other. And that every day is about the same old things. Good bad, selfish considerate, love hatred… *swinging his arm in a circle*. Yes, we do get to choose, yes. But how long can a man exist?

She: If you think you are a nice person, then believe it. If you don’t, then convince yourself. From the looks of it, there isn’t much more you can do.

He: Yes yes, but only if you are a good person.

They looked at each other as he turned from the winds towards her. They both chuckled.

He: Hi, I am Kabir. It is a pleasure to meet you at last. We have never talked, now I cannot think of a reason why.

She: *laughing as she shook her hand and settled her hair behind her ears with another* Mariya. Trust me, the pleasure’s all mine.

Kabir: Oh. Golden Eye. Mr. Bond!

Mariya: I am sorry, what?

Kabir: That reminds me of James Bond. From the movie, Golden Eye? I am a huge fan. And now I am blabbering.

Mariya: Oh! No. But yeah, I didn’t know that. I haven’t seen his films.

Kabir: WHAT? *now fully facing her, wide-eyed* Not even one? How’s that possible?

Mariya: No.

Kabir: You have literally never had a crush on Mr. Bond? Fantasized about him? All right, have you at least read the books?

Mariya: No. And it’s all right. Don’t get heartbroken, but “we” do exist, and “we read other books apart from Ian Fleming’s. *almost hysterical* Why don’t you suggest me on where to begin the movies, that’d be a great help.

Kabir: Bloody yes, I would do that. I would have watched a marathon with you, only if you don’t mind? *casually enquiring by pointing at her; she shook her head* But I have an issue. I cannot watch a movie without subtitles. So my face is usually at the bottom of the screen, and I am softly lip-reading everything. It is irritating for others.

Mariya: *imitating him, going all wide-eyed and hand flapping* Ohmygod, you cannot watch a movie without subtitle? What are you saying? How you are even allowed to breathe? *both bursting out with laughter* I know, right? Hey! That’s completely all right with me. I am not going to judge you. No, seriously.

Kabir: Okay, all right. That’s adorably kind of you.

Mariya: Well, then, why don’t we? How about sometime this week?

Kabir: Oh yes, we shall do this. But I doubt I have much time. *looking down at his half-finished beer, frowning*

Mariya: Oh.

They paused, looking around. Kabir clearly lost in the winds again as he gulped down his bottle. Mariya, smiling to herself. Hobbes, chasing a moth trying to befriend him maybe.

Kabir: Uh, do you have another smoke, Mariya?

Mariya: Oh, yes. Here, I have it somewhere… here, yes.

Pulling out a double-pack. It was about half finished.

Kabir: Oh, this is my favorite too. *lighting himself one*

Mariya: Oh, that’s nice. Why’s that?

Kabir: Huh?

He is clearly stunned by the question. You see, when you ask someone for a smoke and you share the same brand, nobody really asks you as to why. It is a natural behavior. You simply start considering the requestor wise.

He lit the smoke, smiled at her.

Kabir: It is because it is strong and less tar. You know.

Mariya: No, it does not. How about *naming another brand*?

Kabir: *particularly puzzled* All right, all right. I surrender. I don’t know much about all this. We, me and my boys have had talks. I know this shit, I just don’t remember the shit. It is a good cigarette, ok.

Mariya: And do you like the taste? The flavor?

Kabir: Uh huh.

Mariya: Then that too.

She turns around, sees Hobbes spread out on the cold mud in the corner. She runs towards him and he jumps up in a playful stride. She pretends to dive at him, and he runs one way. Then the other. They start playing, Hobbes laughing, running around with his ear-flapping, barking at Kabir to join in. Then running away again from them both.

Mariya: *huffing* There is so much happening in every second, isn’t it? It will never cease to amaze me.

Kabir looked on, smiling at them.

Mariya: C’mon on. Join in already. Hobbes needs a challenge. There, look at that big ball of fur. *giving him her right-hand* Come here, get down here and chase him and let him chase you. He will love it. Who knows? You might start to like it again too.

Kabir smiles at the hand, then at her, and then at Hobbes in the middle of the terrace, looking towards them with his tongue hanging down, clearly laughing.

Kabir: I guess I will just sit here for now. I am sorry.

He turns towards the west towards the setting sun. Mariya sighs to herself, picks up her pint and goes back running towards Hobbes. Hobbes barks and starts to run away, enjoying the game.

Hobbes knows, they don’t. Kabir, that though is lost somewhere, he had just refused to hold the hand of his only hope. He is angry as to why when he is finally resolved on what needs to be done, when he has accepted the fact that there is no hope, his willingness showing its back to him. Why did he hate the fact that he refused to come down from the railing when she asked? He didn’t want to believe that he was already in love with this girl. Mariya, that though she is playing with me, at the back of her mind, she is confused. She cannot comprehend she fell in love with her the first time she saw him. How did she never pause to think about it? Why did she have to waste so much time? She cannot comprehend she hadn’t asked this boy out yet.

Hobbes keeps on running from one to the other, waiting patiently but laughing. Men and women are so different. Poles apart. But both have, without a doubt, love at first sight.

After a while…

Kabir: Okay.

Mariya and Hobbes stopped to look at him. He was facing them again.

Kabir: Assuming, just assuming *showing his palm* that I agree to help you with the James Bond franchise.

Mariya: Yes?

Kabir: Well, I demand something in return. I will be doing you a favor after all. *sounding more eager than confident*

Mariya: *pretending to be taken aback* Oh, of course. Right. Anything.

Kabir: Hmm, I don’t know. You tell me, right? Isn’t that the way it works.

Mariya: Ok. All right. Well, you really need a wardrobe makeover. No offense. *skittish at her promptness*

Kabir. Hey! Ouch! What do you mean? You wear similar fashion.

Mariya: Yes, yes, but these are my home clothes.

Kabir looked down at his baggy sweatshirt and baggy jeans.

Kabir: And what makes you think I was even going out somewhere?

Mariya: Wow! You really stay at home or come to the terrace every day after applying wax on your hair?

Kabir couldn’t stifle his laughter. Her eyes were sparkling.

Kabir: All right. I accept that. Fine. What do you suggest? Beforehand, I can say no and you will have to come up with something different to give me than a makeover.

Mariya: Deal, just hear me out. We can go out this weekend and find you something. If you are up for it?

Kabir: That doesn’t sound too bad. I want to see what you have in mind.

They keep staring at each other.

Mariya: But if you like it, you cannot stop me. You will have to listen to me till I get you sorted. Do you agree to those terms?

Kabir: Only if you promise that you won’t get pissed. I am known to be vexing.

Mariya. I won’t.

Kabir: Then it’s a date.

Mariya laughs earnestly, staring at his face, looking for answers. He looks back at her, calmly. She climbs down to sit on the railing herself, looking at Hobbes lying beneath her in her shade, clearly tired. He shuts his eyes.

Mariya: Well sure, it’s a date. But then what of your girlfriend? Won’t she get mad?

Kabir: WHAT?

Mariya: Your girlfriend? Won’t she get mad?

Kabir: What are you saying, madness? I don’t have a girlfriend. *aghast at her confrontation*

Mariya: Oh, I am sorry. Then why are you trying to jump?

Kabir: Oh my god. Hey! Wait, what do you mean, why are you trying… Yes, well… I am here for that, but not cause of my girlfriend. What is wrong with you? I am here because of my parents. I don’t have a girlfriend.

Mariya: Well, I am sorry. I just assumed. My bad. What happened between you and your parents?

Kabir: Oh, forget that. It’s a long story. Don’t bother yourself with all the rubbish.

Mariya: Okay. But whatever it is, don’t worry about it. It will be all right. It happens with all the kids. Every day. All around you.

Kabir: I know about THAT. You don’t know. You don’t understand *now, more to himself, staring into space* Yes, I guess it will be all right. That is why I am here. I think I know what will make it all right. *looking away at the twilight*

Mariya pauses. She doesn’t know what to say.

Mariya: Well, how about you tell me that story first? You clearly don’t have a better place to be, right? And I am here. I would love to know what is so different in your life. *clearly pulling his leg*

Kabir: Okay. Your seconds, your choice.

Mariya: Gorgeous. *climbing down the railing and walking towards the door* Okay, I want a beer first. I will go and get it. Do you want to come? Just 2 flight of stairs, to my fridge.

Hobbes shakes himself awake and starts to trot alongside her. Mariya asks him to “stay”. He obeys but stands there looking at her. Mariya looks at Kabir again, waiting for his answer.

Kabir: Oh, no. But I will be right here. I will be waiting. Ermm, Mariya, do you by any chance, have a spare pint?

Mariya: Sure. *turning away, sniggering to herself*

Kabir: What?

Mariya runs towards the door. She pauses at the door.

Kabir: What happened, tell me?

Mariya: Nothing. It means you are not going to jump.

She disappeared behind the door.

Hobbes comes back to Kabir and stares at him with his innocent eyes. Kabir smiles. Hobbes wags his tail, stands on the railing and licks Kabir’s hand. Kabir bends down to kiss him, ruffling his hair. Both laugh as they stare at the setting sun.


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