Continued from Twenty Five

The tall young man ran as fast as he could, dashing past rickshaws, buses, people. He wasn’t wearing any shoes, and so his sole burnt. He liked pain because it made him feel warm. He liked being warm and so he tried absorbing pain and continue running. He reached the outskirts of the city in no time. He saw rice fields, on both sides of the road, and mountain ranges far away. He thought he would explore them sometime. He stopped running, and walked on the sand on the side of the road. The sand was cool because of the trees on the side of the road was blocking all the heat from the sun. After a few minutes of walking he ended up in a barren area.

It was vacant and desolate. The soil was brown and dusty. He looked up to see blue sky and the sun shone into his eyes. He cupped his eyes to protect himself from the glare but still he had the corneal flash burns which blurred his vision for few seconds. He saw people from the corner of his eyes. He walked towards them but realized it was just a mirage. The tree stumps in the distance looked like people. The mid day air was hot and he was sweating. The breeze kicked up dust and got carried into his face. He cupped his face to protect his eyes. His eyes watered because the dust irritated his eyes. He let his eyes water for few seconds and then everything was alright. He looked to his right and saw a building made of sand.

He walked towards it and saw the door ajar. He pushed the door open and entered the building. The inside of the house was like that of a typical suburban house. The house was neatly arranged and he did not see a speck of dust on anything. The screen smelled of fresh wash and even the sofa had fresh cover on it. The kitchen was neatly arranged. He opened the cover of a vessel on the dining table but it was empty. He went to the guest room and saw the television running. Strange he thought.

“Hello”, he called out but did not get an answer. He sat on the red sofa and watched television. He felt drowsy and was drifting to sleep. He woke up to see the television still running. He thought he slept for a long time, but he hadn’t. He confirmed it by looking at his watch. The running must have made him tired he thought.

For some reasons unknown to him he felt contented. He looked around him. He thought the walls, the sofa, the bed looked familiar. He went to the bedroom and looked at the bed side table. There he saw an upturned photo album on the table. He picked it up and looked at it. He realized that his vision was blurring. He shook his head. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the girl in the picture who was holding hands with a tall man. The tall man was her father he gathered. But who was the little girl next to him? He strained his eyes and realized that he was looking at a picture of his wife taken during her childhood. He put the photo back on the table, and then he heard it rain outside the house.

He looked up at the ceiling and a drop of water fell into his eyes. He was about to rub it off when another drop fell into his face. The old man woke up and opened his eyes to reality without ever being able to open his eye lids. He felt ticklish again because of the water drop falling into his empty eye socket. He realized he was dreaming. He had dreamt before but this dream, he could remember every detail. He shook his head to remove the water drops from his eye socket. He remembered his wife’s picture. He thought had seen a butterfly sitting on her shoulder, and she was pointing at the butterfly. He smiled.