His head resting on the window sill, arms akimbo, eyes staring but not really seeing, he greeted the dusk. From the distant mosque, the faithful were being called to prayers by that soul-wrenching voice as the night birds began circling the minarets in the golden evening sky. The single street lamp slowly came to life, flickering once, twice. Its bleak glow illuminated the heavy pall of dust hanging in the air and he blinked suddenly.
Somewhere across that landscape, among the millions of people teeming in the city, she was there. He could imagine her at work, her head bowed in that peculiar intensity of concentration that boded ill if disturbed. The dark shiny bob of her hair would ripple downwards, but there would always be a wisp tucked behind her ear, thinking of which almost tore at his heart. The graceful arc of her cheeks framed a face that was… he thought himself inadequate when trying to describe her in words and instead, he closed his eyes, almost as if in worship.
His friend, wooden and reticent at the best of times, had actually gasped when he’d seen her for the first time. The memory brought another faint smile to his lips as he wondered how innocence, naughtiness and a deeper hint of mystery managed to express themselves simultaneously in those eyes. Even now, he could feel his heart beating slowly but ever so loudly as he contemplated… her, almost like she was right in front of him. To him, she was. Everywhere he looked.
The cards announcing their marriage were stacked in neat bundles in different parts of the room. Just thinking about that day sent shivers down his spine. Marriage! He was getting married, and to her! The reception would be spectacular; he’d made sure of it by reserving the best hall in the city for the evening. The honeymoon was to be in
“Beautiful”, he thought… just like her… but she was more than beautiful, she was…
The first man to enter the room also gasped when he saw her, or rather the photos of her covering every square inch of the room. Then, the smell hit him and he gagged, and almost immediately retched noisily as he saw the figure by the window sill, the sunlight pouring into the muggy room.
“Crazy fucker…” muttered the inspector half-pityingly, glancing at the invitation card and air-tickets as he drove away. But he too found it hard not to think of her face… especially since it was plastered across the billboard announcing the release of her next movie.