The Vacant Seat – A love story
. . .
I stole a look towards her desk. It was empty. A long week had passed and she hadn’t turned up. I felt a strange emptiness filling inside my body. The realization sunk in. She was gone. Two days later, I heard that she moved to a different city. But my eyes still wandered in that direction, where she used to sit.
Since I saw her for the first time, it became a routine, a ritual, to look at her side. To see what she was up to. I didn’t stalk her, or gazed her in a way to make her uncomfortable. I would never do that. But time and again, when she happened to fall in my line of sight, I couldn’t ignore her.
She was new to the seventh floor. And she had the corner most seat. The one facing the wall. The way her desk was positioned, she had her back against the rest of the floor.
And sometimes I felt she had her back against the rest of the world.
She hardly talked to anybody. Her entire day defined by a hermit like schedule. She used to reach office at nine-fifteen in the morning, and leave by around six thirty. Between this duration, she would get up only for a fixed number of times -for a morning department meeting, for lunch and for the evening snack, and one more time for refilling her water bottle. Apart from that, it was she and the computer screen facing her.
Since I saw her I had a deep desire to talk to her, to know her, to look beneath the hard visage she had put on for the rest of the world. I wanted to know what she thinks, how she thinks. I wanted to talk to her for hours, listen to each and every word that might come out of her mouth.
But she was like that doll that is encased in a glass, which you can only see, but never touch. She was boxed in her routine -a thick glass-wall like routine.
A few times I happened to cross paths with her, very rarely though. I used to hope for such moments, such chances where I would have tried to look into her eyes, maybe initiate a conversation.
But this never happened. For she never looked at others, her eyes focused on her path, and only her path. It was like she didn’t want to look at me, or any other human being in fact.
I didn’t know she was leaving the company, that these were her last few days here. On her last day, I had left early, to meet some friends. Only if I knew that it was her last day, I would have tried to talk to her, about something, anything.
Only when she didn’t turn up for office the next couple of days I came to know that she had left the office, left the city.
I was heartbroken. All the while she was here I kept on finding reasons that why approaching her was a bad idea, that she might not like it, that she might feel stalked. But now when she has left, I only wish that I should have tried, at least once.