I looked at the vacant seat as I entered the office. It had been a week now since she had left. But my eyes still followed that direction, where she used to sit.
It had become a habit of mine, since I saw her for the first time a month back. To see what she was doing. She had recently shifted and had the corner most seat on the floor. The wall facing, such that she had her back against the rest of the floor.
And sometimes I felt she had her back to the entire world.
She hardly talked to anybody. Her entire day was defined by a hermit-like schedule. She used to reach office at nine-fifteen in the morning and leave by around six thirty. In that duration, she used to get up only for a fixed number of times. For a morning meeting with her colleagues. Then for lunch and for snacks in the evening. And a couple more times in-between for refilling her water bottle and using the restroom. 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 and 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 can never touch. She was boxed in her routine. A thick glass-wall like routine around her that stopped anyone to come near to her.
A few times I happened to cross paths with her. Very rarely, though. I used to hope for such moments. Chances where I would have tried to observe her closely. Look at her face and peer into her eyes that were the only part of her face that was unmasked, exposed. Parts that could reveal deepest of her thoughts.
But this never happened. For she never looked at others. Her eyes always focused on her path, and the way ahead. 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 had known 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. But the office gossip remained. For days after she left. “She was having issues adjusting,” one of the colleagues said, “she wasn’t coping well.” “Maybe it was the depression that took her,” another chipped in. Later I overhead a girl talking about her. “She tried taking her life!”
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 to talk, tried to help, at least once.