This girl in my office. She is beautiful, attractive and I am infatuated with her even though I don’t even know her name. I sit on the ninth floor, she on sixth. Every morning, I take lift till the sixth floor, get out, pass via the pantry, where she sits, have one look at her, and then walk remaining three flight of stairs to the ninth floor. This has been my routine, for the past four weeks, since I joined this office and I have lost quite a few kilos.
I don’t know, normally I am a practical person, doing things with an end in mind. I am not impulsive, or emotional, or sentimental. But doing this, the sixth-floor morning ritual, even if entirely against that motto, somehow has become an exception. Every night I resolve to not repeat this folly, to get some sense, to lose this bad habit. Still, every morning, I forget this rationality and the last night’s resolve, skip the ninth floor button, make the detour to the sixth floor, and then take a walk just to have a look at her.
Sneaking around on that floor, I never go near to her, lest I will be taken for a stalker. I have a friend who sits there, on the same floor, lucky man. So, I go to his desk, say my good mornings, exchange mundane pleasantries while keeping one eye on where she sits. Having a look there, seeing her engrossed in her work, makes me fall in love with her, again and again. And when I see her, even from a distance, I realize, how beautiful she is.
She is as fair as the December snow. The fairness accentuated by her black curls falling on her face. She sits there, cross-legged, with a thoughtful gaze and an inquiring look on her face, her lips arched into a half smile, and face propped up on one hand supported on the desk. It makes me stop in my tracks, makes me freeze, and I realize how right that person was who proposed the concept of relativity of time —the effect of time dilation; because when I look at her, the time slows down, every moment lingers for eternity and I live a lifetime in each second spent watching her.
Sometimes, she is not there. That’s all right. I can wait till she comes back. This does not bother me, as I am a man of patience. What bothers me is when she comes, by accident, around me, near me. Like, a couple of days back, as I opened the door to the canteen, she was standing right there, coming from the opposite side, looking at me, waiting for me to get away; but I, dumbfounded and startled and stunned, just stared back, stared deep into her eyes, those deep brown eyes, it was like getting dissolved into a sea of warm milk -slowly, gradually.
It took me a few seconds to realize my folly. Embarrassed, I averted the gaze and stepped aside. She knew it by then. That I am one of them, the gazers. I have seen her, looking at my side a couple of times, checking if I am staring. I hope she does not misunderstand me. Certainly, I didn’t mean to disrespect, but I am guilty, I know, of staring at her. So, I have stopped taking detours these days. No more getting down on the sixth, walking to the ninth. Sometimes, I see her in the canteen, and my heart skips a beat. I hope I could talk to her, one day, tell her that I admire her. One day, perhaps.
. . .