A big Hi to all romance lovers out there. It’s Monday again folks but keep the blues away. Feel romantic, feel inspired with yet another flash from a pool of short romantic stories.
Today’s flash is all about love, loss, and hope.
Title: It’s Never Too Late
She would sit on the bench at the bus stop. The same stop from where I used to catch my bus to my workplace, a computer hardware repair shop.
Gracefully dressed in a flowery dress, with her burgundy-dyed hair tied in a neat bun, an umbrella in one hand and a book in other, was she waiting for the bus?
No. I could say that because I had observed her one whole day.
It was Sunday evening. I visited the bus stop out of curiosity, to see if she was there or not. And she was there.
People came and went, but she didn’t go anywhere, just kept on sitting there.
The sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds, and a few moments later it started raining heavily. I couldn’t see her umbrella. Perhaps she forgot to bring it that day, but luckily, I had mine.
Crossing the road, I reached the bench. She smiled at me.
“Hello, miss.” I sat next to her, covering both of us under my umbrella.
“Radha. You can call me by my name.”
I hesitated to call her by name.
“Oh. Don’t mind. This is the problem with this young generation. I have a niece of your age, and she calls me by my name.”
“Oh, okay, Radha. So, how are you?”
“I’m fine, young boy. Can’t you see—healthy like a horse.” A toothless grin wrinkled the corners of her eyes.
“Where do you live?” I asked, looking at her while she drifted her stare from my face to the rain-swept road. Water droplets played pitter-patter on the flimsy tin roofing of the bus stop as the evening crowd thinned and people ran to shelters.
“Just a couple of blocks away, down the road.” She gestured towards the left side.
“Great. I see you here every day. You aren’t planning to go somewhere, are you? I probably can help you. I have a bus timetable handy, on my mobile phone. Do you mind sharing with me where you want to go, and I can tell you which number bus goes to which place.”
“Oh, son, I’m waiting for someone.”
“Waiting for someone? Who, and how long are you going to wait?” I asked, looking at the almost deserted road.
“Till the sun goes down. He promised me he’ll come with the moon.”
“Come with the moon?” I couldn’t understand, and shot another question. “Do you wait here every day?”
The comforting tone of her voice piqued my curiosity.
“How long have you been waiting?”
“For the past forty years.” She cleared her throat.
I couldn’t ask anything else. We sat there for a while in silence, gazing at the wet road.
The rain subsided. I requested for the old woman to keep my umbrella, and promised her that I would take it back the next day.
On my way home, inconspicuous thoughts about the old woman and the person she was waiting for clustered my mind.
I heard a male voice, footsteps approaching. I turned around and noticed an old man walking in my direction. He stopped at a hand’s distance from me.
Head covered in a leather flat cap, wearing a raincoat, he smiled, looking at me.
“Hello! Young man. Can I walk with you a couple of steps?”
“Oh yeah. Sure, of course.”
For a moment, I hesitated, but then started walking along with him.
After talking about inconsequential things like where I live, and what I do, he asked, “So, what did Radha tell you?”
“You know her?” A thousand volts of electric current hit me like a thunderbolt.
“Yeah. I used to love her. In fact, I still love her.”
“Oh, so she was waiting for you?”
“She was waiting for my brother, whom she loved, but he cheated on her, and married another woman, rich and spoiled, who later cheated on him. They divorced after a few years of their marriage. He regretted cheating on Radha, and couldn’t muster the courage to face her. He couldn’t face the reality of life, and killed himself by overdosing on his antidepressants a couple of years after his divorce. The coward.”
“And you?” I smirked.
He inhaled a deep breath and blew out slowly. “A coward too. I could never express my feelings to her, just kept on seeing her from afar.”
“Cowards never confess their weaknesses to others. Perhaps you waited for the right time. Perhaps now is the time.”
“Yes, you’re right. It’s never too late.”
And with that, he turned back and left the street. I stood there, smiling, hearing his thumping steps of triumph.
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