The Trance of Rhythm | A Short Story

Although I’ve graduated from school, the memories haven’t. A handful of people, who never really mattered, have hosted their interventions to guilt me into believing that I’m a relic, trying to live in an era that is lost. Well, to be honest, even though that’s not how I exactly lead my life, I’m happy either way. I was never one of those who could forget things easily. Back then, peers and knowns embarked their cycle of commitments, breakups, and patch-ups, while I silently learnt their lessons on the sidelines. Down the road, it did engulf me as well; longing, for someone.

I confessed this a long time ago, yet the yearning to etch it somewhere remained. These trying times luckily united me with a feeling, and I decided to put it to action. Even if you fear judgement, or somehow believe that your desire is for naught, you've got to keep moving, gracefully than ever. Apart from the uncalled wisdom, I hope she does read this, completely.

Back in school, there was this particular person. All of us grew in our own ways, throughout the years. Yet, her evolution was prominent and dazzling. I’ll tell you how.

The first time I saw her was when we were in Class 2nd or 3rd, on our ‘middle school’ building’s 2nd floor. You know how memories fade, and I don’t exactly remember the details, but that was the first time I had a glimpse of her. Innocent and foolish, just like all of us. Later on, we made it to 3rd and then 4th, and our classrooms reached the ground floor in front of the nursery hall. I didn’t see her again until Class 6th.

I had this friend of mine, best friend. After staying together till Class 5th, our classes got shuffled. It was heartbreaking; priorities had since then changed for many. After deciding to visit my friend, I reached his new classroom, peeked inside, and there, there she was! I asked him, “Do you know her?!” and he replied, “We share the ride back home”. To see her after years was magical, because usually people just disappear but she, she remained. I saw her smiling, and I blushed.

Days went by; word was that she got into a relationship. Shattered; I walked on. Needless to say, this revelation did get me into conflicts, since I knew how toxic her new circle/person was. You got it, actual fistfights, kicks, master-locks, and me grovelling on the ground by accident, right at my opponent's feet, thanks to poor body manoeuvring of a best friend of mine. Trust me, at one point, it looked as if I was begging my landlord to extend the lease of my house. Looking back, all of it was unnecessary but funny, and inevitable.

Class 7th and 8th were my closing time. Unknowingly, I kept on trying to befriend her in the most foolish ways. She was beautiful and pretty. Moreover, as my peers would always mention, she was a Punjaban. Outspoken and enthusiastic, and that’s what held me in her awe. Anyway, after I cleared Class 8th, it was over. No more of it.

I had no contact with her. All I heard was that she lived her life, with every setback. Life, friends, boyfriend, and a lot more was problematic and cumbersome to her, but the important part was, she did have friends with her. I simply looked the other way; my way. We mustn't forget, even I had a path to walk on, and even though I had balanced all aspects of my life well, it was time to get a little more serious for myself, and I did.

We’re now in Class 11th, and before we knew it, farewell arrived for the senior batch. Teachers told us to prepare performances. Songs, dances, games, and all of it. She was on the dance team. While practising for my performance, I used to wonder how she’d be doing. “Has she prepared the dance? Have they completed the choreography? Man, what’s their song?” Thing is, I may not have been a professional dancer physically, but I was one by heart. I feel music, reverberating through me. You know it, how our soul excites itself at every beat, experiencing divinity. Farewell? It began now.

On a whimsical and magical December morning, all of us entered the school, royally dressed. Be it juniors, seniors, parents, or teachers, we were at our best. I wondered where she was. Right before performing, we clicked photos by the Olive Anthony Block, a recently built building to extend our school infrastructure, and got ready for our thing. With no air conditioning in place, we entered the magnanimous auditorium. Kudos to the school for the grand setup; it was winters, so it all worked out.

After the speeches, it was time for the dance performance, and there, there she was. She was, you know, how do I explain? In her element. I don’t know how much they practised or whether they knew their steps, but she, she was excellent. Her every move was like the nimble air flowing smoothly all around; effortless. I was amazed, and so were the others. Looking at the performance overall, there were many weak points, but her dance was flawless, to me.

A couple of months later, as we momentarily grew out of brooding about the inevitability of our upcoming farewell next year, Talent Contest arrived. Everybody got busy preparing, and yet again, I wondered what she’d perform. No cliffhangers here, she performed a stark and dynamic style of dance with her crew. I’m going be honest, I get rapt when I think of that performance. Back at that moment, I couldn’t get my eyes off her. Every move, step, and timing was just, astonishing! Above all, her looks, the expressions; I was captivated.

We had a lot of amazing dancers in our school, but that grace, I fell in love with it. Raw infatuation with that style, the finesse, I could go on and on about it. Breathtaking. Moreover, her team won the contest. Choreography is one thing, and execution different altogether. Perfect execution can make even simple steps seem stupefying. Their dance was complex and beautifully performed. Since that day, I’m her greatest fan. I can’t wait to see her dance again someday.

We’ve never really talked to each other. Yet, I’ve always wanted to confess this. Since day one, she's been somewhere in my mind, and as time passed, the impression grew.

Picture a scene in your mind. A garden full of flowers, lush green foliage, and evergreen trees. It’s drizzling, with sunlight mingling along with the rain. A rainbow originating from the trees and ending over a lake. You find a blossomed rose, go closer to it and look at its dewdrops laden crimson petals, right by a clear lake holding your crisp reflection. Birds chirping and frolicking under the sprinkling shower. This vista, it’s her.

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Abhinav Thakur

I exist in a myriad of lies.
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