It had stopped raining. A beautiful kind of hush had fallen, as if a lullaby had just concluded and a soothing sense of order had been infused on the surroundings.
They walked through a quiet by-lane, enveloped in a thick canopy of trees. Amidst the chirping birds that were on their way to roost, an occasional car whizzing by, or a rare squirrel running down the tree in search of nuts after a rain induced hiatus, there was only the sound of raindrops rolling off the tips of leaves, falling on the top of her open umbrella in an incessant steady beat.
She looked at him, clearly now, almost as if she were seeing him for the first time. He looked thinner than the last time, which was a while ago. They talked; he waving his hands about as he spoke; she, nodding occasionally. Beneath the talk were the smiles, the gentle gaze of their eyes on each other, the near accidental occasional brushing of her arm against his….the real communication. It reiterated the love that was as palpable as the morning sun, as real as the grass.. He could talk about anything, something, be interesting or boring…it didn’t matter. She could listen to him forever, holding this pearl of a moment suspended in mid-air, like the raindrop swinging from the tip of her open umbrella.
What mattered was only that they were connected….somehow, anyhow.
The feeling flowed through them strongly until the time to part arrived.
With practised nonchalance each walked away from the other, both feeling the wrench of parting.
No sooner had she turned at the block, he returned; he was everywhere…. in her breath,
in the air, in the gentle breeze that made the tiny hair on her arm tremble and yes…. in the droplets that fell relentlessly from the canopied trees onto her umbrella in a steady rhythm…
She knew then that the parting was real.
She also knew that it wasn’t.