I remember that cold winter night, a night that will always keep a question open for me, What If………

As the train slowed down at the station, my eyes wearily opened to check the name of the station. That winter night was abnormally chilly and I was looking for a cup of tea. However, something on the station caught my attention and I could feel an involuntary smile appear on my lips. Through my half open eyes, I could see a face, a face that appeared so blank, but with eyes that were sparkling with some strange excitement, her colour was white as ivory which looked pale and sullen but there was something about those eyes that were saying a lot of things. She was standing near the tea stall wearing a grey shawl and blue denims.

The whole station was still in a deep slumber. Only a few tea stalls were busy serving the passengers of the train that had just come in. It seemed as if a shade of grey had engulfed the whole station with a few puffs of smoke billowing from the kerosene stoves of the tea vendors. A faint light from the distant sodium lamp was sneaking in from between the platform roof and the train ceiling. A mellowed noise was floating around. 

I stepped out of the train and was walking towards the tea stall, rather her. Her calm demeanor was uncanny and she appeared doped. However, I could still not fathom the excitement in her big round eyes. They were speaking a thousand words as if trying to say hi. Her short hair was falling over her face and made her look so mysterious. Her lips looked slender and wet. The light from the kerosene stove had light up her cheeks as if they were on fire. Her slightly raised eyebrows were surprisingly attractive. It seemed as if a life time had passed knowing this face.

Suddenly, she looked at me and a thin smile appeared on her lips, or so did I see. That was the moment, a few seconds when I spent a lifetime dreaming about that one smiling look, that one warm expression, as if asking me to come along to a dream world. It seemed I could spend the rest of my life just looking at that seemingly smiling face. There was something very sensuous about the whole moment and it made me go wild for a second, a second in which my whole life appeared to flash in front of me, right from those walks that I could take with her in our garden, the vacations I could enjoy with her, the greens and whites of the Himalayas that we could see together and to the festivals we would celebrate and the time we would spent together. I was already dreaming about my life with her. 

It had rekindled in me the passion of my first love, an affection, a zeal to do anything for her. I could feel that warmth run down my body and create a burning desire to walk up to her and just hold her in my arms. 

I was so lost in her looks that I did not even realize that the guard had blown his whistle and the train had just started moving. Time had flown by and the hour and minute hand of the clock were conspiring against my desire. I quickly got myself a cup of tea and rushed back. Something within me wanted me to turn back one last time and look at her, and may be stay back, a strong urge to call and reach out to her, but my mind kept racing against the train that was now catching speed. I was slowly running towards the door of my compartment with million thoughts crossing my mind and a decision that seemed so difficult to make, a decision whether to miss my train and go back to her. 

Finally I did what my mind said, I managed to jump onboard. Instantly I turned back to look at where I had left her and an immediate regret overshadowed my mind. She was indeed looking back at me. A look that I can never forget in my life, a look that seemed to say don’t go…….. I knew I will regret something for my life. I knew I will look back at that night again and again. 

As the train whistled out of the station, my trembling hands could not even go up to wave a bye. The face went farther and farther until it disappeared in the foggy night. I kept standing at the door for a long time, until the TTE came to request me to go back to my seat. 

I kept thinking about the whys and why nots till I slept off. That night ended soon, but it never did in my heart. 

Years have passed and much water has flown down the rivers but I still find myself standing at the door of that train looking at that face disappearing in the fog. I still wonder what would have been my story had I missed my train that day and went back to her. Did she really look back at me with those emotions? Could she be waiting for me? 

I remember that cold winter night, a night that will always haunt me with the questions that were left unanswered, What If………

About Author

Dipankar Mukherjee

Member Since: 14 Jan, 2014

"I'd like to be an adventurer. To follow the sun with nothing but a single suitcase, to have no idea at all of where I might be tomorrow."...

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