I stood aloof, leaning against a bridge railing, carrying the weight of an unexplained agony on my unsettled feet. The bridge held a befitting charm that opened scenes to a river below. Fleet of boats—all tiny in shapes, toured amidst the bluish ripples.
For the past few years I had been coming to this place and seen through the humdrum- a mass of tiny things bearing significance. This bridge had pulled onto itself a gathering of people from all walks of life. And in the course of time a tinge of other people's breath had brushed against my shoulder.
Today as I stood beside the bridge, I watched a bunch of youths loitering around, stealing glances at the river below. Poses had spun up; a multitude of them, while the camera snapped and smiles flashed. They might have looked funny but they were having their moments of joy together. Something to keep with them even ages later.
A car dropped by a few yards away and its doors opened to reveal three tiny figures; all merry except the bland form of their supposed father. They almost hopped out from their car and ran over to the bridge, giggling and shouting and carrying melted ice-creams. Speaking of children, a horde of them peeped out from the windows of a large school bus that had just crossed the bridge. I could make out their faces that had dropped smiles and laughter on the way.The day was supposed to be a picnic trip for them. A friend had told so. Guess they were returning from that.
There was a strolling couple, their hands intertwined and their feet tracing the colour of dusk on the tiny pebbles. Content were their faces, their voices contained in the realm of their own shadows, tilting and shifting their heads slightly as they talked. Against the backdrop of a smooth sun- stained sky, their subtle romance was a perfect fit.
A life lay sprawled even underneath the bridge. For the boats took off at dusk with passengers as jolly as the sprinting fishes around them. Voices rose from the boats and reached the bridge above, their happiness a silent brawl against the darkness that had started to form. Few of them waved at me even. And my hands lay stiff unable to form the shape of a wave, hence I smiled instead.
"Ahoy there, lovely people at the bridge! May the upcoming evening fill you with peace and you sing with your heart's content with the breeze!" One of them shouted.
"Shut up Jacob! You ruin poetry!" Another one said and all the people on the boat laughed.
I watched their silhouettes go dimmer with the distance until they disappeared. The recent wish from the unknown traveller was still forming echoes in my numb ears. It had a gentleness which felt almost like hope. What had he said exactly? For the upcoming evening to be peaceful? Right? Yeah. Lovely thought it was. And maybe on other days I could have dreamt of such an evening. What with steaming cups of coffee beside the fireplace. And a comforter to keep me warm at my home. But this was unlike the other evenings. This was one with partings and goodbyes. This was an evening of exiting old homes and travelling to new ones. Before the night settled in, I was to leave this town with my family, never to come back again.
I stepped away from the bridge and tried motioning my limbs to take me away. It was slow but I was backing away swiftly. The darkness had engulfed most parts nearby but a few of those were still bathing with a sublime tint of sunset. Before I completely took off from the place, I paused to have a final glimpse of it. The bridge that sat above an average blueness had stolen some shine of the deceased sun. It was glowing as if in adieu. A perfect home for worrisome days— this had been my go to place. And it was finally time to take a leave from it.
I left it with a hope though. The kind of hope that brings back people to their old homes. I felt a slice of it in the breeze, against the backdrop of a plain evening that eventually unfolded a region of stars above.