She rushed hurriedly through the narrow streets, crushing the crispy dying leaves of autumn under her feet, in the late evening. In the autumn flurries, her hair was tangled and lips chapped. Opening the door of a little bookshop, she looked around for a while, and then her eyes grabbed the attention of the book she needed. Hurriedly again, she made the purchase and walked herself out.
She continued with her walk ignoring everything and everyone about until she reached a coffee shop. She took the corner seat facing the window. After having her coffee arrived, she wrapped her cold hands around the coffee mug. Some things about her were very predictable. The coffee shop opened to a busy street. It was loud on the outside and quiet and warm on the inside as if the two different worlds were separated by a thin sheet of glass. The two worlds meet only in a glimpse, for a fraction when someone would open the door and the warmth goes out and the noise comes in. Watching through the window sipping her hot coffee, she got engrossed in her thoughts and felt awfully silent.
It seemed she was involuntarily looking out while the world around her was moving fast - the people were rushing by to reach somewhere, an old man reading the newspaper, the toddler skating his board, an old lady wrapping her coat tightly around, a girl waiting for someone across the street, the cleaning guy, a small kid selling flowers- may be the last batch of this season, the falling leaves and the dying grass on the sidewalk, the water hydrants, the sadness in the eyes, the curves of the smiles that reach the eyes, the warm souls, the empty shells, and all that cannot be described or otherwise comprehended. The world was happening around her and she was staring blankly in the void frozen in time.
The only thing that flaunted her being alive was her occasional sipping from the mug. Her eyes were the colour of the autumn that spoke the same language as that of something dying yet eloquently beautiful. Something in her was concealed yet quite notable. Was she indifferent to the world around?
There was some kind of apparent calmness and settlement in her aura. She emanated fragility in her every move and spoke perfection through her eyes. Her hands moved delicately from her coffee mug towards her bag. She pulled an old brown leather journal and a pen and started to ink down her mind. She wrote as if the world around her ceased to exist. For a moment, she forgot where she was and what she was doing? Her eyes radiated with the hope of something and her coffee was already cold like always. She looked at her watch, it was time for her to leave, it was the last train for the day. She got up, paid off her bill, grabbed her bag, smiled bleakly, and walked away not realizing that she left behind her coffee and her journal- both unfinished.
Later in the evening, engrossed in her numbed thoughts and fighting her own daemons, in the warm cozy bed, the barista opened the journal left behind by the girl in the coffee shop. Tossing and turning in the bed, she flipped through the journal pages and found herself reading between the lines. A lot she absorbed, a lot she imbibed, sometimes she paused, sometimes she paced, sometimes she teared up, sometimes she smiled, sometimes her heart raced, sometimes it almost stopped.
Struggling through the turmoil of emotions, not realizing the time, it was almost midnight, the journal was almost complete, and the barista was almost in love with her life again. She shrugged in the dim light and reached for the pen and jotted down something too in the journal and she almost finished it. She closed the journal and went out on the balcony. On the other side of the town, the other girl was looking for her journal, her lost and unfinished journal. Both the strangers sighed, looked at the stars, and there was hope and there were dreams in the eyes of both.
The next morning, the girl went to collect her journal from the coffee shop. The barista handed over the journal, they exchanged a warm smile through their eyes, the girl left, and both went about in their own two worlds. Later that night, in her safe haven, the girl found herself reading the note by the barista. She couldn’t help but read the lines over and again.
In the beautiful Edwardian style was written
“You don’t wait for the good to happen in your life, maybe you are the good you are waiting for, you happen to yourself and maybe you happen to others as their good they are waiting for. It is only your wishful thinking that makes you believe otherwise or that life would be better if certain things happen a certain way, but nay dear friend, you have lived so far without those certain things, those certain ways, those certain people happening to you and it couldn’t have been better because if it could have, it would have. You are not anyone’s responsibility but yours. It is your and only your obligation to make your life better, nothing less, nothing more. You have your own timeline of life and you are in competition with no one but you, why are you worrying? It balances out, always. Don’t be uncomfortable by the lack of perfection because it anyway does not exist, all you can do is sit back and relax and do your work sincerely and reach near perfection. All you are seeking is already within you, there is nothing outside. Just look within, it is all there. Be you bravely and gloriously, just like the moon that is unapologetically magnificent even when it is not full.
To finish the journal, the girl added one last line at the bottom of the note- “Let it unfold on its own and don’t coerce it, life has a habit of finding its way.”
The morning never felt that morning-y ever before and she never felt that free before. It was not an absolute euphoria but she felt home with herself. She was feeling just like the autumn around - the season of transition from warmth to cold, from life to death, only to rise again like the phoenix rising from dead ashes. No matter how long the trees hold on to the leaves, shedding off is not that bad after all, no matter how many skies fall or how quiet you feel inside out, the world does not cease to exist, the life does not cease to live and a dream does not cease to be. It goes on and it has to because in your resilience is your endurance.
Mariya Shafat Kirmani is Pursuing Ph. D., Department of Electronics and IT, University of Kashmir