It’s been seventeen years since I last visited Mumbai and, tonight, as I feasted over my dinner, a remarkably familiar face surprised itself into my view.
“It’s beautiful out here, at this time of night”, she said, as the stars twinkled in agreement and the moon set with a smile.
I hadn’t seen her for many years, but we struck up our conversation as though she’d just been in the next room for the last decade and a bit. I wasn’t shy, but I also wasn’t hopeful. Her life had moved on, while mine had lingered over the dreams I’d kept within for far too long.
Had I known that she would not change at all, I’d have been a lot more careful about agreeing to let her join me for coffee. But there was a familiar comfort in her urgently whimsical ways, and that unforgettable lilt in her voice that turned every sentence into a novel I just had to read.
But we weren’t here, stuck in this musty room, for sentimental reasons. I had not arrived to revisit old times, and she wasn’t very much keen on digging up the skeletons she’d taken pains over burying. I know it had killed a part of her that she just learnt to let go of, over time.
While people rumbled along through the streets below us, and the world continued to turn, I couldn’t help but wish that her gaze was reserved for me, and that this moment could be captured, stop-frame animation style, to last forever.
But she didn’t care. She was happy to let this time flip past like the tick of a hand and the waves of an ocean. As we made gentle conversation over the things that didn’t matter and on current affairs that interested neither of us, I couldn’t help but laugh at her ability to smile, even when it wasn’t a very kind world we spoke of.
Before I knew it, she was gone. Lost again to the world of noise and nuance and I…I would retreat, to a world of just me. The stony silences of 2am would swarm my head like bees on honey, and berate me for being so stupid, so long ago. I would retreat back to the world behind my life lens, and I’d never see her again.
This post is part of a collaborative blogging process we like to call Tandemonium. Each week, 9 writers craft a piece in accordance with a specific title that’s secretly distributed to us. Without sight of each other’s work beforehand, everyone hits publish at 7pm, every Wednesday. You can catch up with the other participating writers here:
10 thoughts on “Mumbai”
Wow! What writing. This line right here? SUBLIME!! “and that unforgettable lilt in her voice that turned every sentence into a novel I just had to read.”
“Lilt”!!? What a word!
Such a great post. I felt it was the opening sequence to chapter 3 of a brilliant novel. And I am assuming you were writing from the perspective of a male? Just curious… And don’t mean to be sexist whatsoever…
“Lilt” is one of my all time favourite words. 🙂
And yeah, I am. Take this piece in contrast to last week’s piece and you might just see… they’re alternative tellings of the same story 🙂
Flip, you. This is gorgeous.
The picture is stunning and loved this line: As we made gentle conversation over the things that didn’t matter and on current affairs that interested neither of us, I couldn’t help but laugh at her ability to smile, even when it wasn’t a very kind world we spoke of.
Well done – this is such a great piece – i am truly in the presence of champions
love brett fish
needing to seriously level up my writing game.
Dude, that means so much. Thank you. XXX
Oh totally. The connection between the two posts. Magical.
Caaaaath! I need the chapter/s before this and the rest. Stunning writing.
I think this might be becoming a story all on its own! Heeehee. Thanks for reading 🙂
Tonight you have weaved such stunning rhythm and dreams with your words, so sentimental and the feels! My god, woman! The feels!