Stalking (Short Story)

I am a morning person. Everyday after the morning prayers, I go for a walk. I was witnessing something for the past week. When I reach the park for walk, I find a boy and a girl leaving for school. Their black shoes polished to shine like mirrors and their uniforms and badges are a sign of being in some school. After leaving their house together, they reach one end of the park before coming up to their bus stop. From the past week, I noticed one thing. After leaving home, they do head to the bus stop but after crossing two blocks, they enter a street on left. It is more like a narrow alley. From where I stand it was not visible what they do there. So out of curiosity, I took a long walk and ended on the bench from where I can see them and made sure that I remained out of sight myself. They followed the pattern of leaving the house together, waving goodbye to someone in the window and walking a block towards the bus stand and then turning into the alley. I was watching them. The boy removed his white school shirt. Underneath he was wearing a t-shirt. He handed the shirt to the girl who folded it and put that neatly in her bag. Then the boy crossed the alley and disappeared on the other side of the alley. The girl walked to the bus stop and hopped on the school bus when it arrived. I walked back home for another day.

The next dawn I altered my entire route. I was not in my workout clothes. The other end of the alley opened to a link road which connected to a main road. I reached the main road and sat on the bench of a bus stop. The other end of the alley was not visible to me. But if that boy follows his path, he was naturally to reach here. Sitting by road side and watching early morning crowd rushing to reach their battle-stations was thought provoking. There were so many characters for any story that I write and in all sizes and shapes too. It was the third day of my adventure. I looked at my watch again and again. I had assumed the time in which he would reach here. And my calculation was right. He reached there. He waited for a bus which when arrived, he climbed on it and was gone. The next day I went to the stop on time and waited for him. I signaled a rickshaw and settled a deal to follow someone. The driver was an old man. He agreed with no questions or hesitations. The boy came and boarded a bus. I signaled the driver. In no time we were tailing the bus. After half an hour we reached a place nicknamed for being the edge of posh area. It was a scar on the face of a planned neighborhood. Most of maids, servants and security guards working in the houses on the posh area lived in this neighborhood. There were meat shops, washing machine repair shops, vegetable and fruit shops etc. Flies were everywhere. I was praying deep inside that the boy doesn’t take us deep into this shitty neighborhood. Thankfully he didn’t. He went to a pharmacy and when he came out he had keys in his hands. He jumped on a bike and started it. My rickshaw was naturally a slower medium but against all odds, we tailed him to a park where he stopped his bike and went inside. There was a security guard at the gate. I pulled out a fifty rupee note and handed it to him and went inside. It was a girl he used to meet. At the far end of the park, under a tree they were sitting. Their bags lying next to them. Under that shade they must have made a hundred promises, maybe a thousand. They might want to relive this moment in years to come. Or they might regret this moment. Either way, this moment would carve something on their souls. Yet the kids don’t know it yet. Like a million ephemeral love stories, this one would be forgotten by it’s characters. But I won’t. It’s not my love story though it is my experience. Was it lust? Was it hormones? Was it really love? I could not tell just by looking at their smiling faces. I looked around. There were many more pairs of school and college bags in that park. It was startling only when a thought it him that does it mean many others like me were there too who skipped their morning walks and have stalked someone to reach here. I scanned around. I could find no one. I grabbed a bar of chocolate and headed home. 

Aamir Bilal