This story was my entry to the Women’s Web Muse of the Month – October 2014 writing contest. And, the story made it to the top five 🙂 🙂 :).
October 21, 2014, 06:30 a.m.
Debina has spent all morning yesterday looking at the Women’s Web website, waiting for their Muse of the Month contest to begin. She’d won this contest some months ago, and even today, she proudly looks at the Flipkart voucher she won, that still sits unused in her wallet online. She has not had a chance to repeat that glorious feat again and this time she is determined to give it her best shot.
When the writing prompt finally appears, her mind starts to spin, looking around for stories. The writing cue for October’14 is “There’s only one thing more boring than listening to other people’s dreams, and that’s listening to their problems” from Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4. She has spent all of her time in the train, when travelling back home yesterday, and all her time at the gym thinking about what she could write. A couple of ideas float around in her head, but she is not convinced.
Today morning, when she drives herself to the station, and after she boards her train, she continues to think about it in her earphones and increases the volume to maximum; she needs the isolation this creates. All this while, she knows that it is going to be difficult.
She continues to think about the prompt and cannot help but agree with it. She is a listener by nature and has had a fair share of opportunities listening to people’s dreams and problems. But what irritates her right now is her inability to transform even one of these situations into a perfect story.
The train pulls into his station and he boards. Debina is fully aware of it but pretends not to be. From where she is sitting in the ladies compartment, Debina has the advantage of looking to see if he has boarded, without him knowing. In her heart, she hopes he will notice her not paying attention to him.
It becomes all the more difficult to think about the prompt now, because, with her heart in her throat, she is aware that in the next ten minutes they will pull into the station where she gets in. He stands before her, in clear view, and Debina wants to look at him, just one more time. But then, the memory of every morning of the last fifteen days comes back to her. Enough, Debina tells herself. She is not going to look at him, no matter what.
The train pulls into her station and from the corner of her eye, Debina looks around to see if she boards. She does not. Debina’s heart does a flip and a pirouette and her head sighs in disgust.
Debina gives in to heart’s relentless pursuing and lifts her head to look up at him. The train is waiting on her station for a little longer than usual and he cranes his neck searching for her. Debina sees in his eyes the restlessness for her that once was for Debina.
Her heart breaks into a devilish grin at the dejected look on his face; he was waiting for her to come, she did not, and now he is heartbroken.
A thought suddenly makes its way into Debina’s head. The prompt says that is boring to hear other people rant about their problems. What it does not talk about is the feeling that you get when you watch someone you hate in a problem.
Debina realizes she’s been looking at him when their eyes meet. In a white shirt with red stripes, and black trousers, he can still make her go weak in the knees.
Debina looks away from him with a stern expression on her face; she means to tell him that after breaking her heart, he deserved this. All of the last fifteen days, he’s made sure for Debina to see that he was very happy with her. His twinkling eyes then reminded Debina of the time when he had eyes only for her. As she looks at him wait for her, Debina is reminded of the time she has spent waiting for him.
The train then pulls into the station where Debina has to get down. Aware of his gaze on her, Debina’s lips curve into a small, sly grin – a victory grin that is meant to tell him that he cannot affect her anymore.
Debina gets down and restlessness grips her heart. A lone tear sliding down her cheek tells her that she is far from not being affected by him. Another tear acknowledges this.
And then a small smile on her face, which tells Debina that she may have found the story she is looking for.
The other stories that made it to the top five were worth a read too. You can read them here.