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Flash fiction: P Anil Prasad
(I wrote this story seven years back. Later it was included in the open story collection 'The Quake and other stories' published in 2012)

Photo: Public domain image from commons.wikimedia
Gopu sat in the cab to airport with a swollen heart. His mind hesitated to give up hope and his eyes scanned the streets for Vimala.

During the graduation days, more than two decades ago, Vimala was more than an intimate friend for him. He met her again that day morning among the reporters during a press conference convened by his company. Though their appearance had changed a lot over the years, they were able to recognize each other at the very first sight. Since it was a very importance conference and he was participating along with the chairman of his company, he was not able to have a personal talk with her. She was very active during the press conference and asked a couple of questions to him and the chairman with a hidden smile.

Gopu wanted to stay back at the conference room after the press meet. But unfortunately the chairman instructed him to follow him for another meeting. While they were leaving the room, she rushed near him and gave her card.

“thank you. I’ll ring you up later” – he could say only that much then. He had a very tight schedule till 2 pm and he had to catch the 4.15 pm return flight to Mumbai. After getting back to his hotel room around 2.15 pm, he searched his coat’s pockets for her card. He vaguely remembered he had put her card in his coat’s pocket. But it was not there. In desperation he searched the executive bag and all the folders in his hand. But he could not find it. He cursed himself for the absentmindedness. Now there was no way to connect her because only a couple of minutes left before leaving to airport.

He checked out of the hotel in a hurry and left for the airport in the Hotel's cab. Time was running out. He reminded the cab driver about his flight’s time. It would take minimum forty five minutes to reach the airport. While his car was speeding up towards airport, his mind went back to their college days.

Vimala and he became friends on the very first day in the graduation class. Their friendship grew stronger everyday. Both of them were studious and there were a lot of other similarities of tastes in between them; whether it was reading, eating, the manner in which they treat others and spending leisure time. In the class room, in the library, in the cafeteria, in the gym - everywhere they remained together. Still they forget to say something very important before she left the collage all of a sudden to join her father in UK where he was working in an MNC.

When he arrived at the airport, checking-in for his flight had commenced already. His boarding gate was fourteen. While he was moving towards the boarding area, he saw her walking into the aerobridge of gate number fifteen at a glance. Suddenly he called aloud in ecstasy ‘Vimalaaa…’ Only after calling her, he realized she could not hear him. While people stared at him with much amazement he said “sorry” in a murmur and walked into the waiting area of gate fourteen. From there he saw her flight taking off after fifteen minutes.
Thirty minutes later, while flying to Mumbai, keeping his eyes in the amazing formations of clouds he thought ‘ she is also flying somewhere in this sky'. Then he started to dream like a teenage lover.

#openstories #openfiction


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