Awed by your Odd – 365 Flash Fiction #33

It is late today as well. The days when I have a valid reason to not miss the right train, it will invariably be late. I guess the fact is that my valid reasons are not the basis on which the world around me runs. It has its own reasons and I am just a minuscule piece of this whole drama. It sucks, but you got to live with it. As I try to avoid the look of discontent in an early morning commute, my eyes fall on the nearest neatest soul in the platform, a well dressed lady reading a book. I look at her and smile thinking that she would look back at me. I cursed the author of the book for writing it so well that she does not even take her eyes from it to spot me and look into mine. Again the world conspires against me.

With two different kinds of discontents appearing on either side of my face, I should have looked quite like a cartoon character and I was not very sure how this is going to turn up by the time I hit the city. There comes the train, finally. As a second attempt to gain attention I stand tall and give way for the lady to get in and she does so with a smile of acknowledgement that faded faster than it came and without seeing how a smile grows in my face, she slipped in and lost somewhere in the empty seats.

As always being an early stop in the commute, I get seats to sit and this is the only time when I feel too much choices in life ruin the thrill. One good thing is I get to pick my companion for the rest of my journey and I always look around and with no specific idea for what I am looking I pick one. No one ever realizes when I sit next to them that they have been chosen by me from several others and I never try to divulge their selection and specialness to them. Today I did not have to make a choice as she had sat in a vacant seat that had space for one more person.

I mimicked my daily routine of looking around and went and sat next to her. The author with his villainous book was still keeping her away from me and she did not even notice that the benevolent big hearted guy who let her get in the train before him has obliged to sit next to her. She was more holding the author’s fond baby and immersed in it.

I look around and see that the train gets filled as usual with the next two stops and she does not seem to notice them either. I slowly look over the book and ask her “Is that a good book you are reading?”

She looks at me and with no expression of acquaintance takes out a toffee from her bag and gives it to me. She signs me to take it when she sees a puzzled looked in my face. I take toffee and read what is written on the wrapper “it just read Thank you”. When look back at her she was back to her book. Though I felt the urge to talk to her and ask her a few things, as I felt the toffee in my hand I wondered why she did not talk and just gave me the toffee. May be she was taught not to talk to strangers and she kept these toffees in her bag, all written with a Thank You note on the wrapper, so she could give it to any stranger who helped her. May be she kept it to get rid of strangers who she felt would pile on her if she talks.

When my stop came I got up and as I was getting out I looked back for a moment and I could see just an empty seat. I walked out and looked into the train and I could see her sitting in a different seat. She had changed her seat when I got down; I wonder if that has any meaning, I decided not to think much and accepted my inability to comprehend much of what is happening in this world

Written for Flash Fiction Friday Cycle 50

Categories: 365 Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction, Stories

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. Odd little moments from odd little people. I suppose that life is made of such and I too comprehend little of what is happening in this world. An interesting read, Thank you Vinod.

  2. Oh boy!!!
    This brought back some memories of a seriously messed up situation I had to suffer through. Was flying out of Austin, Texas one day and made the mistake of looking directly at a lady who out of the corner of my eye looked very much like my sister-in-law. My second mistake was that I looked long enough to make eye contact with her which seemed to have offended her greatly.
    After boarding the plane who do I find myself sitting beside but that very woman who made it a point of being rude to me when I had to slip by her to go to the bathroom. It got even worse because we were put into a holding pattern over Atlanta for so long that we had to turn around and land in Alabama to refuel.
    Not quite sure what I did to offend her but that flight and her are big reasons why I HATE flying.

  3. A decidedly odd woman, I agree.  I very enjoyed reading this Vinod… you kept me mesmerized the whole way through.  It had me wondering if the toffees were a device to allow the woman to be polite yet not run the risk of engaging in a conversation that could well take a turn (after all, one never knows who their travel companion really is!), or if perhaps, the woman could not speak?

    Very nicely done!

  4. Not only was the woman’s behavior with the toffee odd, but it was captivating as well.  I really enjoyed the ending, because there are so many things in this world where that is the only response, but the resonance for me is still coming with the idea of the toffee.  Just loved that.

    Nice work.

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