A Story by Swagato Saha

To my friend, since this year, like every other year, will draw to a close, and in case, we never talk again...

I guess I could try to sum up how the past 12 months have been, if it weren't such an effort. As if I could perfectly encapsulate the rollercoaster of a year it's been, much like the rest of my teenage years. Ah the multitude of emotions I've felt, that I never knew I could feel.

Or maybe it's all adolescent bandwagon to be forgotten in the face of better, brighter times to come. I fear there's so much I'll forget so soon, as I see Autumn's leaves being swept away by the northern winds. I suppose you remember very well the self-proclaimed cynic I used to be. Used to be. A fine late October twilight was all it took to break through that stubborn veil of cynical pretence and rouse the romantic in me. That, and some Keats. And I hope, what I'm about to share now, tickles the rebel in you, too.

It was sometime in October, a Wednesday, I recall. And it was nearly twilight. Troubled as I was, as I had been, for over a year, I was aware that these were my final days in school, as were my friends. And so, after hours of incessant problem solving, and benzene rings, obsessing over abscissa and ordinates, and... you know I could go on... anyway, it was a rare moment of respite, as our English teacher walked in.
I thought of how dearly I'm gonna miss our classroom, with the great glass windows, and the parted curtains, and I guess it takes a depressed soul to perceive the myriad metaphors that surround us, in our mundane, everyday lives. And there I was, looking through the window, pondering the symbolism of the setting sun, and my soon-to-be-over school life, and cringing at how cliched it sounded. Yet, there was something about that late Wednesday afternoon, something so surreal, so pleasant, that not even my more ambitious peers, working their way through MCQs undercover, could resist. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." , read our teacher, "Its loveliness increases..."

Those at the very front scrambled through their belongings looking for their textbooks, whilst those at the back went back to their Calculus. like and old friend to me. Much like everyone else, we had drifted apart over the months, yet I have known, for a while now, that it's something I can lean back on even when everything and everyone in the world has let me down, that it's my safe haven. And I sat there, somewhat pensive, trying to string together cliched phrases into less cliched verses, desperately seeking inspiration.

I heard them reminisce about merrier yesteryears in school, of pubescent notoriety and exploits, of daydreams, and incomplete fantasies, love interests and unrequited emotions and what not. To anybody overheating us, we probably sounded like cranky octogenarians whining about their lost youth. Amidst all that, someone somewhere started humming a beautiful tune, a tune so endearingly familiar...that I couldn't quite place. Adding my two cents to the ensuing conversation, I took a long hard stare across the classroom, at our teacher who I learn was reciting one of Keats's classics, at the blackboard rather worn down, my peers whom I wish I knew better, and the classroom basking in the scarlet sunlight, ablaze with a million adolescent dreams, and promises to change the world. It all seemed so surreal to me, yet so endearingly familiar that I wished we could remain our seventeen year old selves forever. I closed my eyes, to live my own fantasies, savouring every verse, as I soared higher than I have in ages.
I saw my childhood flash before my eyes, the teary child, those uneasy steps, the first times, old times, old friends, the ground that has sheltered many-a-merry hours, and amidst the plethora of snapshots and faces that invaded my senses, I saw hers...

And, in that moment, as the final bell rang firmly, breaking our trance; in that very moment, it all made sense.
I turned to face the horizon, now darkening, and the classroom, almost empty. And I hurried down the stairs, faster than I ever have, searching the crowd for the one person that mattered.
And amidst the frenzied pandemonium, and a zillion blurry faces, I saw...I caught a fleeting glimpse, and then she was no more; disappearing into one of the many labyrinths. A fleeting glimpse, and that's all that I ever needed.
The old, rusty building smiled down at me, and in the scanty illumination the fading twilight offered, across the vermillion remains of fallen leaves that now palled the alleys, stained with a lifetime's memories, amid the wintry whispers, I found something; something I can't quite explain.
Something, that can perhaps only be heard in revolutionary symphonies of a deaf, broken-hearted composer, or a man dying of influenza, who sang of romance and the wonders of life, or maybe, in the renaissance of a purposeless teenager.

"An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink."

P.S. I hope you are doing well.

© 2019 Swagato Saha

My Review

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All in all I wonderful write about the end of one life phase and the beginning of another. There were one or two grammatical issues, but not enough to be off-putting.

Well done.

Posted 4 Years Ago

This is elegant and smooth filled with tender words, a moment dressed to the hilt and shared with the one soul that can read between the lines.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Good story telling. Thank you to Esther for the read request to bring me here.

Posted 4 Years Ago

This one seems straight out of an early twentieth-century classic. It's really beautiful. I wish Jaba would have a read.

Posted 4 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on April 29, 2019
Last Updated on September 11, 2019


Swagato Saha
Swagato Saha

Kolkata, India

Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. more..


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