The night was slowly settling in with the winds blowing from the north. Cold wave has gripped this place ever since the Monsoons have started. Dense fog is spreading all over the meadow and taking away the visibility. I started packing my bag from work and to take a long walk for home. It has been my schedule to close my office after every visitor leaves this park and the place is empty. The deserted look for this beautiful garden always reminds me about the solitude that we all should live someday. After carefully locking all my drawers and the office room, I proceeded towards my home. I live a mile away from where I work. It has been 5 years I have been working as a caretaker of this Park in this hill station. Surrounded by a pine forest and terrains this park indeed is a pride of this place. I am sure that this park should be been designed by an Architect who would have seen relations very closely. There is a serene atmosphere in this place yet every corner speaks of some isolation, loss or loneliness. It has sit out for couples and families but we could also see single chairs secluded and separated from the rest. I really think that the creator of this park should have undergone a great loss of his loved one.
As I take this walk under soft moonlight, I could see this place lit by the nature. The drifting fog unveils a fine meadow with highland which leads to the forest. Visitors are allowed to take a stroll around a square mile and beyond they are restricted to go deep into the forest. The forest is on the elevation of the hill and covered with thick pine trees. The cold weather here is very conducive to have greenery everywhere with coniferous and eucalyptus trees. The park has a playing area and small bushes for young couples to have isolation and privacy. We see different kinds of people from all over the town.
There hasn’t been a single day since I am here that I haven’t thought of her when I look at these lovely couples. I think getting nostalgic during my walk back home has become customary now. If there is one feeling which can elevate us to ecstasy then it is love. We were no different than any of these love birds. We too were deeply in love for each other and felt we never can live without the other.
My story starts in these woods, surrounded by hills with abundant greenery one can find oneself close to the nature. When I was small I used to go deep into the woods but was never lost, I was always able to find my way home. I was a part of a closely knit community and we all lived like an extended family.
Miss Nina a single woman in her fifties had dedicated her life in horticulture and raising me as a Godmother. She raised good money and yet lived a simple life because of her philanthropy. Miss Nina helped me with my education and was always a guide for me. I always revered her for her attitude towards life. The moment to see Miss Nina from my boarding school was exciting and pompous. Miss Nina was eager to make delicious puddings and cakes for me.
I was in my early twenties and I looked few years younger than my age. Some men look like boys and some boys look like men. I think I was the former. I was told that in my family we were all lean and athletic. I think I carried my genetic print too strong in me. With fine jaw line and a long nose my display was of a young man with appropriate flesh on me. I had well cut hair and fair complexion and was often called as a Milky boy. My aunt often used to mention the dimple that I used to have when I smiled and said that should be enough to attract a woman. This used to make me thoughtful of as what could make a woman attracted, because I was told in my boy’s group that there is nothing defined to catch the attention of a woman. Some flaunt their money and some their tantrums.
I decided one evening to take a walk on the streets. I was passing by Simcoe Street and came across “Literary Foundation of Burlington”. Nothing much to do for the day I decided to step in. I met the Joint Secretary of that association and was pleased to know that they conduct various discussion boards on all the faculties. I even got seat for the next event on “Philosophy in Literature”. The subject was so amusing that I registered myself immediately. Quietly contended with that move I continued my walk towards home when I met and elderly man in his fifties. I was able to recollect him to be Mr.McCaul, a landlord and a businessman of Burlington.
“Holla Chris, what a pleasant surprise to see you here” said he.
“Hello Sir, I am pleased to see you too, How have you been?” said I.
“I had some trouble in my library, my maid dropped the shelves and all the books are lying as a pile and it’s a pile of 2000 books, believe me I can’t put them in place” said he.
“That should be a tedious job to arrange them in order”.
“Tedious? Oh oh yes yes, certainly it is, you are a young man, why don’t you come home and help me in this?”.
“Oh! Sure I will be happy to help you”.
“This way” said he.
He didn’t give me time to answer; with no other choice I followed his house. Mr.McCaul had built a mansion for himself and a pond in the backyard was considered to be the most beautiful place in Burlington. He took me into the house and showed the mess that the maid had done. While I was deeply immersed in what I could do about the books, Mr.McCaul went upstairs to bring his accountant. I was hoping to meet someone with reading glasses with a pen and ledger in his hand. Meanwhile I started picking the books according to authors. It did not amuse me much to find Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Daniel Defoe and so on in his collection.
Mr.McCaul came back with his accountant. Dressed in a white long skirt with brooch on her shoulder, she was none other than a fairy. She had an air of serenity in her smile and a spell of charm in her presence. If angels were an element of earth enthroned in the mortal form then it should be her. She had lovely large eyes and a slender nose. Her mouth was not too large or small; her upper lip was gently placed on her teeth. A complete woman in her early twenties with perfect possessions certainly makes any man spellbound, so was I.
“Chris, let me introduce my angel (certainly she was), Miss Avril” said Mr.McCaul.
The moment she said Hello, I was lost in some paradise.
It was a visitor who took Mr.McCaul away from us and gave me some privacy. She sat beside me and I was looking at her soft skin. There was no library, no literature, no philosophy, no McCaul but her glittering eyes. My hands were trembling when I looked at her. I was not able to strike a conversation with her as eloquently as I used to with others. There is a tendency to make mistakes when in ecstasy, to avoid that I made formal introductions and made a safe exit with a pretense of some work.
How I wished to see her again. How I wanted her to be in my dreams. I was longing for the day break to meet her. It was early in the morning when I got an invitation for a dinner from Mr.McCaul. I was so happy to get that chance to see her that I went and hugged my aunt in excitement. I thought of so many ways to impress her. I thought of talking so many things about myself so that she would think well about me. I devised so many ways to talk to her that every approach looked staged and made me look stupid. Leaving the opportunities to the situation I tossed all the ideas that were conjured in my mind.
The time finally arrived, I picked up a bunch of flowers for her, I wrote a note on the bottom of the bunch “I wanted to show these flowers that the charm and bloom they carry is a copy. Look how embarrassed they are to find the real model of beauty”. With this the clock struck the hour and I reached their place with alacrity. Mr.McCaul was in the reading room waiting for me. He summoned for Miss Avril.
“You see Chris, it’s so nice to see the things in their place, isn’t it”.
Nothing was going into my ears. My heart started racing when I saw her, she was always perfect for me. She was dressed in pink dress with a wide neck and the dress went long below her knees. She had laces tied behind her waist showing her curves. She had her ear rings hanging and they were clinging at every step she took. Being so beautiful yet she never was proud of herself. I could still find that peace and serenity in her presence.
Mr.McCaul’s erratic humor brought me back to earth. I took the courage to offer those flowers to her. Her smile and her silent admiration on my note, I can never forget that. Dinner was meant to be a feast for the mouth but it was a feast for my eyes to see my darling sitting across the table. I could not comprehend if Mr.McCaul said deliberately or as a passing thought but he asked my sweetheart to show me the backyard and the pond behind the house. It was as if a dream that I found myself walking with Miss.Avril(oh what a sweet name) on the bank. It was a large pond and Mr.McCaul has made a beautiful garden at the bank. It was a pleasant night with cool breeze to spread her fragrance everywhere. I was speechless for sometime as I took few moments to realize that I was walking with an angel. The light glowing on her was that the reflection of her charm. It was at that time I gave a biography of myself and learnt that her heart is still vacant and thought that blessed will be the one who can have a place in it. We talked and the time passed by. I was just at the lamp post near the pond and a dim orange light was lighting us up and from a distance we were just looking like silhouettes of a couple about to embrace.
Just as the night was setting in and cold air was taking it course we felt a cool breeze slicing through our cheeks. My heart grew heavy and a desperate attempt to express was rising within. I felt an urge to speak my heart out and say that she struck a chord in my heart and that she is a special one who touched me deeply. While I was groping for words to express I felt I was speechless and as if I was chocking my throat. That was the moment and I never wanted it to go. With all the courage I held her hand close to my heart and uttered few words which I think came as if they were woven on their own and became a chain of words that could spark some magic and make her mine….
To Be Continued…..