When you fall in love with a stranger
The girl on the sixth floor
There is this girl in my office — she is beautiful, attractive, with intoxicating looks, and I’m wildly attracted to her, even though I don’t even know her name!
I sit on the twelfth floor, she on the sixth.
And I have no business on the sixth floor. Still, every morning, I can’t help but go there. The panel shines "sixth" floor, the elevator door opens up and like a moth blinded by light, I get pulled out of the lift in her direction.
As a man possessed, I cross the elevator lobby and enter the office sitting area. Then I enter the bay where she sits. And as I do that, I steal a glance in her direction. I look towards her and drink her beauty with my eyes. I don’t stop or linger. At once, I walk out, take the fire-exit and climb six flights of stairs to the twelfth floor where my desk is located.
For the last four weeks, since I saw her for the first time, this has been my routine, and I have lost quite a few pounds since then.
I don’t know what has happened to me. Usually, I am a practical person, doing things with an end in mind. I am not impulsive, or emotional, or sentimental. But when it comes to this — the sixth-floor morning ritual, even if entirely against that motto, somehow has become an exception.
Every night I resolve to not repeat this folly. To get some sense, and to lose this bad habit. Still, every morning, I forget this rationality and the last night’s resolve, skip the twelfth-floor button, make the detour to the sixth floor, and then take a walk just to have a look at her.
Sneaking around on that floor, I never linger near her, lest I will be taken for a stalker. I have a friend who sits there on the same floor (lucky man). So, sometimes, I go to his desk, say my good mornings. Exchange mundane pleasantries while keeping one eye on where she sits. Having a look there, seeing her engrossed in her work, makes me fall in love with her again. And when I see her, even from a distance, I realize, how beautiful she is.
She is as fair as December snow. The fairness accentuated by the black curls falling on her face. She sits there, cross-legged, with a thoughtful gaze and an inquiring look on her face, her lips arched into a smile, and her face propped on a hand supported on the desk. It makes me stop in my tracks, makes me freeze and I realize how right that person was who proposed the concept of relativity of time — the effect of time dilation. Because when I look at her, the time slows down, and every moment lingers for eternity and I live a lifetime in each second spent watching her.
Sometimes, she is not there. That’s all right. I can wait till she comes back. This does not bother me –I am a man of patience. What bothers me is when she comes, by accident, around me, near me. Like, a couple of days back, as I opened the door to the canteen, she was standing right there, coming from the opposite side, looking at me, waiting for me to get away; but I, dumbfounded and startled and stunned, just stared back, stared deep into her eyes, those deep brown eyes, it was like getting dissolved into a sea of warm milk –slowly, gradually.
It took me a few seconds to realize my folly. Embarrassed, I averted the gaze and stepped aside. She knew it by then. That I am one of them, the gazers. I have seen her, looking at my side a couple of times, checking if I am staring. I hope she does not misunderstand me. I didn’t mean to disrespect, but I am guilty, I know, of staring at her. So, I have stopped taking detours these days. No more getting down on the sixth, walking to the twelfth. Sometimes, I see her in the canteen, and my heart skips a beat. I hope I could talk to her, one day, tell her that I admire her. One day, perhaps.