The Sketch

Image: Author

“They sat there holding hands. I sat on the adjacent bench watching them longingly, just like a little girl watching a box full of candies. Wistfully. Hoping to get a candy for myself.

They watched the people walking around them, the riotous kids running all across the park, the noisy bikers on the peripheral narrow road, and the constant moving in and out of cars. All the while holding hands.

They didn’t talk to each other. Not one word. She had a small bag placed neatly next to her. A small yellow bottle peeped out of it.

‘If she needed water, would she leave his hand to drink?’ I asked myself.

‘Yes, of course. How else will she have water?’ I replied.

He pointed at a small kid playing with a lot of flowers. Not a word again. She smiled at the kid first, then looked at him and smiled.

‘How contented they look! Have they been through a lot of worries in life? How was their first kiss?’ My mind wandered around for small tokens of love that held them together.

‘Why haven’t they talked in the last one hour?’ I asked again.

‘Either they have been very happy all their life, or they may have become too weary of their life to talk,’ I replied.

‘They must have been happy. They really don’t need to speak to express. If they were too weary of their life, they wouldn’t be holding hands and sitting for the last one hour in the park’ I retorted.

They looked at me and made a signal to go to them.

I smiled and sat next to her.

‘What are you writing?’ he asked me.

‘I’m cherishing nice thoughts about you two, and I’m sketching you two in my diary here. How long have you been married?’ I asked them, showing her my diary.

Her lips curled in a smile, the wrinkles brightening up her face.

‘32 years,’ she said with a chuckle while he nodded his head in assent. She looked at him and smiled.

‘That is so nice to know’ I replied with a smile. Somewhere, something tugged at me. A lump rose in my throat. I just needed to run from there.

‘I need to go. Someone is waiting for me,’ I almost bounded off in a hurry.

I sat at a distance far enough for them to see me.

Taking out my sketch, I looked at it.

‘32 years! Have they never had challenging days?’

Somewhere a drop trickled.

I wanted to rip off the sketch. I tore it but stopped at the point where they were holding hands in the photo. I can tear the page, but how can I tear the picture of them holding hands from my mind?”

My friend looked at me as I showed her the half-torn sketch the next day, and narrated this story.

‘You must sketch this again,’ she insisted. ‘Only, this time, sketch the two of you holding hands.’

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