I saw her sitting on a stone bench under a tree with strange looking flowers. On the cold november evening when all the flowers were falling onto almost wet cold ground, she sat like a statue. Or so I thought, sitting on a cold stone bench myself watching another hazy evening melt into a dark night. It was strange, surreal even, two women, each distinctly different the other, sitting alone on stone benches on a quiet evening.
She was wearing a white gown, if you can call it that. It was more of a flimsy singlet, falling just below her knees. Wrapped in layers and layers of thick sweaters, I wondered how she is not shivering to her death. She seemed oblivious to the chill in the air. Streetlight illuminating her features cast a yellow glow that seems to fit more in a cheap disco than here. She looked around like she was searching for someone and smiled. Not at me, but straight ahead. I looked around to see who she is smiling at. The park looked emptier than ever.
She smiled to herself and stood up. Moved few paces in a walk that was more of a dance. Her eyes darted around like glow of little oil lamp in the wind. I could see she was talking to herself. Like she was having an internal debate. Sometimes agreeing, nodding; others, disagreeing, shaking her head. Finally shaking her head several times, like she has done it so many times in different lives, but still not able to conclude.
A few minutes of quiet and then she tilts her head ever so slightly. Like listening to music played somewhere far away. Something like Solitary Reaper’s song. Then sways like she is waltzing to that music, just content to be with herself.
She does that walk-dance to the bench she was sitting earlier and sits quietly. Hugging her knees, she shivers ever so slightly. I almost consider walking to her and offering one of my jackets. It seems sacrilegious to disturb her in what seems precious time with herself.
We both sit quietly, few benches apart. There is no movement in the entire park. Like someone just took an invisible remote control and pressed pause to the entire world. As I sit, mesmarized, i see a lone tear escape the corner of her eye. Of happiness or sorrow, I cant tell.
A van pulls up with an eerie screech somewhere. Few men, dressed in white as well, suddenly grab her from behind. As I tried to go near her, the man supervising this warns me that she is certifiably mad. They are taking her back to asylum. I just stare at her when at last she turns and looks at me. Into my eyes.
Suddenly the entire circumambient noise melts away. The entire world melts away. Its only her and me in a vacume. She smiles, walks a few steps towards me in that slow dance of hers. I ask her, who she is. Without saying those words. No words are needed.
She said, I am but a figment of your imagination. Your dreams. Your Insanity. Your Happiness. One half of your choice. Your choice between insanity with happiness; or sanity and wisdom with despondency. your choice between chaos in the outer world, or calm in your inner world;
I blink against the chilly wind, when I open my eyes, I am sitting alone on a cold stone bench in that gloomy park.