Tuesday nights at the Interlaken Ost Station were Nikita’s favorite. It being the month of May made it all the more special. The atmosphere was just about right. The dim lights and infrequent vibrations of the trains on the stone platform provided the perfect backdrop for her gray cells to whirr away in a distant land of their own, while a cool crisp breeze kept her conscious about her surroundings. Her place at the station was, as if, reserved specially for her. Occasionally, a passenger would alight from the train and momentarily disturb her, but for the most part, the telephone booth farthest from the entrance was hers – or so she liked to think. It gave her a sense of security, as if assuring her that she could let her guard down and allow herself to give in completely and focus on the task at hand.
And what was this task? A task so crucial and secretive that it demanded her undivided attention? One for which she would willingly risk foregoing the comfort and warmth of her dorm room? Nikita smiled a distant smile. If you were to ask her for any of her prized possessions, she would gladly give them up. Yes, she would give up anything in the world, but these Tuesday nights at the station. For it were those Tuesday nights that she looked forward to every day of the week. With every passing day, as Tuesday would approach, Nikita’s positivity would get a boost. Her colleagues at work would feel the optimism radiate from her. Her roommate would immediately be able to pinpoint the sudden chirpiness as she’d open the door to welcome in a Nikita overflowing with goodies for dinner the night before Tuesday. But what would leave others with a lasting gloominess only made Nikita ever the more vivacious after every Tuesday night. The mere thought of going back to the station the following Tuesday kept her spirits up.
What was so special about those Tuesday nights? Oh, but it was what she lived for! Her very life revolved around the activities of those nights at the station. It were those Tuesday nights that allowed her to become one with her passion. With a bag slung over her shoulder, Nikita would scurry across the platform and fit herself into the telephone booth – her telephone booth – by the bench farthest away from the entrance, drop the bag every so lightly on the floor beside her in the cramped space, and hurriedly take out her notepad. She would dig into her bag once again for a pencil and in that quiet of the night, if you were to be anywhere nearby; you would have the delightful pleasure of witnessing the reunion of two long lost lovers. Oh, the swiftness with which her pencil would graze the yellowed notepaper! And the ever welcoming response that the notepad would elicit by allowing her to fill up pages and pages of it made even Time stand still, wondering how one could possibly be so infatuated with another.
It was on one such Tuesday night that, before Nikita had the chance to dig in a second time to fish out her pencil, a slight knock on the glass pane roused her attention, making her glance upward from her scooted position on the floor inside the telephone booth. “Probably wants to use the telephone,” grumbled Nikita under her breath. She hesitantly began to sling the bag over her shoulder with one hand, clutching onto her notepad with the other. A quick series of impatient knocks made her glance up irritably. Nikita looked at the stranger straight in the face for the first time and realized that the lady, a frail lady of around seventy years, was motioning for Nikita to let her open the door of the booth. Nikita nudged the door open. The lady offered a business card, with one end torn, to Nikita. Saying nothing more, she gave Nikita a motherly smile and turning her back on hearing the hum of the oncoming train, hurried to take her place near the edge of the railway line.
The Swiss are very particular about time. And in the one minute that it took for Nikita to run her eyes through the content of the business card and glance up in astonishment, her eyes half searching for the old lady and half bewildered, the train had already closed its doors and was gliding away into the darkness of the night. In that split second before the train left the station, Nikita locked eyes with the lady as she sat by the window in the brightly lit first class cabin and a nod of gratitude here and a nod of acknowledgement there passed between the two. As Nikita resumed her position in the privacy of her telephone booth, she let the torn business card gently slip into her bag. But, if you had been interested enough to linger on long enough to witness the saga entailing the reunion of the two passionate lovers, you would have observed that the business card fell prey to the unpredictable laws of physics, and a slight breeze at just that moment deflected it such that it miscalculated its destination and instead, fluttered over the zip of the bag and slid down its outside, gently slipping under the crack of the door of the telephone booth. And, had you been clever – and curious – enough, you would have tiptoed ever so softly, in the cover of the shadows of the night, to inconspicuously pick up the displaced business card and turn it around in your hand. Had you been quick enough to do the aforesaid, you would have realized that the card read a simple message:
“Many search for decades,
Yet fail to find the One.
You, my child, have succeeded;
Your battle’s been won.”
Written in August, 2015 for the writing prompt, “Wonderwall.” So far, hidden and forgotten. Now, rediscovered and unveiled. My writing – my thoughts – confound me sometimes. What makes one write what one does in that moment? For me, such kind of writing has always been spontaneous. Spontaneous, and takes place at night – after everyone has gone to sleep and I am left alone with my thoughts. The keyboard, my ever-faithful friend, allows my fingers to type away and before I know it, voila. Suddenly, there is something out of nothing.
Writing from your heart is bliss.
What’s your take?