The man's face was illuminated by the fading sunlight as he stepped out of the shadows. His visage was suffused with the suppressed joy and excitement, like that of a young boy right before embarking on a highly anticipated adventure. There was a spring in his step as he began to walk, and a smile appeared on his mouth and climbed all the way up to his eyes.
It was calling him, and he could hear it.
A gale blew into his face, ruffling his hair, which was already tangled. He had not bothered to comb his hair, because he wished for someone who would love him for who he was. Today is the day, he thought happily.
The man saw boulders up ahead, and the path led past them. Surely he was getting nearer. They were obstructing his view. He quickened his pace, impatient now, eager to get beyond.
As he emerged on the other side, the panorama before him took his breath away.
The seashore was incredibly beautiful. A vast expanse of sand stretched out to meet the shoreline, which was never static as the water bounded forward and then receded. How old was this shore? A million years? Ten million? Perhaps more. At the horizon, the sun was halfway down. Its golden light, although faint, seemed to be reflected by the froth produced as the waves crashed on the shore. The sounds of the ambiance were dominated by the chorus of the seagulls retiring after a day's work.
But the scenery was incomplete. The man's searching eyes soon found the missing piece: the woman. She was swathed in a long, pure white dress that reached down to her feet. Her face was turned towards the sea, with an expression of utter serenity. Her luxuriant hair, which came down to her waist, was golden.
The beauty was too surreal. The man rushed forward with wild passion.
But as he drew nearer to her, he knew in his heart that something had changed. In the infinitesimal fraction of a second, it had changed, inexplicably and irrevocably. Fear flooded every particle in his body as he asked in a hollow voice, 'Are you the one for me?'
She turned to him, not with the sweet smile he had hoped for, but a frown. A frown. It cut through his heart like an icy blade. And all the happiness that had been bubbling in him was gone, to be replaced by a different but equally potent emotion.
Anger. She was not the one.
In a swift fluid motion, he drew out his gift: a long, shiny dagger. The blade glinted as he stabbed. He stabbed, stabbed and stabbed again. The world came to a standstill as the man worked furiously. The white dress was now red for a moment, the woman was flying through the air, her hair rippling in the wind. She was beautiful even in death. In the very next moment, she collapsed, not on the sand of the seashore, but on the hard concrete of the pavement.
Before the man's very eyes, the scene seemed to melt away into oblivion. The sea was replaced by a dirty, cramped lake. The beach was the surface of a road. The giant boulders had given way to dark buildings forming the skyline of a gloomy city.
The ancient shores, symbolizing the perfection to be dreamed of, were gone. And now it must be sought for again.
His heart heavy with grief, the man turned away and entered the shadows once more.
Subscribe to Shopnil Mahmud
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox