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A smile

It was 8:00 in the morning and the weather was great. It had rained the night before and it was pleasantly cold. One could just stay there and watch water droplets dripping from the houses and the trees. However, he had no time to stand and stare, he was getting late and he had to hurry. As he walked through the door and rushed in, he saw her for the first time. His heart skipped a beat, she looked so beautiful sitting there smiling to herself. She was sitting alone and the seat across her was empty, but he was too shy to sit there, so he went elsewhere. However, he chose a place from where he could see her. He just could not keep his eyes off her but he was too shy to stare so he would steal a few glances now and then. She saw him looking at her, he just looked away and so did she. After a while, she left. He had a fleeting thought of following her but that would be cheap, so he stayed there. ‘Would I see her again, maybe if she comes every day at this time and I get late tomorrow too’ he thought.

He was late the next day too, but this time it was intentional. He hoped he would see her today and he was not disappointed. The seats around her were occupied though. Too bad, he thought, he had planned on sitting near her if he found her. To add to his misery, there was no seat to sit, so he had to stand and stare. Stared would not be an appropriate word here, because he could never look at any girl without feeling a kind of guilt about that and he would lower his eyes if any girl were to look at him. That day, she saw him looking at her, he saw a slight frown on her face. He felt hurt; she did not like him staring at her like that, he felt. He avoided looking at her again, but then could not help himself looking at her as she was leaving. Do you have to leave, he wished to ask. She went away without him getting any chance to talk to her. Later that day, he got his timings changed by his supervisor. His supervisor was surprised at his strange request, a shift in working hours by 15 minutes … no one had ever asked that before and it was strange coming from a habitual latecomer, but he did not deny the request. And so it continued, she came at the same time every day and now he too did. He would make plans on starting some conversation with her but could never gather the courage to even go and sit next to her. He was sure that she had noticed him now, she would not frown now when she saw him looking and he felt he saw her smile a few times but he could not be sure if it was meant for him.

Things were moving like this for a few days before fate decided to intervene and move things a bit. The alarm whose failing to ring was always a ready excuse for getting late actually did what it was many times wrongly accused of doing. As he woke up and he saw the time, he knew he had to rush. Breakfast could happen later, but he had to take a bath. She would not stand a stinking man , he felt especially when she took great care to be so neat and clean. In spite of his best efforts to be quick, something or the other would go wrong. Everything seemed to be out of place, the toothbrush, the towel, the soap …, all of these were cursed fervently along with the vengeful alarm as he got ready to leave.  He had to run and he sprinted hard. He did not want to miss seeing her. He was panting when he got in but could not help smiling and he saw her smiling too and when she looked at him he knew that smile was meant for him.

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