I’m still obsessed with flash fiction, and although this doesn’t entirely qualify as ‘flash’, it still can’t be categorised as regular fiction. This also happens to be the first time I’m writing in a second person narrative, and it has been quite a challenge! 🙂
Say you see someone at the bus stop. She’s wearing an out of season grey hoodie, worn-out running shoes, and carries a tote bag with a safety pin on it. You wonder why someone would still need safety pins. She smiles at you, and you realise you’ve been staring and avert your gaze. You believe that everyone has a story and that the writing industry is extremely overrated. You wonder what her story is.
You wonder why you are obsessed with this person standing beside you. You realise that you’re the only two people in a deserted bus stop waiting endlessly for a ride to the fair in the next town. You tell yourself to go say hello. You tell yourself to make friends with strangers like all the stories that you’ve read and watched. But, you find the need to be wary of pseudo-killers and psycho-neurotic man-animals. You’re standing to her left, and can see the profile of her round body, and the swoosh of her five-year old (minimum) Nike. You probably wonder if she thought you were a threat too, and carried the safety pin, as a defence mechanism. The place where your beard used to grow itches.
You understand that the bus won’t be at least another twenty minutes, and decide to talk to her. You’re scared that she will judge you because your voice doesn’t match your body. You’re wondering why you’re scared, and the feeling of restlessness takes over you. You desperately want to fight it, but you’re struggling in the process. You think of yourself as extremely strong and tough, but deep inside, you know how the world sees you. You feel ostracised everyday, and want to be accepted. Just regarded, at the least. It’s a regular wager against loneliness, one you wish to be reprieved of. You’re a woman trapped in a man’s body, and you sometimes forget that it’s how the world sees you. You square your body to face her, standing perpendicular to her. You walk up the two steps, and with your guttural voice, say ‘Hello.’
She looks at your floral dress, your beautiful coat, and smells your Yves Saint Laurent perfume. She accepts the hello, and smiles but doesn’t say anything. Somehow, your unmatched voice and dressing doesn’t seem to bother her. It’s as if she never heard you. You try to engage her in a conversation, but she simply nods and doesn’t talk. When you decide to stop talking, she brings forth a handful of gestures. You pity her. She doesn’t want that. She smiles and turns away. Minutes ago, she was a stranger, and now you felt something for her. You don’t know if it was pity or sympathy or if the two were entirely different at all. You stay glued to your spot, and can almost feel her breathing next to you. You do something unexpected. You go shake her hand, and she doesn’t refrain. At that moment, you know you’re not the only person excluded by the world. You know there are far greater stories, and far bigger problems. But, you ultimately process the truth of it all- the meaning of hope in reality or the fact that out of season hoodies just don’t bother you anymore.