In Search of Absentia


“What are you doing here?” Saiza asked Eric, who had comfortably taken the seat next to her on the beach’s sandy bed. The sun sparkled in his sea coloured eyes. His blonde hair had grown and now fell in a slick on his face – you could call him somewhat handsome. He grinned a clever amused smile, his eyes shining with the sparkle of the childish glee which comes with observing something unusual. His demeanour is just the way it was seven years ago; he seems most casual about this chance encounter at practically the other end of the world.

He furrowed through the sand near her feet, and picked the prettiest curve of a hazel tinted sea shell, embedding it carefully at the mouth of the sand castle’s gate. The young agent looked almost bemusedly at Eric, who had come and sat nonchalantly next to her, almost without welcome.

“I am happy.” He said. In a scuffled undertone which tightened her stomach.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“For a grown successful media tycoon sitting in this lonely beach building a sand castle,” he says the last two words with a certain theatrical pause peculiar of him, giving all her distant memories with him fresh life, “it is not the right question to ask.” He smirks and laughs like a teenage boy.

She takes a deep breath, almost assiduously shrugging her shoulders, and feels truly relieved. She stares at the sun set high in the pale sky, and turns back at Eric with loving, friendly, pleased eyes.

“How are you?” he asks.

“Not the right question. How have you been?” She tries to hide the pain which is sinking inside of her.

He takes a long pause. “You know we live in this bubble. All of us chasing something. A new car. A new promotion. Better love – something or the other. And as long as these wakeful accomplishments remain new – for this brief moment – we feel happy, satisfied. But then, snap, soon we are chasing after something different. I am happy with life, for right now there is this absentia. An absentia of desire…I have stopped looking for things I do not have.” He shrugs.

In his voice she senses fresh remembrance of their listless fights and baseless arguments which had put to end their unbreakable bond of friendship.

Her hands unconsciously rummaged the soil for shells. From below the file of sand that her fingers had dug, he fetched her delicate hand. “It’s time you stop the search.”

He stood up and walked away to the shore, like a fleeting stranger, a closure you can never have enough of.

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