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Pranab Singh

Right Bus

    Right bus, wrong way, but a nice view. A rather unconscious mistake. I ponder my fate, to correct my mistake or ride on. The museum can wait, the city cannot. The lives of a million passed on the sly.
    Grand central station. Five minutes ago. The call of the Guggenheim. The gooiest name ever. Whim of fancy. A bus to ride. A city to see. Took me lower, when I was heading upper.
    Three blocks down. A burning light. A flow of people; cars in the background. The closing doors seal my fate. A quest begins. The treasure is unknown. The map is burnt. The plot is unknown. The characters pass by beyond any reach.
   People flying by on the outside, people flying high in the inside. Each in a world of their own. Except the two old women at the front. Bits of conversation filter above the drone of the city…”she should’ve”… people talking about people. “I thought”… people talking about themselves. “They need to”… people talking about people.
She should’ve talked to him a long time ago. I thought he was a respectable person. They need to solve their differences.
    Maybe she should’ve taken the day off. That’s what I thought she was going to do. It was her anniversary; they need to be together for that.
    She should’ve bought the navy blue mittens with the green plaid linings. Yes, yes… I thought she was going for the matching mittens and scarf. Ah, yes… they need to be worn together.
    She should’ve cooked the broccoli with the mutton. Really? I thought that would make a rather nasty stew. They need to be simmered with onions and tomatoes and they taste just fine, thank you.

    Creations of an imaginative mind. Stories abound. A few words entice but a glance will do. A pair of ears, a pair of music muffs. A wire to untangle. A track to choose. A gradual beginning. The dark side of the moon. The play has begun.
    Breathe we must. Breathe we will. Breathe with ease. Till the day we gasp for it. Breathe. My eyes focus. A Mercedes SLK. An old bald man.
    Thirty years ago. A young man without a dream. A job at JP. A salary to enjoy. Motivation through want. A family in dire need. A job taken. A college degree. An aimless heart. A sucker for pride. Money to flaunt. Girls to win. A bachelor’s life to live. Thirty years. A massive account and luxury. Early retirement? Maybe a young wife? Time to live or work some more?
    He looks up. Holds my eyes. Twitches his lips. Sparkles his eyes. Revs his engine. Never to be seen. Moments of people's lives. Stories of the mind. Injustice to another life. My conscience, guilty of thought.
    The girl in the baggy green pants. A T-shirt that stands out. Bad religion. Two row down on the other side. Four holes on her right ear. Only one that listens. Silver, stone and gold. Laced together. Flesh for a mantle. Remembering a girl I once knew. Four holes for her ears too. None that listened. A past that keeps coming back. A past that is now present. Yet again. The oddest reminders, the strangest memories. The last I saw her. The bewilderment on her face. Shake. Stamp. Stomp. Stop. Things you try to forget. Things that you never forget. Jeepers Creepers.
    A light breeze. Strands of her hair floating in the breeze. Like mermaids floating around a sailor stranded at sea. Those eyes of light. The blackness of her pupils. The depths of her soul. Words lost in the fall. To her heart and back. A depth I could not fathom, a love that would not leave. The arrogance of youth. Her heart and soul poured out from her eyes. Little did I care. Another notch, another victory. The feeling of pride in power. The power of control. A sleight of hand and a life in hand. Memories… Interpretations…
    A stationary gypsy.
    I sit but the world moves. The world stops, but not for me. Thoughts like a river. Ideas to fish. No rod. No line. No hook. No bait. Waiting like a grizzly for a fish to leap.
    The two old ladies no longer journey with me. They snuck out when I still dreamed. Lost in thought, lost to the world.
    Grasping the world as it drives by. Lexington Avenue. Whizzing past 27th. Buildings. People. Dogs. Consumption. Waste. Hunger. A block of education. 24th street. A monstrosity of a building. Aesthetically pleasing? A haven of knowledge. A refugee for the wise. A prison for thought. Me looking in. They too look in, but bothering not to look out. An education based on words. A knowledge to fit in, a knowledge to remain. Contemptuous and cynical. my weirdness. my education. my knowledge. my contempt. my expectations. my disappointments.
    A growing realization of the human state. A collection of ideas. A bunch of words. A phrase. A sentence. Some meaning? An understanding. Lacking in meaning? A lack of meaning? Arbitrage. A circle or an unending spiral seen from the top? A search for some to cling to. Thoughts. Bothersome. Dwelling in no man’s land. Contemplation or waste of mind? Doubt. Descartes. An illusion of doubt. No certainty in doubt. No basis to believe. Every decision is a bias.

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