She sat under the canopy of the starry sky. The grass beneath, softly prickling her skin. Hands supporting her lean figure and legs stretched in front. She would easily pass off as, what you would call, a pleasant sight. Gazing at the night sky, looking at each brightly lit star made her transcend into a trance-like state. Greenday played Boulevard Of Broken Dreams in the background, headphones in place, Jennifer sat staring at the sky and enjoying the cool breeze of the September evening.
The lawn was the most serene places of the hostel with the hostel building on one side, a small gym forming its ground floor; and cemented wall on the other. It was hardly inhabited by girls like all the other places of the hostel. They strolled the promenade that doubled up as the two-wheeler parking, the parking space for cars and college bus, they crowded the Entertainment room, the mess; you could see girls swarming all the nook and corners of the hostel.
Sweet nothings being whispered subtly through mobiles, immersed in their never-ending conversations. But somehow, the lawn remained isolated. Only occasionally girls would sit here around sunset to enjoy the evening coolness.
The quiet and solitude that the place offered was one of the reasons Jennifer loved sitting here for hours. Undisturbed, all by herself, buried in thoughts. The green of grass and the vast expanse of the open sky overhead made her connect with nature like none other. They beckoned her into their world. Clouds moving in every direction, slowly changing shapes; birds flying finding their journey; the slow changing colors of the seven heavens; it all looked like a beautiful painting. Like a love-knit song. A poem she could sing again and again. It was splendid, and she had found herself making her way to the lawn more often since the past few months. Like magically synchronized pieces of a puzzle, the blissful essence of everything beautiful life could offer, was showered into her lap.
She felt amazing knowing how people around her made her life worthy of every possible suffering she might have to endure later when they parted. She loved her friends. Sharon, her room-mate; Ivy, the best girl-friend she could ever have; Giselle, her soul-sister and Amanda, the silly nitwit, she couldn’t see her life complete without any of them. And then there was Adam. Adam had lately become the center of this beautiful universe for Jennifer. There was nothing more she could ask for from God, not at the moment at least.
It had been close to an hour since Jennifer had found a clean patch and reclined for her ‘Me-time’ as she called it. She was deep in thoughts when her cell phone beeped. It was an SMS from Amanda asking her where she was. Jennifer realized it was too late, the hostel gates would shut down soon, she had to hurry if she wanted to go out with her friends.
She stood up and hurried to her room. It was a ritual they followed with discipline. Every evening just before the hostel gates would shut down, all five of them slipped out of the hostel. The lackluster eateries and murky lanes waited for them, just as they waited for all the other students that over-flowed this part of the town every evening. They were the livelihood of a lot of locals. Dinner tonight was a sumptuous affair for Jennifer, as the girls decided to go to the best pool-side restaurant the town had to offer,which, so to say were very few.
By the time Jennifer returned back from her dinner, the moon had formed a big circle, dazzling the night sky, incandescently illuminating her path. She came down for a walk after changing into her pyjamas. Her eyes were set on the moon as she walked along the length of the promenade. It was almost mid-night and everyday clutter and noise had given way to a quiet and restful night. Misty and perfumed with the scent of Jasmine, the cool air filled her with delight.
‘How beautiful,’ she thought, ‘to be able to walk here, without worrying about tomorrow. Without feeling the pressures of the world. Embracing youth and rejoicing in it. To regale in the beauty of the moon-lit night.’ ‘I wish I had my Shakespeare with me.’ She silently whispered to herself.
The wind billowed, ruffling her soft dark hair, caressing her body. It brought a quiet smile to her face. She walked each step slowly, wilfully, living in each one, breathing and feeling alive. The nights here could do that to you, she thought. The greenery adjoining the compound wall, the misty lights from the night-lamps, the luminance of the moon and the aromas of the flowering plants that came along with the breeze were magical. You could lose yourself and find yourself. You could get swayed with its beauty and you would want to see the sunshine. A walk along the hostel promenade at night could do all that to you.
Jennifer’s phone beeped breaking the silence. “I’m here.” Adam had written.
Why at this hour, thought Jennifer.
She walked to the hostel gate and glanced out from the small gap between the metal and the cemented wall beside it. The gap was less than half a foot wide, just enough to allow the exchange of small articles after the gates were shut. Adam stood leaning at the gap right across her.
Close enough for her to smell the whisky on his breath. His eyes soft and dark, melting with love. With a smile that made her heart dance. She extended her hand from the gap and touched his face. His lips were cold. They puckered at the touch of her fingers into a kiss. They looked at each other with a longing so deep and consuming, it made the world around disappear. The exchange of love between the two pair of eyes flowed like molten lava. Leaving nothing in between, turning thin air to electricity.
As they stood there undisturbed gazing into each other’s soul, connecting and loving and being one; Jennifer silently thanked God for giving her yet another beautiful memory to live with. A moment she would never want to erase from her mind. The kind of mesmerizing moment that gives you happiness and strength when you most need it. Irrespective of what the future brings, irrespective of where she lands at the end, this moment of pure love, she thought, would define her being, forever.
‘O What a pleasure to be given by thee,
The beautiful night
Here’s moon and stars and here are we.
We walk hand in hand, in harmony.
The sight and sound
The feel of this place
Etching in my mind, like a melodious synchrony.’