The eve was windy. It was of the kind that precedes a tumultuous downpour. A dry hot wind, of violent vehemence, carryed dust and senescent leaves in its wakes. Wanting not to stall my routine, I put on my jumpers and stepped out the house for the stroll by the beach.
Predictably enough, the population of joggers and walkers was thinned. Few did brave the inhospitality of the weather, though there did romp a minority with the arrogance of spirit to admire this unruly state. I pulled my scarf tight and walked down the beaten path of my daily trail.
With a fair distance of my on-journey still remaining, the clouds split apart to pour down a torrent of round evanescent drops of rain. The veracity of the rain was of such force that the skin of the face and arms when prickly with pain as the drops hit. Me, wanting not to harm my delicacy sought shelter under the shades of a make-shift
shop on the beach sand. I was dripping wet, but safe from the prick and the pain.
The feeble number which was walking the beach along around me soon thinned into absolute nothing and I found self lone with a torrent of downpour around, a tarpaulin shade above, the gritty sand beneath, and the rumble-and-tumble of the capricious sea beyond.
It was basically because I kept so immersed in the scene around-about that I missed noting a figure with broad shoulders and a trim cut sitting on the beach sand, in the open rain facing the waves that hit the shore with increasing vengeance. His back was turned to me. Though it adorned a neat, now wet executives coat, there was something about the figure, say it the life-less droop of the shoulders or the resigned stillness of its poise or that defeated surrender laying self undefended before the elements of nature, the very sight of him was eerie and had an overpowering gloom.
The rain slackened, then quickened, after a while slacking yet again, beating down to a slow soft drizzle. And all through this, that solitary eerie figure by the shore did not move a muscle. He sat dissociated from the world around, neither acknowledging the happenings about nor heeding to them. He sat, still, immobile, life-less.
I don’t know what the reason was, but I felt an irresistible urge to make sense of that guy. I knew well it was not my business, and over-and-about that, I very much had the realisation that due to some unknown reason, I mustn’t. But it was something that pulled me towards him. As if the ground tilted under my feet, to make me slip towards him. It definitely wasn’t curiosity. I as a matter of fact, desist by all means from things even remotely eerie. It wasn’t in frank goodness either. It was, it felt as if, it was a need. A need for me to find what the heck was he, and why he filled me with an unease that felt so profound that I wanted to punch a hole into my heart and let the torment fizz out.
With wobbly legs and quickening breaths, like a prey approaching its predator, I walked to him. I so much wanted not to but the force of the pull was too great to withhold. My legs lead without me commandeering. And in an instant, I found self staring into a face that would haunt me for the rest of my life.
It was a face like I have seen none before. Its contours were marked with torment, were shaded in anguish, and withheld a suffering beneath its skin so profound, that I felt my heart shudder at the though of the person bearing it all. His stillness held not calm or quiet, but it restrained a vengeance, violence, a vehemence of such force that
it would wipe off any entity from existence if it deemed so. Yet, all of it was pent up and locked, not being let out, but permeating through the pores of his profile and suffusing an aura of supreme pain and disquiet around.
I wanted to walk away from there. Wanted to run. Run as fast as my legs could take, without looking back once and get as far away from this overwhelming sense of gloom and its deafening aura of disquiet. I knew nothing else than the certainty that I had to leave that place, the very moment. But my legs wont move. They wont budge. As if, the antelope paralysed in fear before its predator, it stood aground, not moving an inch, not moving a muscle, holding my breath and my dear life. And then, that moment, the guy rolled his eyes and locked at mine, and my spine set to shudder. The tingle went down my back and I felt a sense of raw primeval energy boring into my being and burn aglow from inside me. Those eyes which made my heart stop to beat, held in them a pain of the kind that none who ever held lived to talk about.
The standoff hung on for a while. While I dared not look away, the guy as if did not look at me. His eyes were seeing straight through mine beyond. As if I was thin air, an entity with an existence of flickery fickleness. And in finality he said, with barely perceptible movement of his lips, in a deep resonant tone, ‘leave’. It was a tone that none dare disobey. It did not sound like an order, but an ultimatum. And as if my legs belong not to me, but him, saluted in acknowledgement of what he said, and started chugging into motion in the direction away from him. They carried me away, as effortlessly and swiftly as they had carried me towards him before. And with each increasing intervening yard between, while the disquiet lessened, a discontent began to rise.