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She was visiting me after a long time –

“Busy with work and stuff”…

I understood. Young people tote a lot of world on their backs.


When she came, we had a simple home-cooked meal –

Dishes she loved I knew, and that I had carefully prepared.

I was hoping to give her a happy afternoon.

She seemed to enjoy the food, but I noticed she didn’t take a second helping…


As we ate, waves of talk flowed gently – lapping shores of agreement, discussion –

Benignly sensed, reflections on matters of the world,

Casual banter eddying around the clinking of spoons on plates and the air conditioner’s hum…

Yellow-marrow afternoons…


After a couple of hours, she was ready to go. We hung about at the gate, waiting for her Uber,

and the street-long sky frowned – sultry, sulky, at the end of an unbearably hot day.

In a few minutes, she was gone, vanished from sight as her cab rounded the street corner…

And I withdrew within the silent subdued house…


She had left behind a tiny bead without knowing, without intending to –

And I searched for it all evening…

…that fugitive tear that lay glowing, unshed, in her eye all afternoon –

a new trinket she did not properly know how to wear –


Late at night, I found it behind the chair in a corner –

Brave and uncertain, a lost drop of summer

yearning for sunshine as it passed under a cloud,

and lost the sun meanwhile…

A wish that got brushed away by a passing hand

over her bright-lit eyes


Now, it is mine – the trinket – and lives

in my collection of shimmering gems and jewels

I collect from across the world, through my life…