The sun sought shelter under her skin
as she crossed the distance from office to cafeteria.
It’s not 12 yet the blazing heat struck ruthlessly,
stifling the air
rushing the feet to seek shelter quickly.
Except for the idle chatter and
threatening yells at ravenous felines,
the canteen was half empty.
A group huddles in a circle mesmerized
by sleek gadgets
masquerading as phones on certain hours
and game consoles in some.
Reading is only for the serious and focused.
The rest were chased away into the comforts of the cool
walls and hum of the machine.
The meows turned in to a yelp
and a foot darted out from the periphery of her glance.
Her stern warning, “Leave the cat alone!” was
met with a meek smile and perplexity in the eyes.
“Dullards are everywhere!” she muttered under her breath.
Conversations between them flowed like
champagne into elegant flute glasses
despite the distance and work schedule.
Talks of holidays, scheming colleagues, love life
family and dreams were routinely
then the eerie silence descended.
He’s venturing into his new life.
It hasn’t started but he’s on his way, he once said,
training 25-8, getting up at the crack of dawn and journeying
home at twilight, to become a world-class server.
She keeps it alive with occasional e-mails and text messages
channelling positive energy and good vibes through
the cold curtain of silence only to be met with
less alacrity than usual,
less warm than before
and stillness most of the time.
His new life is his and his alone.
His episodic histrionics rolled and ebbed
like the waves rushing to shore.
It’d begin with little narcissistic tales
of his recent acquisitions segueing into his unparalleled
achievements, moving to attacks on the system
and how it’d be better with his plans at the driver’s seat
and, finally, zeroing in on the bugbear of all his bugbears.
They were opposites:
vertically challenged vs. Goliath
chocolate vs. milk
East vs. West
secure vs. insecure
responsible vs. negligent
team player vs. lone rebel without a cause
diplomatic vs. tactless
doer vs. slacker
thinker vs. whiner
He derided her presence in the academe
where he, like the useless monarchs of the halls of history, should reign.
She was the usurper who stole his crown, his right to the throne.
What crown? What throne?
The people are suffering but that glaring fact is glossed over.
Efficiency is not pivotal; his megalomaniac desire is.
He has units in education he bellowed in her face.
It should be him, not her!
Didn’t he have the utmost right all over the rest? He was, after all, the fairest of them all.
He eschewed protocol, proudly proclaiming
“They’re a waste of time” and, as if to confirm its correctness, growled
“My father and brother never used them to!”
Him not her!
Scorched by the sun, cast aside and antagonized
She moves forward, jumping the hurdles
sidestepping the puddles and parrying the blows.
She’s at that cycle of her life again when she has
deal with the knaves, smooth talkers and what not.
She knows what to do; she will not bow down her head, naturally.
She is, after all, the daughter of her parents but
she’s in no hurry to don her armour and swing her staff.
She’ll have her Starbucks drink first – the cold vanilla latte with jelly bits.