“Make a wish!”, said her friend, as she picked up an eyelash that had nestled comfortably on her cheek and handed it to her. She made a fist, placed the wayward strand on it, closed her eyes, and whispered to herself….”I want a cloak. A cloak of invisibility”. And then blew hard so that the lash would fly away. Away…faraway, carrying her wish with it.
* * *
She stood in the balcony, looking at the many tall buildings that surrounded her apartment. It was a cool night and the breeze felt wonderful, with her curls brushing softly against her cheeks. She would have noticed the moonlight, had her attention not been captured by the golden lights on the street, and in the windows of the apartments.
“I wonder what goes on, behind those windows. How would those homes look? Cosy and inviting, perhaps. There would be a family… a mother, father, and kids. A family that eats together at the dinner table, talking all the while.”, she thought to herself. Her mind conjured up images of children laughing, and a mother who hugged them. Involuntarily, she gave herself a squeeze. As if to embrace the feelings that came out of the pictures in her head and make them a part of herself.
Out of the warmth, came a different kind of an emotion.
A part of her inner self stirred. And she found herself thinking. Of him. Was he in one of those houses that she was looking at now?
An wave of pleasure swept through her… and there were goosebumps on her arms. Just thinking of him could do that to her!, she smiled to herself.
Him. She’d been seeing him for many days now, in the park nearby. He’d come with his dog, and they’d be walking and running in the park. Oblivious to the world around him. He’d have his attention solely focussed on his companion; petting it, chiding and laughing at its peculiarities.
Her attention would be on him. It started off as an innocuous observation – there was something attractive about his face, and his demeanor. His agility. The sight of a grown man with his dog – their companionship was amusing. But after sometime, she realized that she went to the park solely to see him.
To look at him, and to keep looking at him till he left. Her eyes searched him out of the crowd, and could spot him, a mile away. There was a terrible urgency till she could find him. But once she did, she would be at peace. Watching him and moving stealthily behind him. He hadn’t noticed her yet. She was sure of that. The one time he’d looked straight at her face – and her heart whooshed down, till she couldn’t breathe – he turned his face away, never to look at her again.
She grinned to herself, “I might as well have been a ghost”.
Thinking of which, she wondered. What if she could be like a ghost? Someone he couldn’t see, but who could see him?
Invisible by choice. She needed, …an invisibility cloak. Something she could put on herself, whenever she felt like it.
She could walk out right now. It wouldn’t matter that it was late night because no one on the road would be able to see her. She could walk out on the streets, and past those buildings that she was looking at.
If she knew his home, she could walk in and see him. Now.
A shiver went up her spine.
His beautiful face would be next to her. That quality of innocence and vulnerability – she’d be able to see it up close. She could watch him, as he sat comfortably at home. She’d be able to watch him as he saw TV, and as he ate. He’d smile and she’d be able to see how his lips curled and his cheeks dimpled, ever so slightly. She’d be able to watch him go to sleep. And sit by his side, as his eyes closed and his breathing became rhythmic.
She thought of tracing her finger gently, on the bridge of his perfect nose, and feeling his skin under her touch. She imagined he’d have a musky smell about him. She’d watch him…as he slept without a care in the world. Not knowing she existed. Not knowing she was by his side. Loving him for all he was worth.
Yes. That was what she wanted. Freedom to love without being loved back. A cloak of invisibility.