Short Short Stories

HOLDING HANDS AND WALKING AWAY

He noticed that she didn’t hold his hand as passersby walked indifferently. She was next to him. Same pace, same gait but there was an ache in the pit of his stomach. Here, it has already started. When a free hand becomes shackled and when an inner struggle becomes an outright fight. He felt her aloofness when short answers were courtly exchanged the night before and now, his mind filled with questions.

They stopped at a red light. The soft warmth of a breeze brushed their faces and took him back to that summer in the Dominican. Six months it took her to lay her head on his shoulder, lay wet kisses on his collarbone and with one look, her eyes would dance. Green light. He looked at her now and only her dress danced with her stride. She still hadn’t noticed his gaze…

But she did, but she chose not to return it, afraid that it would ignite the spark that she had been smouldering. The balance, its been tipping on her end for sometime, weighing herself and what she would lose. Oh! Did she give away love or power, she didn’t know and we mix the two too often. If it was three months ago, her eyes would wait patiently for his gaze and his smile told her there was a chance. But who waits on chances? She kept on walking to keep the pace and to keep her space. He felt her tug for a long time.This time, he was the one pulling.

“Can we stop for a minute?”, he grabbed on her hand firmly.

“Sure!”, she squeezed in a forced grin.

“I haven’t even held you today. I mean, why are we going so fast?”

“Well, we got to be there for 11:30.”, looking at him made her hold her breath. Anxiety was kicking in.

“You haven’t held my hand today. We always hold hands.”

Always? She repeated to herself. Yes, I’ve held yours but you never held mine. 

“I didn’t notice.”

She gripped his hand even tighter, curling her lips to a smile and continued walking. They passed the passersby indifferently. He wasn’t totally convinced. He was only relieved she didn’t let go.