He was very finicky in life, in general. He was anxious about what would happen 24 hours from now, or 36, or 72, or more. He liked to draw plans and maps to hearts on sleeves till they’d swallow him deep, and he’d end up thinking he would get what he wanted.
He had spoken to every person concerned, and planned all that was in his hands. The keys were in his pocket, the wallet in the front zipper of his backpack and his clothes neatly tucked beneath the towel in his suitcase. He had arrived forty five minutes before the train arrival time.
The station smelled of human faces and summer, the usual drill. He sat there with a newspaper that was mostly used for driving the houseflies away.
He’d check the time, again and again.
The train arrived half an hour late, and he cursed the Indian Railways under his breath as he started worrying about how he’d catch his flight from Bombay if he gets late, while pushing his suitcase under the seat, making sure it’s least visible to other passengers.
“Shit, man!” He got off on Mumbai Central station exactly when his flight took off from the airport.
He called his agent. The phone was switched off. He was abusing everything left and right, and the heat was getting on his nerves, as sweat tingled down his spine.
He got out and found a sleazy bar to quench his thirst and desperation alike; he had just missed a flight to the United Kingdom and of course, lost a lot of money.
As he mixed his drink, he cursed everyone involved in the making of his trip.
“Hi, there. Are you okay?” A woman, probably in her 30s stood in front of him. She had waist length hair and really pretty eyes. She was wearing shorts and a black shirt.
“Yeah, yeah. He said.
She gave him a dissatisfied look, and turned away.
She turned around with such grace that he felt compelled to ask her her name.
“Radhika.” She had said, as she placed her butt beside his.
They drank till they almost dropped and then stumbled out in the busy streets on Mumbai, totally unaware or un-perplexed of the tension of evening rush.
All they could see was the sun setting.
“Do you ever think that our Universe is perhaps just a book on a shelf?”
“Maybe.” He said, the world blurring like water drowning in the sink in front of him.
“What do you think the ending looks like?”
“Maybe the last pages are blank?”
“Or maybe, they have sketches.”
“And an unused visa.”
“A pint of whiskey.”
“This conversation right here.”
Both of them pushed the door of her apartment together.