Monday, March 13, 2006

A girl with a limp

"Heya, heya, heya," the girl with the limp hollered as she moved towards me.
"What’s with the American accent and all?", I said, “Got a second cousin who lives there?” I hadn’t quite meant this to come out so sneeringly, but it was out before I could clamp my lips and put the words back inside.

We had met at the park only two days ago, and it was early days yet for that kind of talk. But I had had a rough day, a one-of-those-days kind of a day where almost everyone had been impatient or unreasonable or both. Sometimes its tough to tell the difference. Still, on those days, I tend to spit out my words faster than a bullet train going off the rails.

The girl with the limp didn’t seem upset though. Maybe she just didn’t get the sarcasm. I used to know a guy like that when I was in school. Fatty, Fatty, we would scream at him, simply because he was so thin. He was so thin that you could sometimes miss seeing him if there were enough other people around. But he never seemed to mind when we called him fatty. He just went on smiling this beatific smile, this wide-angled smile that ranged over everyone in his orbit, whether or not they wanted to be included.

I didn’t know much about the girl yet. Not what she did, not what she liked, not why she had that peculiar limp, not even her name. Her limp wasn’t like the ones you saw on people whose parents had carelessly forgotten about the polio drops. No, it wasn’t that obvious. Infact, if you saw her from a distance, you would just think that she was walking very slowly, very very slowly, perhaps pausing to watch the poinsettias in the park or halting because of a pinching shoe. But when she came towards you, the limp was visible. It was an abstract imperfection of the legs, a straining caused by no noticeable deformity, and yet manifest in the distance of ten seconds between the contact of one leg with the ground, and then, another.

My white shirt was flecked with mud and grass from the park, leftovers from the few green spots still unpaved by concrete. She perched herself on the railing next to me, only a smile in response to my question. I wanted to ask her many things, didn’t she have anything to do with her evenings, why did she hang out at the park where nothing interesting ever happened, what did she do with her day, what was the mystery about the limp.

She was a bright eyed lady of shalott, her face glowing in the borrowed light of the setting sun. Her smile was slow and subtle, pulling me in too fast, too soon. I was overset by a peculiar attraction, made more attractive by its very strangeness. The limp seemed the key to it, a perverse addition to the appeal.

I stopped analyzing, for a moment, letting myself enjoy the beauty, of a moment that would pass by too soon.

11 comments:

Anjali said...

Beautifully written ...

TLW said...

Beautiful !!!

"why did she hang out at the park where nothing interesting ever happened"

Well, I for one get to meet all kind of people in the park - or is that not quite interesting ?? ;-)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Her face glowing in the borrowed light of ... lovely. i like the way you've captured her annoyance and subsequent contrition.

Srihari said...

Very nice, especially for people like me, who tend to over-analyse things. People who keep fleecing the beautiful flesh and skin of everything just to confirm if only the bones remain.

apu said...

Thanks everyone!

TLW - Obv. nothing interesting happens to me:)

Shoefie, what you 'read' is interesting, cause I didnt actually write some of those meanings...

Dreamvendor said...

Lovely writing. Esp. liked the way you wrote about how she looked from a distance... vivid...

Aran said...

You make me think of what happens to your characters outside of the little post in your blog. :)

apu said...

Aran, actually I should develop them into something more, but sheer laziness prevents me...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words.
Is the limp inspired by South Of The Border...?

Smita

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