A Penchant for Change

Anyone I know is at any of these tables? No. Super. What are the odds, huh! Lunchtime here is best spent in solitude. It’s not peace, but solitude will do. Now I know the fine line.

This place looks, ummm…what’s the word… ‘professional’. People here almost want to break the ice, I know it. I feel it. I could easily put them out of this misery. But I don’t. It’s nice for me that way.

I’m afraid if I……Ohhh cute girl alert. Cute girl alert. Keep cool. Stay calm. It’s the same dumb ass! Act like you’re busy! not lonely, maybe use your phone for……Don’t bother she’s gone. Was my hair okay?

Pathetic.

( sigh )

Anyway, I’m afraid I’ll become one of them if I give in. I see zero motivation. It’s so slow around here.

( Kyle, one of his new friends, passes by )

” Oh hey! How’s it going? Sitting here alone? “

” Not for long, my buddies are going to come soon. ( That’s why I’m eating quickly ). How’s it going with you? “

” Same old. Same old. ”

Surprise, surprise.

( Awkward pause ) ” Well, see you around. “

” Sure! “

Phew! I almost invited her to join me. Dodged a bullet there.

Anyway, I don’t want to be ensconced here. I’ve gotta stay aloof. I keep building these umm….imaginary walls that fortify my personality. With no sneak peeks. Authorized personnel only. But false facades could help. False facades? How redundant.

I have to step out of my fort to mingle with the crowd. A painstaking switch into a pretentious lie. Pretentious lie? What’s with you today.

I have a butt-load to shout out, but there’s no one to hear. They echo in my head. Unheard voices bouncing off unseen walls. Guess that’s how empty forts are.

Reminiscing Humanity

In a crowded train in a busy town,
A poor old guy looks around,
But sadly, a seat was not to be found,
And no one could help with heads bowed down.

Only one gentleman, with head held high,
Offers his seat to the poor old guy.
The guy takes it, returns a smile,
A smile that’s really one of a kind.

It wasn’t like a greeting, it was true,
one redolent of a warm thank you,
but sadly, no one else in the train knew.
The gentleman and the guy were the only two.

He caught his breath and took his place,
Grateful for this little space.
But the smile doesn’t last on his shriveled face,
As the look of relief quickly fades.

No matter how hard he tries,
Worry’s apparent in his eyes.
His costly watch was a poor disguise,
for his torn sweater told no lies.

He fumbles with the toothpastes in his bag,
Sales of the day had gone really bad.
He sits worried with fidgeting hands.
Feeling helpless, without plans.

But he calms himself as logic sets in,
Hopes die, reality begins.
Yesterday and today are not akin.
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win.

The act of humanity rekindles the smile,
A mellow return from a short exile.
The rest of the crowd would’ve witnessed the guy,
Had they looked up from their phones for a while.

The Silent Retreat

His last day at the university wasn’t any special. With bags packed, chores done and goodbyes told, Professor Wilkins was ready to go. After 50 exhausting years, his physical energy and his love for teaching could no longer work in tandem. Which one waned more with time? He couldn’t tell. 
He’d spent so many years at the university that he’d forgotten what life outside was like. He’d ensconced himself within the campus walls which many joked was his cocoon. He always considered it his second home, not only because of the time he spent there, but also because it felt just as deserted as his first.
He’d been a loner all his life which he insisted was by choice. He’d never been married, hence no family to go home to. The other professors couldn’t care for someone who wouldn’t keep-up with the “trend”, and for that reason he was eccentric. 
Few knew of his turmoil as societal pressure pestered his personal tenets. He forever failed to resolve the tension and always failed to adjust. A perpetual battle raged within him as he tried to suppress his conscience. When around his peers, he felt just as uncomfortable as they did. It was easier for him to evade battle than lose the war. So loner by choice he was. 
But he did have one friend to talk to; Samuel Hensberg. He was his lone companion at the university, and for that matter, his world. He felt compassion for the old man, but was wise enough not to show. He pitied his state but respected his resilience. He recognized that he was unique, but not eccentric. 
Wilkins was tired and would’ve liked nothing better than to leave. He preferred a peaceful goodbye; some time alone to feel one with his second home. His wish was granted, rather unsurprisingly. He stepped out, faced the entrance of the university and closed his eyes to reminisce. 
He wasn’t unhappy and was grateful for everything. He’d never made any breakthroughs, but he was content with his research and was glad to have passed knowledge across generations. It irked him a little that nobody had come to personally acknowledge his retirement. “I deserved better. Was it my fault?”
Although, he didn’t really blame himself.  He never did. But failure of his varied efforts to “fit-in” forced him to rethink and everytime he reached the same conclusion: it was a matter of incompatible attitudes. Nevertheless, he’d decided to finally let go. 
He put an end to the conflicting mental arguments. Hopes of a peaceful future helped assuage the woes of yesteryear. The only thing left now is an occasional pang of sadness. A lonely retirement qestioned his life-long profession and passion. “I made no difference? I inspired no one? Will my absence be felt?”.
This was a disapointment he wouldn’t be able to shake off, but he believed in himself. He reached his parking spot and found a note clipped under the windshield wiper. He picked it up with curiosity. And read.
“You mattered. Thank you!”

He looked around but found no one. The note had spared him years of guilt and he was eternally grateful for it. Hensberg was watching from afar and was happy to see him go with a smile. He didn’t know if Wilkins had recognized his script. What he did know was he didn’t have to.