A Chance Encounter with a Stranger -Part II

If you have read earlier edition of this story , you may have some idea about which stranger I am referring to. If not then you may go through it @ https://justcasualthought.com/2020/11/22/a-chance-encounter-with-a-stranger/

So, lady was happy and went back home peacefully in the month of November, 2020. Shopkeeper also slept peacefully at his home and even dreamt about getting his money back the next day. But, alas, things didn’t pan out as per his wish. Next day was one of the longest ever day of his life. He waited and waited more…..some more….

Coming back to circa April, 2022.

Nothing was amiss during this long gap of more than 16 months. Shopkeeper was going about his job religiously in the same colony and lady was also happy in her life. But, he never forgot her. Not a single day went without thinking about her.

No one talked about money during this long period. It was strange as lady had promised to pay back very next day. But, she didn’t and shopkeeper also didn’t took steps to recover his amount. Though, amount of money the lady owed to him wasn’t very large but still small shops runs on small profits. He wasn’t operating a charity organization and lady wasn’t a poor soul.

His shop was also located in the middle of a small junction sort of neighbourhood in the middle of a tony colony. All kinds of people including poor people used to visit this prominent location and street hawkers were also in abundance at the spot. His shop was visible from all angles at this small junction so there was no chance that if that lady visited this spot, he wouldn’t have missed her for heaven.

He also seemed to have developed a strange sort of feelings for her. He was even unable to define it ? Some wounds are better left festering …… time is a great healer. But what to heal ,was unclear to this shopkeeper.

So, why he didn’t tried to find her ?

Yes, lady was beautiful and shopkeeper was also handsome , a young strapping lad.

Then, suddenly one day, a normal boring day in life of a shopkeeper during month of April when weather was getting a little hotter than usual and sun was nearer to this small town, he spotted lady walking alone on the road near his shop. Some street dogs were also barking in immediate vicinity and were trying to find respite from increasing temperature and looking for some unknown objects may be food for dog soul.

He jumped from his chair and wanted to say something. But lady walked nonchalantly and didn’t notice him.

There was a glow on her face but it seemed to carry a tinge of sadness noticeable through her large eyes.

Shopkeeper hesitated to utter a word, as if he was afraid of something. His tongue-tied face was a treat to watch for passersby. Some people even laughed in the background without a rhyme or reason. Lady also stopped near his shop and saw him. She seemed to have not recognized him and there wasn’t even a trace of friendliness in her body language.

Now, the shopkeeper was crestfallen.

Oh god, she didn’t recognized me !!

She seemed to have forgotten her promise of paying back my debt !!

He decided to refresh her memory and took out the item lady had bought on that fateful cold night of November which was still dangling from his shop. He waved this item meaninglessly as if to attract her attention. But, no, nothing happened.

It seems that either this lady has a short-term memory or she is very shrewd and cunning lady who has a habit of cheating small shopkeepers.

Thousands of emotions floated inside the head of shopkeeper but still he was unable to utter a single word to that lady.

Then , suddenly a bright light sparkled in front of him and that lady smiled towards him.

Oh my goodness…she had an amazing smile . He felt at peace with himself. He felt like getting lighter and floating in air. A smile has the power to energize and save a soul. He felt like the most luckiest man on this small junction.

All kinds of suspicious thoughts evaporated from his mind and he also smiled, not at the lady but thinking about his own foolish and awkward behaviour.

Then, lightning stuck again and magic happened.

When he looked back on the other side of road, that lady was nowhere to be seen. He tried to trace her footprints in all possible directions and scanned whole area in few seconds. But, the lady wasn’t anywhere. She had vanished in thin air !

He tried to think coherently that if what he saw was real or was it a mirage in bright sun light ? He thought about asking passersby but restrained himself.

He thought about all possible scenarios but it looked like he had lost it.

He seemed to have forgotten difference between reality and fantasy .

Was he dreaming during the day ?

What was it ? How could the lady vanish in front of his eyes ? He was unable to forget her mysterious smile ? He was perplexed ?

This smile episode happened in bright daylight in front of whole neighbourhood. Even street dogs who were scouting for food saw her. Should he ask dogs about him ? But, he didn’t had the courage to ask from dogs.

But, the question was still puzzling him.

How could she vanish in a jiffy ?

What happened ?

To be continued………………

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