(This is a work of fiction. The writer gives to the reader the liberty to post this work anywhere online but not with wrong credits. Also, any form of printing or publication is prohibited without prior notice.)

[Short Story]


A simple handbag was all he had and in it were all his belongings which he was carrying to an unknown destination for an uncertain period of time. The fellow passenger in the front seat looked bewildered at the amazement with which this old man looked outside the window. Was he really as old as he looked? His appearance confused the passenger. It seemed as if all those years had played their share of trickeries on his wrinkled skin and his greying hairs, deepening the lines on his face and his sagging bright eyes. But the jump in his voice suggested something else – that he was young in his heart, a curious little child in his thoughts.

 
He was traveling with all that he had, to wherever his heart would take him. His journey was his destination and so he had taken all they had earned, to fulfill their dreams. Their dreams. The dreams the two of them had woven together and packed in that worn-out handbag, the other one not being the strange fellow passenger, but someone who meant everything to him. And with the ten shells which were the leftover of his life’s savings, he was going to travel, read, absorb and reflect for her fulfilment.

“Three for your travels, one for your clothes, two for your food and four for your education” she had said to him. “And make sure you share your bread and your blanket and your seat with someone who might need it, because along the way, you will lose money, but you will also gain experiences. And experiences are far more precious than shiny, glittery things.”

He would often smile at the amount of wisdom she possessed, kiss her forehead and then she would go on telling him stories of her travel to other cities and towns. It intrigued him, sometimes brought tears to his eyes. He would then use his hand gestures to tell her how much she meant to him. He would tell her how much he wanted to be able to talk with his own mouth before bursting into tears.

After all those years, he was lucky to have scored a window seat, in front of that stranger, who was going to be his companion for the rest of the journey. She had told him that the window of a train was like an ever-lasting cinema, a constantly changing picture with no ending. It went on and on, the scenes outside kept changing, the way people dressed themselves, the crops they cultivated, the cattle they reared changed with distance. It was like a window to the world, and it gave in so much to the viewer, so much in so less time, words were merely moles to describe the vastness of that feeling.

“Don’t worry, my mirage, I am not leaving you for long. I am taking you along with me, to all the places you have told me about, to all those golden lakes and diamond mountains. To those mystical places you told me where the furry giants reside, where rivers of elixir flow and the taste of fruits is beyond human comprehension. My bag is not big or strong enough to bring back too many things, but I promise, I will fill it with experiences before I come back. And when I am back, I promise I will fulfill all my promises I have made to you”, he said looking outside the window at her.

The confusion of the fellow passenger reached a tipping point and he finally opened his mouth to ask, “who are you talking to, mister?”

“I wish you could see her, too” was all he said, looking outside the window, as the train began to move.

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