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feather light touches

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The first time she sees him, it happens unexpectedly—a momentary universal glitch.

 

She's standing across the street from where he stood, hands clammy and useless beside her. There is a brief, startling moment of sheer absurdity, struck by an odd sense of déjà vu, as if this moment has happened before—in a movie, in a book, perhaps a long time ago, perhaps in a different setting.

 

Have you been waiting long?

 

She feels it—invisible, intangible, weightless—the cold autumn air.

 

The pedestrian crossing light turns green and the crowd resumes, the world once again set in motion.

 

How strange, she thinks in between the banal noise of the traffic and the earthy smell after rain. How strange, she thinks in between the pounding of her heart and the ringing in her ears. How strange, she thinks, does the wind grieve?

 


 

A peculiar feeling of expectancy follows her after, as if something is there, thrumming faintly, just beneath the surface, merely waiting for her to grasp it.

 

It comes in flashes; in class mid lecture, in the dull silence of the library, amidst the throng of people in the hallway, and on the bus on her way home. It comes vague, and nebulous, like the colored lights blurred and fluid in the watery dark, leaving incoherent little fragmented silhouettes of something, someone —relentlessly plaguing her.

 


 

She eventually learns his name.

 

Nam Dosan.

 

Something beckons her to it, to him. It’s sitting at the tip of her tongue, merely waiting for her to utter it. To put into existence.

 

In the vacancy of her room, she tries to say it, her mouth opens but her throat clicks.

 

She doesn't understand why she wants to cry.

 


 

She meets with her friend one day and she's absentmindedly playing with her food when a ridiculous, stupefying notion comes to her suddenly. "Do you believe in soulmates?" she asks, heart hammering and fingers shaking, as though something shifted.

 

Saha doesn't even look up from her phone, doesn't bother validating her question with an answer.

 


 

Flashes of whispered promises and feather light touches overcomes her for a split second before she blinks and it all vanishes into nothing. She'd forget about it too, as quickly as it came, if not for the irrational sense of loneliness that settles on the gap it left.

 

Sometimes, very briefly, her eyes would wander to her hands.

 


 

They graduate and she never felt so uncertain, so scared, so lost and she wants to cry and she doesn't understand still, the subtle ache in her chest that seems to grow as the too many missed chances weighs heavier day by day.

 

She spends her days bracing for something that’s never going to come and she doesn't understand why she feels like she's stuck in some moratorium, unmoving, on static. She wonders, and wonders and wonders for a long time.

 


 

The next time she sees him, it happens unexpectedly—a momentary universal glitch.

 

She's standing across the street from where he stood, hands clammy and useless beside her. There is a brief, startling moment of sheer absurdity, struck by an odd sense of déjà vu, as if this moment has happened before—in a movie, in a book, perhaps a long time ago, perhaps in a different setting.

 

Have you been waiting long?

 

She feels it—invisible, intangible, weightless—a whole life time and a thousand more.

 

The pedestrian crossing light turns green and the crowd resumes, the world once again set in motion.

 

How strange, she thinks in between the noise of the traffic and the earthy smell after rain. How strange, she thinks in between the pounding of her heart and the ringing in her ears. How strange, she thinks just as cold wind gushes by, rustling the trees awake, the handful of yards between them feels like a hair’s breadth and from across the very same street, their eyes meet—everything collapses.