Strayed

Ep 2:

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Across the bridge!

Thud.

A box of cereal fell on the floor from the food section in the D- mart, followed by a dozen other boxes.

Several heads turned around to see what caused the commotion, and a guy wearing khaki shorts and a blue t-shirt with a print “D-licious” slapped across it, clutching a box of cereal in one hand, looked sheepishly at the mess he’d just made.

A store employee, rushed to check out the ruckus, clearly displeased by the fuss. A box had accidentally broke open, and its contents had spilled across the floor. Rohit, the culprit who’d just pulled out a box from the bottom of the stack, off the top shelf, stood amidst the clutter, with a deer in the headlights look.

“Um, I’m sorry, this was the only box of Chocos I could find” Rohit embarrassedly held out the box, clearly regretting his decision.

The store clerk tried to conceal his irritation by plastering a smile on his face and walked away to fetch a broom.

“Um, I’m sorry, I’ll clean this up, let me just…” Rohit absently followed the clerk, clutching his box and stomping on the scattered cereal on the floor on his way, like a modern day Godzilla.

Another employee stepped in and politely escorted him away, reassuring that it would be all taken care of.

Feeling guilty, he trudged to the billing counter, checked out his groceries and headed to his bicycle, which he’d fastened to a lamp post. As he dragged his cycle back to the road, he noticed a girl next to him, seated on a two wheeler, her feet barely touching the ground as she struggled to push it backwards, out of the sloped pavement. She couldn’t turn it around as other vehicles were closely parked next to hers.

It was dark and late; people hurried past her, eager to reach home. Nobody gave her a hand, as she pushed her heavy scooter back, 2 inches at a time. This went on for a while, and Rohit amusedly watched her.

She looked at him, her face pleading for help, but words too stubborn to come out.

“Here comes Superman!” He whispered to himself as he dramatically walked up to her, and pulled the vehicle back on to the main road. She started the scooty in an instant and rode away, without so much as a look or a smile.

“Oh, that was so kind of you, thank you!” Rohit mimicked to himself in a feminine tone, flapping his arms in mock excitement.

“No no, don’t mention it, it was my pleasure to help a pretty girl like yourself” he continued in a husky male voice, leaning over the lamp post, for effect.

There was nobody around him, except for few stray dogs, who occasionally looked at him, bemused of his conversation.

“Oh, stop you! Do you really think that I am pretty?” He continued with his impression of a girl, blushing and twirling every ten seconds.

“No doubt! Why else do you think I kept staring at you instead of helping you, princess?” Rohit picked up his bicycle, gently pushing it towards home, still pretending as if the girl was walking beside him.

“You look well yourself!” giggled she-Rohit in a girly way, continuing his charade.

“Why, thank you! I also have been working out” Rohit said, flexing his biceps.

It was no gun show, but he certainly had been working out, 2 months now. Two months of healthy diet, bicycling and exercise made him feel slightly confident and strong.

“Would you go out with me?” He wondered out loud, resuming to his normal self again and gazed up at the stars. They always made him feel small and insignificant, but he any ways felt that way all the time.

Tonight, he felt different, like something deep was unlocked within him, as if a burden had just been lifted. He wasn’t sure.

“Probably not!” He sighed.

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