I have been getting quite a bit of inspirational snippets for a new short story recently, and they wouldn’t relent till I put them down in text. Since the muses have forced me up from bed today at really unearthly hours, here is part one:
The standard welcoming message rang out within the confines of the vessel, jolting me back to reality from my blank thoughts. I slung my satchel across and stood up carefully. It leaned against me while I adjusted my shirt and brushed the creases on my shorts. Running my fingers through my hair, I turned on my phone. Soon, the first passengers shuffled out the exit, and I too joined them.
I was nervous, yet a strange sense of calm prevailed in my mind. It was as though it had all been planned – the route I’d take, the journey I’d make. Perhaps it was so, from the first time I heard his voice. Presenting my travel documents at the counter, I could hear the radioed announcements, the never-ending rhythms of people moving, walking, running and the loud, happy chatter of other tourists. Should I be feeling happy too? I wasn’t sure.
That was the first thought that came to my mind. I could feel my hair stand on my arms and neck and the thrill down my spine as he continued his repertoire on the stage with his band mates. It was the first time I paid attention to them, and the first time I heard that song.
It was the first time I heard him.
And how his voice penetrated the depths of my soul. It was deep as the sea, yet unpretentiously gentle as the morning sun. It killed as instantly as it revived. And there he stood, unaware of it all, a faint smile curled around his lips as he wiped across his brow with the back of a checkered sleeve while the crowd screamed for more.
He was confident and he had swag, yet somehow, there was an untouchable core – carefully concealed, recoiled and brooding. A strange surge of emotion rushed through my veins and I stopped for a moment to ponder what it was, then quickly brushed it aside. I had to speak with him.
He was sitting a distance away, in the second seat of a front row of conjoined plastic chairs, dressed in fitted indigo denim, a simple grey tee and a tailored black suede jacket. Bent forward at a slight angle, he was staring into the distance from behind his sunglasses as he sat clasping his phone in both hands. I walked up and seated myself abruptly beside him. Hastily he straightened himself and glanced over, then broke into a faint smile and removed his sunglasses.
“You’re here. Why didn’t you call me?”
“I didn’t need to. Already spotted your hair.”
“Haha… it’s that bad huh.”
“Nah, it’s fine. So let’s get out of here. I’m famished!”
– End of part one –