One more time.

She slowed down as she saw him. Her eyes darkened as she saw him walk. She saw him everyday. Her heart raced with thoughts, thoughts too timid to be spoken aloud. Sometimes a flutter, sometimes a marathon. She wished he would look back.

At her.

She was no beauty, however. She was made of very plain features and an even plainer presence. Definitely not the one to attract people to her. She spoke with a tremor and smiled within a small circle built around her heart. Her smile did not go out and reach people, like it did with some others. Her laughter was private, contained within inexplicable tears. Though at times, it rained like a torrent. People never understood what to do then. For it was so unlike her.

She looked at him standing at the end of the road. Drenched in the drizzle, he was dripping, his hair falling flat against his forehead. Please look at me, she prayed silently. She cursed her ugly existence.

Yet another time.

She saw them huddled together, under one umbrella. He and that pretty girl she had often seen on the road. She was beautiful, delicate, angelic. He was looking into the pretty girl’s eyes and smiling. Unknown hatred, seizing jealousy buried her smiles for a while.

She averted her eyes and looked at the muddy puddles on the road.

The rain stopped. The pretty girl smiled at him. He smiled back. Green stars rose to the centre of her heart as she saw their smiles. Then they settled down quietly again, like dried leaves after a breeze.

One.

Two.

Three.

I wonder how many such leaves I’ve collected until today, she wondered. All of them gathering dust. Making her heart a garbage pail.

Of unfulfilled dreams.

Perhaps he will look at me now, she muttered to himself. She cursed her ugly existence.

Yet another time.

She saw his receding back vanish down the road.

Wet hair, dripping blue shirt.

She watched his back mingle into the gray blobs of life on the road.

One more leaf fell down to the ground, softly.

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