Winter, after a scorching summer, is always pleasant. Not for Dina. She could not gather her guts to get up on a gloomy, cold, winter morning for a jog in the nearby park. As soon as she looked out of her window at 6 am, she let out an involuntary grunt, “Darn it!” But it was not the alarm that motivated her to step out of her comforter into comfortable shoes. It was something else that prompted her.
Dragging herself out of the house, she somehow managed to find her feet. Further ahead she refrained from meeting the regards of her prying neighbours. Pests!
In thirty-two years of her life, she was never motivated to jog. Till a few months ago, when she found a motive. After a few rounds of the track, she began stretching beside a bench. And then he came in. The one who made her trace his steps even if it meant a repeat for her. The one who would never look at her, despite her graceful charm. Ahem!
A neighbour called out and as she turned around, her stretched arm slapped a passerby. The elderly chap gave her a death stare, mumbled under his breath and turned around. What a jerk!
The neighbour approached her. “Hey, did you check out the poster of the new salon in the vicinity?” This was not an ideal conversation starter. Even so, Dina amused the invader with a nod. “It has Salema’s picture! Remember the burqa-clad singer who lives two blocks away and refuses to engage with us?” Dina almost cringed at the idea of having this conversation. Her attention was stuck on her heart-throb who had found the company of another girl from the colony. What a lizard! she thought to herself. Her eyes followed the ‘two’ who were now walking towards the gym in synchronised steps. The neighbour continued her chatter in the background. Soon, she concluded the character-analysis of all the single girls around and retired. Dina gave her half a hug and stepped away. She was quick to head towards the gym.
The cross-trainers in the gym were all occupied, so she found a vacant treadmill. As soon as she was about to step on it, a curly-top, pimple-faced teen grinned at her, “aunty, may I use it for 20?” Dina had half a foot already on the treadmill, but the creepiness of his toothy grin made her retrace. She scanned the gym to look for the ‘two.’ There in a corner, they were chatting on the leg-press. And that’s where she headed next. She settled herself on the leg-press and as soon as she extended her leg, “aarrgh!” she let out. The gym trainer leapt to her rescue and dismounted her from the equipment. A roar of laughter erupted tearing the loud music playing in the gym.
With tears stinging her eyes, Dina’s gaze fell on him. Immediately he pressed his lips to stop himself from laughing. Her whole world melted. Even with a cramped leg and a bruised ego, she managed to let the slight roll over her. For once it was not a smile that won her heart, but a repressed one. With a resolve that she would continue to pursue him, she left for home.
After all, tomorrow is another day!
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