The Travelling Shoe
Updated: Feb 22, 2021
It was a long night. I had been studying for the whole time and didn’t realize that the birds outside had started chirping. I looked at my watch and it had just struck 5.30. I stared at my computer screen and was glad to see that my assignment has finally completed. I added a smiley at the end, but a voice in my head said, ‘it’s not professional!’ It was the voice of some old friend, I tried to remember his face, but no image came to my mind. I sighed and deleted the semi-colon and D.
I yawned, I needed some food and some sleep. I logged off from the PC and looked around. The library was empty, as usual. A bulb was flickering in the far corner. I got up, packed my bag and came out of the university. Should I call the cab? Nah, I want to walk.
It’s dangerous, you will get mugged!’
I looked around, but again it was the same voice in my head. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my cell phone, but suddenly I realized that it got switched off long time back. ‘I don’t have a choice, bro!’ I replied, and I started walking.
It was still dark, and the route was long. Walking uphill is always tough, but I always liked it in the early morning because your breathing becomes fast, you take in a lot of fresh air and you feel good. The university on my left side was gleaming as gloriously as ever, and on the other hand, there was this dark forest with trees standing mysteriously. I started thinking about my next day, I have to attend 3 classes, won’t get free till 9 pm, I must remember to pack some apples this time, I am losing weight, I have to complete another assignment for next week, the professor’s gonna…
What was that?! I looked around, but there was nobody. I ignored and kept walking. Srrrrr. I stopped in my tracks. There was nobody, but then from where this sound was coming? I looked in the direction of forest, but it was just the same, ‘It must be the trees…’Srrrr… I caught a movement behind the trees… It must be a lost homeless or a mugger, I should hurry! I increased my pace and started walking furiously when suddenly somebody whispered out, Anang….
I stopped again! Who called me? I couldn’t recognize the voice and it was so low, it felt like the wind was carrying the sound from far away. Anang.. It’s coming from the forest! How does a homeless know my name? Anang… I got scared. Anang… the voice called again, and I stepped slowly towards the forest and stopped at the point where the concrete road ends and the grass starts. I tried to look inside the forest, but couldn’t distinguish anything. The voice called again and I put my foot on the grass.
‘Bad Idea!’ my friend said. I stopped again.
Anang…Oh what the hell! I walked into the forest. It was totally dark and I couldn’t figure out where I was headed but I kept moving. Anang… The voice was growing and I was just following it. And suddenly it was pin-drop silence. I was deep inside the forest and everything looked same. Pitch Black! I turned around, but no use, I didn’t remember which way I came. I stopped and was hoping to hear my name again. But there was nothing. I lowered my head and held my jacket around myself tightly.
The wind was harsh. My eyes were watering. The darkness engulfed me and I started thinking about everything that I was avoiding. What am I doing! Why am I struggling too much! I am away from my home, my family, my friends and all I am doing is struggle. Studying the subjects I don’t like, hanging out with friends who complain, faking my smiles, forcing myself to do those things that I had never done, never wanted to do. A tear dropped on my cheek and I started crying… I was feeling very low and down. I wanted to go home…
Srrrr… I wiped my face with my right arm and I ran towards my left and suddenly I was in open space. There was a figure standing there in the far distance with her back facing me. I couldn’t discern who it was but from her skirt I could tell that she was a girl.
I said hey! She said nothing, I was still staring at her back. ‘Who are you? How do you know my name?’, I shouted! No answer. I stood there, doing nothing. Some time passed. We both were standing like statues, not moving an inch. I calmed down a little and my breathing got normal. My tears dried upon my face. The first lights of the day were coming up from the horizon. The red rays were falling on the leaves and finally I was able to see the person far away.
She looked like a girl in her early twenties. She was wearing an orange top and a white skirt that went all the way down just to cover her knees. She had long wavy hairs which were red in color. She looked like she is staring at the cover of trees in front of her. The trees were light green with long leaves and wide trunks, but because of the denseness of the forest, the trunks also seemed to be covered in leaves. I was still staring at her back, when she moved a step ahead. Srrr.. Ok, so it was her moving through the fallen leaves! She moved a little more and suddenly she turned..
It was the most beautiful scene I had seen in my life! She was fair, smart and very pretty. Her eyes were blue and her orange top matched with the little crimson light still falling on the leaves. She looked at me from far, passed me a smile and suddenly the sun came up! It was the best feeling I had gotten in a long time, it was so peaceful, so quiet, so serene, so pure! She was still smiling at me and I was absorbing all of her. There was a wisp of wind and her wavy hair fell upon her face. She rolled her eyes, took her hair locks between two fingers and stuck it behind her ear. I chuckled a little and she changed her expression. She tilted her head a little towards her shoulder and stared at me in my eyes, as if asking, ‘What’s so funny about it?’
I smiled and walked towards her. With every step I moved ahead, I felt happier! I stopped in front of her, reached for her hair and threw some hair back on her face. She smiled again. I moved my fingers through her hair. She closed her eyes as if she was enjoying it. Her hair flowed through my fingers like the waters in the river. I moved my hand towards her cheek and rubbed it gently with the back of my palm. It was as soft as the first snow on the streets in the winters. We were very close. She opened her eyes. Were her eyes really beautiful or was it just the sky reflecting in them? I could see my image in them but my image was not exactly me! It was me from my childhood! I was wet from the rains and I was laughing! It was such a nice feeling, I wanted to shout out loud, I wanted to laugh! She chuckled and I chuckled too. She gave me a mischievous look, suddenly turned back and ran into the forest.
I ran after her, she was fast! We were laughing and I was still chasing her. She ran out of the forest and stopped beside a lake. I stopped too and we both smiled at each other. I wanted it to be like this forever, I wanted her to keep smiling at me and the world would stop. All my bad thoughts, all my negativity drained out, and I felt elated like never before. I asked her, ‘Who are you?’
She came towards me, hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, ‘I am your dream…’, and she vanished!
I was shocked! My friend voiced, ‘Dude, you shouldn’t have done this; nobody should go to the forest…’ I said, ‘I don’t know what I did, but now I know what I should do!’
I came out of the forest and ran towards the university. There were students in their morning jammies in all the directions and were going into their respective classes. I kept running until I reached the library, logged into a PC and opened my assignment. I scrolled it down all the way to the end and added a last line with two smileys in it..
Thank you professor for assigning me this homework, I learned a lot! :D :D
There will be times when you feel like you are lost, there will be voices in your head that will stop you from doing things that you like; but don’t give in to them, don’t lose your originality, be yourself! Don’t think about the 3 bad friends that you have, but think of the 30 awesome friends that you made. That’s the only way you can achieve your dreams, and that’s the only way you can stay happy! Remember, in every dark forest you enter, you will always find your red-haired girl.. U just need to keep looking :D