With a definite groan, the key turned into the lock and the door creaked open. She let the whiff of stale air dilute, before stepping in and switching on the dim, yellow light bulb. Taking that for a cue, the lanky yet starkly handsome man followed her. Their eyes flickered as they looked towards the corner. Stepping forward, she swished away the grey sheet.
A silver glint caught her eye. She inhaled sharply, for she hadn’t expected it to look the same. It’s been nine years, but it still looked the same. No indicators, nothing to measure fuel level by. It was just the simple motor cycle that it has always been.
He moved forward with the look of an expert; she stepped back. Something in her twitched as he touched the handle bar. A twitch that turned into a sharp stab while he tried to kick it on. No, this isn’t right – a voice said in her ear, in her own voice.
It seemed like yesterday when Papa had her perched on the same bike for an evening ride. All to get her a chocolate pastry. The one with a cherry in the middle. He knew she loved bikes; she knew he loved her.
She hadn’t cried even on her first day to school, for Papa had promised to pick her up on the black bike. She could still remember him, waiting for her at the parking lot, with an orange ice candy in his hand. She had gobbled it up, while he patiently wiped the orange trickle off her chin with his white cotton handkerchief.
With a whiff of dust that rose from the bike as the man took it off the stand, came another memory. The day she got slapped by Papa for trying to control the bike handle. She had felt like she could control the old machine, sitting happily on the fuel tank. Both of them would have fallen off that day.
Mist rose before her eyes as she swam back into the past. Until… the man coughed. He looked pleased.
“1.5.. it’s an old beauty. I will pay in one go. Tomorrow, if you say so.”
“The bike, of course.”
Something choked her from speaking. The silence stretched on for a few minutes as the guy looked on expectantly. Then, she looked him in the eye and said, “this isn’t not for sale. I’m sorry for wasting your time. Perhaps, you understand.”
With an air of finality, she stepped out of the garage. He looked bemused rather than angry. For he bowed and left.
And she… she left the light on, the gate open. Only to be back in some minutes, tugging a vacuum cleaner.
Like memories, bikes can’t be sold. They just gather dust that goes off after a hard rain. Of tears sometimes.
Wordswork – Shikha Gautam
Graphics – https://www.facebook.com/7amdesign.in