Wednesday, March 25, 2020

High in the Sky

Today's prompt.
A meets B (Name them in your narrative if you'd like; fiction or non-fiction; your pick).
B says: Have we met before?
A says: I'm not sure, but I think we may have...
Continue the tale. 500 words.
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Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra
High in the Sky
For once Reena was travelling business class. Her husband had earned enough points with all his business travel to get her tickets to Houston via Frankfurt upgraded. She was going to stay with her daughter and son-in-law, for the final month of her daughter’s pregnancy, and, of course, for a few months after the delivery. Her husband would be joining her a couple of months later, when, according to him, the baby was more human and less mouse-like. Someone you could pick up comfortably.
She had settled down comfortably, watching the other passengers enter. A middle-aged gentleman sat in the seat next to hers, and nodded pleasantly. He seemed vaguely familiar, but then so many people in Delhi looked familiar. She had lived in cities all over India, and was, finally, back “home’ in Delhi. So many people looked like people she knew, or ought to remember knowing. Something kept bugging her memory, an unscratchable itch.
She asks him, knowing that this sounds like a cheesy pickup line, except that she is a venerable grandmother–to-be: Excuse me, you look very familiar. Have I met you somewhere?
He says, Sorry Ma’am, I don’t think so, and turns back to the book he is reading.
She turns back to her magazine, pretending to read, still bothered by his unplaceable familiarity.
He gets up to use the washroom, leaving his book face down on his seat.
She curses herself for being an old nosey parker, and picks it up. His name is on the flyleaf. Rohit Singh.
An innocuous enough name. But what rings a bell are the circles with which he has dotted the “I” in both his first name and surname. He had been a couple of years her junior in college, and was assigned to her as the subject for her Case Study of an Adolescent. She had interviewed him and his family, administered various tests, during the course of which she became familiar with his handwriting, his signature, and had submitted a case study she was proud of. She had treated him to a Chinese lunch as his reward for being her subject. That was over thirty five years ago. Did she care to renew that brief but fairly intense acquaintanceship? Did she even care to spend the next few hours sharing life details with a virtual stranger?
She puts the book down, and returns to her magazine.
Rohit Singh emerges from the washroom. He takes a good look at Reena as he walks toward his seat. She does strike him as familiar, but is completely unable to place her. It bothers him, that itch to know who she is.
Reena has, out of the corner of her eye, seen the look of slight bewilderment on his face.She hugs her secret knowledge to herself. She has the duration of the flight to decide whether or not to enlighten him. She feels, foolishly she knows, powerful.

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