So it was one of those evenings on a regular summer day, when the sun dips low into the horizon and gives the sky that concentrated pink hue which reminds you of a burning fever you once had when you were a child. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you. You came back home from school one day, or probably after playing for hours in your neighbourhood, and then suddenly your world was taken hold by this fever which threw you in a kind of delirium you were too young to comprehend, and you kept dreaming about this place with a bright pink sky. No? Well, maybe its just me. But I hope you now have a fair idea of what kind of evening it was. Pink and delirious, and maybe such evenings bring with them a gateway to the uncanny, or maybe its just my excuse to look for the uncanny.
The pink sky brought with it a stifling heat, and walking down the roads of my little town I soon began to look around for something which would make the walking a tad bit easier. Why was I walking in the first place if the heat was bothering me too much you ask? I agree with you too, it sure doesn’t make much sense, but I sometimes tend to be a senseless person. To forego reason and to give in to the desires of the mind is a testing temptation, and I quite often love to give in. Also, the delirious sky of my childhood was imploring me to get out and explore, just like my childhood self imagined I would do once I grew up. Now that I’m a grown up and free to do almost whatever I wish, I believe I owe it to the child that once dreamed. Silly dreams.
There is no better way of enjoying an evening than sitting in a park and breathing in everything. Also, you get to watch the people around you being themselves. Its one of my favourite pastimes, watching people when they are engrossed in their own intricately woven pieces of glory. But, sometimes, when they think that no one is watching, those carefully woven cloaks fall off, and what lies underneath is what interests me the most. I was busy thinking, happy in my own intricately woven cloak when I felt that my cloak was being slowly but steadily pulled away. I was being watched! The nerve! I slowly, surreptitiously moved my head towards the direction my senses were screaming, and found nothing. That’s odd. Is it the delirium acting again? I thought I was too old for that. But the feeling was still there! I looked around again, but nothing, just people milling about with their usual cloaks. Then I hear a squeaky noise. Someone coughs. I look down and find a little girl staring back at me. “Well hello there”, I bend down to her level and say. She looks back with her big eyes and a solemn expression and says nothing.”Don’t you recognize me, I live right next to you”, I meet with a set of blinking eyes, they blink once. I’ve seen her here a couple of times with her mother. This tiny creature always catches my attention with her bobbing piglets on each side of her tiny little head. This time she is wearing a red frock with matching rubberbands. For the bobbing head with the matching rubber bands, I try again,”Are you lost? Do you want help in getting home”?
“Yes, please,”she says in a sombre undertone.
“Oh so you do speak.”
I’m met with a cold stare. The girl starts walking, and I shove my hands in my pockets and follow her. So much for the delirious sky and everything. I sigh inwards and keep following the bobbing head with its matching rubber bands. Maybe she bobs her head to a song, I wonder. We snake out of the park and start walking in the general direction of the building where we live, the girl’s head bobbing all along and this becomes the focus of my thoughts. We have walked a while and I look up just as I’m wondering about what’s taking us so long and I find ourselves surrounded by trees. No, these were dead trees. Just as I start to panic, I spot our building in a distance. Looks like my little friend took a little detour, maybe she wants to explore and was never allowed to. Maybe the pink sky was acting out after all. I follow the bobbing head with the matching hair bands and for the first time, I’m actually curious about more than her little bobbing head.
She looks back once to make sure I’m on her trail, gives me a triumphant look, and skips ahead with a little brown paper bag dangling on her spindly arms. Wait, where did that come from. Maybe she had it with her all along, I was too busy with her bobbing head to notice anything else in the first place. The bobbing stops and now I see that something has caught her attention, something significant that has stopped the bobbing. She bends down and is now picking at something and shoving it in her paper bag. I wonder what could she possibly find worth shoving for in this wasteland where the trees smell like they could burn with just a little more heat. The pictures that come to my mind gives me a cold shudder. So I walk up to her and bend down next to her. She gives me a brief look and then resumes her task. Dreading to find something sinister, I steal a look. How could these possibly end up here? My tiny little friend is busy picking at mermaid tears and placing them very carefully in her paper bag. My natty little friend dragged me in a wasteland to collect colorful stones. Her face is lined with concentration. I almost laugh, oh the things I imagined, they are just pretty stones.
I wait till she is done with her task, and after she has made sure that she has got hold of every little stone, she gets up dusts her frock, holds the little brown paper bag carefully in both of her hands and looks at me. “Ready to go home?”, I ask her. She answers in a single nod and we head back, this time, her head not bobbing, being so busy with not spilling the contents of her paper bag, and me looking around and focusing on not getting lost again. We reach the compound of our building and she runs away to the play area, clutching the little brown paper bag to her chest, with her head bobbing with its matching rubber bands. I look around at the sky, it has now turned into its normal light blue, almost as if the dead forest had claimed it for itself in return of the mermaid tears we took from it. I sigh again and head back home.
Evening gave way to night and I had made peace with waiting for my pink sky again. Maybe someday it would grace my window again, and maybe I would again go out in search of my delirium, or whatever it was I was looking for. I go to my bed and find the same little brown paper bag sitting on my bed. I should be freaked I know, but I can’t help being curious and a little excited. I grab it and look inside. It contains nothing but a sheet. The sheet has a drawing of a park with a pink sky in a child’s hand, and the drawing is sprinkled all over with mermaid tears. I smile and turn the sheet over, expecting not to find anything but turning it over all the same, and on finding nothing, I smile again. I walk over to my window to look at that dry wasteland, and of course, find the building’s parking lot instead. Of course, it has been there all along, how could I expect anything else. Smiling, I walk back to my bed, place the picture and the little brown paper bag on my desk, and go to sleep.