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MAMIHLAPINATAPAI

Meaning - a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something they both desire but which neither wants to begin


The relativity of time plays itself in mysterious ways. I anxiously sat on a bench waiting for my bus. To be honest, I was anxious for another reason. Samantha boards the same bus to the plaza. The bus runs from the city hall to the plaza. Samantha Redding-Burns was an unassuming and kind woman. She worked tough shifts at a design firm coordinating several projects of complex nature. She was married to a fund manager, Max Burns. Samantha and Max had their office in the same building in the business district. Max was a ruthless and strict manager of a USD 350 million dollar hedge fund company. He was a workaholic amongst workaholics. A man of few words as many would say. It was a rumor among the employees that he has not laughed in a long time. They regarded him as nothing less than Mr. Darcy of the pride and the prejudice. Samantha had something unique about her. Her expressive and kind aura inspired everyone around her. It was nothing less than a miracle how Max met Samantha. The office had a common cafeteria. The round table outside the cafe was Max's spot. Samantha always took a seat at the edge. Every day at 12:30 PM, Max and Samantha had their lunch sitting opposite each other. They caught each other's glimpse. It was a short duration but Max lived his happiest time. He was enchanted by her smile and unique sapphire eyes. It was like diving into a crystal clear ocean embracing every inch of skin and calm serenaded his entire being with every crash of waves. He thought to himself about the naivete of a grown man to fall innocently in love. Several days had passed like this and Max could only feel the torment growing as he noticed his helplessness in the situation. He resigned to his fate and decided to change his spot. Samantha took side glances every time Max was on a call during the lunch hours. She knew about Max from her office colleagues. The shark of the 7th floor, devil incarnate and boogeyman were a few of the nicknames bestowed to Max by his workers. Samantha never understood the brutality of the financial world. She was intrigued by Max. An aura of enigma around Max nudged her interest further. Samantha noticed that Max was not there in his usual place. She searched around to see him but nowhere she could find Max. A few days went by and Max was not to be found. On a fine rainy day, Samantha was waiting in the elevator to leave for home. The elevator opened and there was Max alone eating his hamburger. She lost her balance there for a moment but instantly regained her stoic. She stood beside him. Max was devouring on his hamburger and Samantha wondered what kind of a man eats like that. The elevator opened and Samantha took flight as she hurried down the lobby. She opened her bag to find her umbrella. Her miserable destiny struck as she realized that she had forgotten her umbrella in the foyer. She called for a taxi but none responded. Max stood beside Samantha. He took out his umbrella and signaled to her to take it. Samantha politely declined to say that he would need it too. Max saw her in the eyes closely for the first time. He left the umbrella down on the floor and walked out turning the bag over his head. Samantha watched him going out. She smiled to herself, "Idiot" she whispered. I sat across from Samantha. Her face had wrinkled but that radiant smile never dulled. She arrived at the plaza. She bought a bunch of lilies and took a cab to the burial ground. She walked to a plaque and left the lilies. She prayed for a while and smiled. The winds couldn't resist themselves as they breezed past her making her beautiful hair flow like a serene sea. She left for her home where her kids were waiting for their mother to come. I sat near the stone tablet and took the lilies in my hands. The fragrance reminds me of a long-lost memory. A reality from which I ceased to exist. I kneeled down to the tablet and read, "In Memory of MAX BURNS 1987 - 2018"

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