Dec 10, 2023
Dec 10, 2023
Lying in my upper berth of a train I opened my eyes. That was a quite a long day in office. The paperback slipped from my chest. The reading lamp was switched on in the semi dark compartment.
Then I saw a young girl in the bottom berth. I saw her catching the book as it was falling. I was afraid she would discover the note I kept inside. I grabbed the book from her outstretched hand. Immediately I looked for the note. It was not there. Did she keep it for herself? When I looked back she was not there. Maybe she got down at the station we just passed, or was she in the restroom. I jumped down and quickly checked her baggage. It was intact right under her berth. I checked the toilets too and the same were found unoccupied.
My heart stopped. The note was important to me since I worked very hard on its contents. If they were known to the world, my future as well as that of my company’s shareholders would be in jeopardy. In fact, I was on the board. I couldn't imagine our shares plummeting next morning, all because of my writings. It was already 10 in night.
Soon the ticket examiner walked into the coach from the adjacent compartment via the duct. When he came to me to check my ticket, I asked him about the lady passenger in the lower berth. From the sheet in his hand he read out her name as 'Ms. Rita'. He also disclosed she was bound for the same place where I was heading to.
Surely she had to be a spy drafted by our rival company, or decoy planted by my co-directors, all to fail me in my job. Quickly I opened my laptop and emailed to my assistant instructing him to text me back the complete profile of any girl by name Rita on our payrolls.
Dinner arrived. The pantry man set a second tray on the lower berth apparently for the absent Rita. Lo, she reappeared from nowhere, as though her food had beckoned her. She started eating quietly. I made some strange sounds to begin a small talk. She did not respond at all until she had pushed the empty tray aside. Oh Boy, she must have been real hungry. After a while she smiled. That was a beautiful smile, but for some feigned innocence. I asked whether she found my note that could have slipped off from the book. She confessed that my piece of paper had really interested her, and so she passed it on to her cousin, who she said was also traveling in the same train but at the other end of the compartment.
I asked her why she did that. She replied, "I found some passionate poetry there according to my limited knowledge, and since my cousin is an editor of an online poetry journal, I thought why not I shared it with her." She also added that she was sure her cousin would be posting it online from her laptop for the benefit of poetry lovers everywhere.
Quickly I learned from Rita her cousin’s berth number. I ran toward the other end following the given number. There I found a stout girl in mid thirties reading a book. I asked her to return the note Rita had just given and I insisted it was my property. She said she tore it down into small pieces and used the same to clean the food counter lying between the berths. She also gave a hint that the pantry staff had just then cleaned up.
Hearing the last line I heaved a sigh of relief. Her action saved my company’s future. Next I asked Rita’s rotund cousin what she had posted in her online journal about the contents of my note.
With a cocky smile she replied, ‘No doubt your note reads well. Yet I decided not to post the contents. To tell you, your writings had no heart in them. According to me, poems should be honest.’
I shook my head in shame and returned to my berth. Until then no one knew I tried a couple of fake suicide notes at the end of each day in the form of poems. Then and there I promised myself I should henceforth pen some 'honest-looking suicide notes' to practice writing poems (Thanks to the tip of the cousin of Rita) for a budding hobby.
More by : Seshu Chamarty
|Was expecting the end to be more surprising. Otherwise, a good piece of fiction well written.|