Deeply absorbed in my day as I was, I had failed to notice that the end had come about so swiftly. As I dropped him off for the last time at his turn, I suddenly realized that we were all going to miss his quirky humour and friendly grin from the next day. I watched him as he trudged along with his stuff, declining my offer to drop him closer to home as always, quietly, under the orange glow of the street lights.
As I have been so many times over the years now, once again, I knew I was going to be left with no company to share the miserable food and watery juice everyday. No one to share my suffering and to make grand plans with me everyday. Not comfortable thoughts. Having said that, he's the guy who probably threw my meticulous account system out of gear!
It seemed like an eternity before he became obscure in the sparse late night crowd on his lane. For the first time I saw that he had a long way to walk, all these days, now and in the days to come.
Thinking about the cowardice of it all, a dark fist of anger rose within me. But all I could do was knock the wind out of myself with that. Yeah, that's all I could ever do... Is it good to always try to be politically correct?
My thoughts went back to how similar, yet how different we were. All we wanted to do was work, sincerely, honestly. Backbreaking work, that would put us to sound sleep every night, with the contentment that it was a good day's work and wake up the next day with the zeal to tackle some more hurdles. Yet, all we got was indifference. A weird world where the collective good is put after huge egos. He probably saw it coming. And let go of the sinking boat before it could take him down with it. Else, a few years from now, he would be me...
Surrounded as we were by fake smiles and false promises, it was always easy to let go of righteousness and become a back stabber like the rest of the mob. But choosing to fight it out, albeit knowingly in a losing cause, was the honourable thing to do. At least we did not have to cower behind any excuses. Whatever was done was there for everyone to see. Our motives unquestionable. And for that, a pat on the back is deserved. We are a dwindling tribe indeed!
I'm sure he finds himself all at sea now. Wishing he'd never let go of that boat. But stay afloat my friend. Its dark now and when the sun rises tomorrow, you'll see that land is well within reach. It always was, we just couldn't see it in the night...