The Bystander

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He stared listlessly at the road. The traffic moved by at a pace that reflected that of the urban city he inhabited. The pace gathered momentum at times and slumped often. It was rather leisurely at the moment. A continuous shot of the traffic zoomed fast enough will reveal a rhythm both in pace and light. To him the rhythm had lost its significance. A traveler van halted by him due to the traffic light. A dozen faces, some sober, some lost in conversation, some blank. It reminded him of a puppet show he saw back at a village. Except the theatrics or the anticipation. He pictured himself in the van among-st the dozen faces. The thought repulsed him instantly; like some of the intrusive thoughts we all have had at times. He smiled a sad smile which got lost in the rush to break free at the sign of green. By now he had gathered a vague familiarity with the faces passing by. What made matters worse for him was that he could listen to each and every one of them, even their thoughts. They were all unique, yet the same. They all knew him, but in the disguise of a by-stander couldn’t recognize him. He was quite a celebrity in this part of the world; and so everywhere else. Only few had the time to look at him. Of them many looked right through him as if he were transparent. They were all here but quite not here.

He lit up a cigarette and blew a hollow ring which faded in the rush. And so did he.

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