Safia woke up too late. The day was bright and sunny. That’s all what was needed in this chilly weather of Middletown. The weather was enough not to bother Safia about being late to work. She used to behave like this, ignorant and chill, on most such beautiful days. Probably, I had discovered one of the things that kept her calm and happy – it was the weather!

Her footsteps became musical. There was no music playing even in the farthest house. Yet, Safia was brimming with joy, smiling to herself and getting ready for work in an exuberant mood.

She entered the bathroom and held the toothbrush like a guitar. I now knew this would turn out to be a different day. Not like the usual ones when she spent good 15 minutes with me at the start of the day.

She came out of the bathroom in wet hair, fully dressed-up. This was unlike everyday, when she’d laze around a bit before wearing the work-uniform. She’d spend time with me and often compliment me for my soothing voice.

But today Safia was ignoring me. In fact, it seemed that I was completely invisible to her. I kept looking at her in amazement, for this wasn’t a usual morning for me.

She didn’t sit for breakfast. Quickly picking up the breadtoast from the table,  she sprang though the door.

Still oblivious of my presence, she ditched the bus for a cab today. Safia played the complimentary music through the car device, and got engrossed in her own world of things. I could see her talking to herself, making unusual expressions! It seemed as if she was imagining something.

By now, I was horrified. A quarter day was gone and Safia didn’t miss me even for a second. But I was helpless. I couldn’t understand why she could not see me.

The car ride was comforting though. It was a luxury in contrast to the daily bus travel. For some-time, I even forgot my pain. Since Safia’s choice of songs was similar to mine, I calmly enjoyed them in the 20-minutes journey.

When Safia reached office, I knew she wouldn’t pay heed to me for the next couple of hours. Her first half is usually busy with meetings. Yet, I timidly glared at her. I wanted attention – even if it were to last a few seconds.

I believe I was just being paranoid. I asked myself, am I overthinking. I was double-minded. My conscious kept telling me that there is nothing to worry and it’s just a matter of time when she’d come close to me, again.

Safia finally came out of an hour-long meeting. Even though she didn’t look at me, I felt somewhat better – maybe because I could feel her close to me again. That brief moment gave me a feeler of love – the moments when you want to be with someone even after getting no attention or care from them.

Safia looked at the computer screen and started typing something. This was one of those moments when she missed me the most. I was anxious, a little breathless too. I was now expecting her to turn towards me. I couldn’t hold myself from smiling, my teeth were wide-open.

But to my utter bewilderment, she didn’t turn. I was in a state of shock. I could not take this anymore. Since morning, she was behaving as if I didn’t exist, as if I was invisible.

I knew something had changed within her. I started to believe that she no more needed me. Though I knew that she had spent good time with me last night, but this distance didn’t feel right. I decided to give up and prayed for my fall. I wanted to leave this world, for that was the only way to stop thinking about her.

But right when I made my mind to achieve salvation, it was lunchtime. And once more, I started hoping for Safia to return to me. I had even decided that I would not express any anger to her for treating me like this. I was so mad for her that all I needed was her touch, her warmth! I wanted her to listen to my voice once more. I was sure that I’d make her fall for me again – so much that she’d never ignore me again.

But all my hopes were shattered when Safia chose to go out with her friends. She left me alone, yet again. Until now, I had been surviving with the help of her captivating smell. But now I didn’t have that too. I waited desperately for her return.

And she came. She returned in haste. She looked upset. I wanted to know what had happened. But there wasn’t anything I could do.

I sat in anticipation. I waited for a miracle to bring her back to me.

Moments later, I felt her moving. I prayed this to be the moment I’d been waiting for.

Safia twisted a little and opened the transparent outer pocket of her handbag. She picked me up with care, untangled me, inserted me in the red device and put me on her ears. The song she played was ‘Baatein kuch ankahi si’!

I was relieved. After hours of being invisible, we were finally united.

Safia puts me on whenever she is upset. It has been like this ever since we met. I guess she is under some sort of depression. I don’t know what it is and why does she feel sad. But I do not want this to change. I love her madly and I can’t stop doing that, even if it means hurting her more and more. All I care about is her touch and warmth that I get when she weare me – all I want is my happiness. I am a selfish Earphone.

When was the last time you read some modern sea stories—stories of ships and the seafarers who man them? Tales of adventure, love, romance, piracy, intrigue... and human nature? Well, look no further.

These are twelve stories of the sea, but not necessarily for seafarers alone. They are for anybody and everybody who likes to read fiction. And a ripping good yarn, as sailors used to say once upon a time.

Written by a sea captain who has spent his entire adult life at sea, more than forty years on the waves and still counting, these are stories set in the 70s, 80s up till the present day.

Will you come aboard now? The voyage is about to begin.

Link to buy this book: https://www.amazon.in/Driftwood-Beetashok-Chatterjee/dp/9385854771 and also at selected bookstores all over India.


Author:Beetashok Chatterjee, ex-Claws Club member at ArtoonsInn.

***

The story you've read is an entry for UniK-5, #Invisible, a room8 Writing event by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/unik-5-writing-event-artoonsinn/

It was indeed a very tough day for me. I pray to God that I never get invisible, ever again!

Thanks for reading.

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