They talk and talk
Running in circles
Trying to make sense
Of what they have, between the two of them.
They both have a lot of baggage, I suppose
Old wounds that haven’t entirely healed
Memories that tug at them when they indulge in reminiscence
Tears they have never shed, anger they have never expressed.
They are a bit like wary children,
Meeting for the first time across a playpen
Wanting to play, but cautious too
Awkward and shy, not sure what will happen
If he isn’t good at peek-a-boo
Doesn’t like to color the flowers pink and blue
And many such things which she likes to do.
Or worse yet, what if he is mean and a bully?
Pulls her pigtails and makes her cry
Destroys her drawing, draws a mustache on her pretty butterfly?
So she is cautious, and quiet as a mouse
Peering at him through her lashes, too shy to tell him to come close.
He, on the other hand, tries to look bored and impressive
And like he has done this a million times
Like he knows a lot, lot more than he actually does
The alphabet, the spelling of his name, songs and rhymes.
He has met girls before; and thought they were silly
Squealed too much, wore clothes that were too frilly.
This girl was no different; she wore a pink bow and carried a dumb doll
But there was something about her, which made him think girls weren’t so bad after all.
She, on the other hand, had never talked to a boy before
Nor had she ever wanted to
Boys were aliens to her, those loud sweaty things
Who eat their nose boogies, and always have something naughty to do.
But this boy, with his big floppy bunny ears;
Something in his voice and his laugh, too
Made her want to sit next to him, and pat his hand when he got a boo-boo.
So they sit, on far ends of the playpen, sneaking peeks at each other,
Making up their minds to ask the other to play together
And changing their minds the next instant-
Maybe it’s not a good idea to be so blatant.
Maybe they will become friends, before the bell rings, before the day is over
Or maybe they will be strangers forever.
However it turns out, they will be okay
Because that is children’s way-
They always end up finding someone with whom to play.
Neither of them knows how they feel about each other
Or if anything at all
All they know is that they want the other to stick about
At least long enough for them to figure it out.
So that is the story, of two grown-up children
Trying to make life happen
Reaching out for something that looks golden
But then again
Even if it they end up mistaken,
They’ll eventually find the right person
Somewhere in this big wide playpen.
Copyright © Sayeeka Farnaz