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She’s the one with unkempt hair that looked like hay on most days. The colour faded from all her travels. Her demeanour was sunny and dynamic. Yet, she never got attached to anything. She couldn’t stay still long enough to get attached. It was why she never bought property; she wished to remain free. She moved like a nomad. City to city. Looking for adventures. She never allowed relationships to begin and so she never feared their end. She didn’t measure happiness like us regular folk. She felt it in her veins and did everything in her capacity to continue doing so. Nobody who met her really knew her; none of them had a unkind word to say.

She slept in a new bed ever so often. A house rented in a remote corner of the world gathering dust. Unstable, unorganised jobs she didn’t keep track of. Taking a break only to earning enough to furnish her moving lifestyle. Sometimes, one wondered how she made ends meet. But she wasn’t the type to indulge in fishy acts. Her intention was pure. She never revealed even a hint of anything else.

She told every new person a new name. Sometimes Sheena or Keah or Loli or Prerna or Gabrielle. Whatever fancied her in that moment. Even in the course of one night at a pub, everyone she encountered were told a new name. A new story. There was nothing tangible about her but her stories. Nobody even knew her real name. In fact, she was not real for many. Just a vision or a feeling in their heart. So strong and fierce that once she entered their lives they yearned to live like her. But they couldn’t manage that.

She gave up roots that were so hard to get rid of. She belonged everywhere. She abandoned long term strings. She didn’t believe in people as safe harbours to dock her ship. When she spoke about the villagers who let her into their homes and hearts, about the secret hidden treasures of each city, everyone marvelled at the beauty hidden in the world that she was grasping, relishing. But the choices she made and the decisions she took felt like sacrifices to everyone else. To her, it was living the small voice in her ear, in her mind, in her heart.

No. She wasn’t alone. Her life was coloured by the people she met. The fleeting for others was deep and intimate for her. She wrote about these people in her diaries that she carried with her everywhere. The diaries also contained names that pleased her. She embraced them as her own. Sometimes, she fell in love with cities and people living in those cities. For what was a place without its people. But she only prolonged her visit; she never stayed.

Every strength or flaw she possessed, she bore them proudly on her skin. She revealed more than others could see. If only they heard or read her stories carefully.

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I wanted to speak to her. She seemed nice. But I was a little afraid. Afraid of the way she wore her hair. Intimidated by the colour of her nail polish and the shade of lipstick she usually preferred. I wanted to walk into rooms wearing stilettos like her, without a single sound. But i stumbled into rooms. Elegance was lost on me. I had heard rumours about her though. She was evil reincarnated in the board room and a devil in the bedroom. One couldn’t always believe the rumours but I could imagine her that way. I waited on her everyday, hoping that her spunk would transfer to me unconsciously. But I was also terrified of the baggage she carried. She had grace in her attitude and a I-don’t-care strut. She must know all the rumours or truths floating around about her. Yet, she held her head high and did what she did best. Her job. Being single was tough. The ruthless environment we worked in was worse. I couldn’t pull that off. I preferred cowering in her shadow. I wanted to speak to her but I held my tongue.