Behind the veil

published: 2014-06-26 11:00:00, updated: 2016-03-20 13:48:04
story;
Behind the veil

His hands were too busy to get rid of the fly buzzing around his ear. The bazaar created throngs of crowds which never ended. He had been working for the past few hours at the counter, outside, exposed to the baring heat. His master was inside, entertaining clients and mixing chemicals. People came to this shop not for a service, but to get a piece of magic. Even after working here for a year, he was surprised by the reactions of people. They reacted as if they were kids again, watching an unbelievable magic trick. Then again, what really astonished him was that it was just mixing of a few chemicals, a little patience, and knowing what to do. The master had clearly explained this to him in training. Pretty soon, he too would be able to perform this magic. And for that, he needed to learn, gain experience, which came only with patience. He shook his head to get the thoughts out, and turned to look at the crowd instead.

 

His hands were too busy to get rid of the fly buzzing around his ear. The bazaar created throngs of crowds which never ended. He had been working for the past few hours at the counter, outside, exposed to the baring heat. His master was inside, entertaining clients and mixing chemicals. People came to this shop not for a service, but to get a piece of magic. Even after working here for a year, he was surprised by the reactions of people. They reacted as if they were kids again, watching an unbelievable magic trick. Then again, what really astonished him was that it was just mixing of a few chemicals, a little patience, and knowing what to do. The master had clearly explained this to him in training. Pretty soon, he too would be able to perform this magic. And for that, he needed to learn, gain experience, which came only with patience. He shook his head to get the thoughts out, and turned to look at the crowd instead.

 

His eyes were constantly roving, searching for a source to distract him from the daunting customers in the shop. But there was nothing amongst the crowd which could interest him. He had seen it all, shopkeepers selling and customers bargaining. There was nothing new to see there. Sighing, he decided to abandon any further effort just when a moving speck of black caught his attention. A girl was walking the streets, stopping at every shop, talking to every vendor and looking enchanted by every object she could see. 

 

As she turned, the sun shone on her, on the thin veil she had worn over the face. He didn’t notice as everything around him  faded out into oblivion. The sounds dried out. He was no longer conscious of anything else, except for her eyes. Her beautiful, pretty eyes. That melted his heart, just after stopping it. He continued looking at it, perplexed by being unable to see more. He turned, twisted, jumped, pranced… but the veil never moved from her face. Still going at his futile attempts, he was shaken back into reality by a customer wailing across the counter. Eager to get rid of him, he gave the man some loose change and turned back to the girl. He vowed to try as much as he could to watch her. She moved with a grace that reminded him of the swans in the palace lake. The way her hands and fingers moved over each object, his heart fluttered at the very thought of holding her hand. If only he could see her face…

 

  He felt a pull on his shoulder, and turned around angry, grumbling. He only found his master ordering him to get back to work. Feeling sheepish, he realized he hadn’t heard his master had come out. Quickly springing back into action, he began working in earnest, and stealing glances as she walked the street, taking forever to get closer to this shop. If only she hadn’t worn that veil, he knew he would treasure her face forever in his memory. And nothing else would matter to him, but that face and the thought that he could keep it with him, forever…

 

Dreaming wasn’t what he was paid for; and so he was duly reminded of this by the owner of the shop. Not wanting to lose his only job, he hurried about to look after the meandering crowd gathering in front of him. He wrote them bills, took their names, and did other things he wasn’t even conscious of. But his hand kept doing it correctly, seasoned by hard-work and repetition. 

 

From time to time, he watched her until she finally crossed over from the corner of his eye. She was now in the back of his mind, and he was still at her, no longer able to see the road between the crowd. He focused back on the customers as he took their money, returned spare change, and relayed orders inside. This order of events repeated themselves long enough to make him numb about what was going on around him. He was still thinking, but cowardly, in the deepest whimsies of his mind, about abandoning everything and running to the road. To find her, and finally watch as she revealed her face, if only for once. Lost in this fantasy, he never looked up from over the counter… The bustling crowd kept coming in and going out, never aware of the fantasy they stifled in this young man.

 

He was jostled, and reeled back in by a whiff of perfume that came wafting on a breeze. He closed his eyes to savor the scent, but realized the perfume was not fading. Surprised, he opened his eyes, and found himself opening them bigger than they had ever opened before. There were countless people still waiting at the counter. And amongst them was a face covered in a veil. There was just enough space left to see the eyes. And they were right in front of him, those pretty eyes that had captured his very soul… He could see nothing else, hear nothing else. A stable boy could have branded him with a hot-iron and he wouldn’t have cared. He was lost, swimming, dreaming.. in those magical eyes. This was the real magic of the world… His heart fluttered as he thought, and finally begged, in his mind. If only he could see that face behind the veil…

 

The motion of a waving hand jerked him out of his dreamy state. Realizing it belonged to her, he came crashing down to earth. When he finally had the courage to look at her, he poured his gaze into those deep soulful eyes. He felt her wait until she realized she had his attention, and heard her sing to him a hazy seductive voice – "Hello, I’d like to take my photograph…"