"if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." -Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence(2003)


She could not help it.
"It would be a quick glance", she convinced herself. She had to do it; it was ruining her concentration. One look and then she could be herself again. It was an addiction - a drug that calmed her frayed nerves, and once the mind craved for one, she had to get her fix. She needed it green. It would let her relax. But the dot stayed gray; gray as the overcast skies on a morose winter afternoon. It was making her restless, anxious.
Only a few days ago, it would have been green, restoring her tranquility. It was as if the ends of the network cables were the sensors of a cardiograph somehow connected to him. The glowing dot on her monitor, a bright green LED summing all the data points to signal his well being, reassuring her that he was there, safe, and all was right with his world. The gray troubled her; and compelled her to keep checking it.
“It ought to change any minute now,” she assured herself, impatient like a race car driver at the starting line, waiting with bated breath, and the engine pulsing. She waited, and the light did likewise.
A small tear appeared imperceptibly at the corner of her eyes. She pushed it away, as if in defiance. “Go away, i don’t need you!” she exclaimed, angry at her betrayed emotions. It was him she had addressed, the tears merely an excuse. She would not break down, she resolved, not today. She was stronger now. More mature. Her world had been cruel to her, she felt, but nothing could faze her any more. Through a brief surge of some sense of victory, she felt in control.
It seemed so stupid now, looking back. Why couldn’t he understand? And why wouldn’t he call? Was it too much to ask? She failed to understand what had gone wrong. No one understood her, she affirmed, and no one cared about her or thought of her. Abruptly, she reached for her cellphone, clutching it like a castaway grabbing a life buoy. She wanted to corroborate herself, she reasoned, but there was a faint glimmer of hope that she was wrong. The smudged screen reflected her own beautiful eyes, but only for a brief instant before lighting up at her touch, as if eager to please. There was nothing she had missed. She tossed it back again carelessly, disappointed. She would resist the urge to call. "I will not give in, not this time", she said it to herself like it was a chant. She would fight till the end. It was a brutal battle - her will power against her lack of it. She had to see how long she could last. Suddenly, she was nostalgic. They came flooding to her mind, all the bittersweet memories, like a tsunami, and just as tempestuous. A part of her wanted to let go, a part desperate to hold on. Making decisions always did that to her. She wanted to scream at the top of her lungs - “Why?” It came out only as a whimper, more like a cry for help. She felt like running away from it all. She missed the warmth of her home, of an elderly hug, and the melody of the comforting phrase being whispered softly in her ears, “It is going to be all right”. Something felt warm on her cheeks. And wet. She realized she was crying. She did not intend to, but it had happened. “i tried my best”, she tried to rationalize. They were streaming down in rivulets now, faster, giving rise to more, a vicious circle. She buried her face in her hands, hiding from herself, and shielding herself from her surroundings, as if she did not want them to learn of her vulnerability.
It was a while before she opened her eyes again. The monitor had gone dark. She saw herself in it, teary eyed, her pretty face contorted. “No,” it was an order. “Stop it!” she commanded herself, brushing her cheeks with the palm of her upturned hands. A thin, tapering streak of silver appeared near her cheekbones leading up to the corner of her eyes, glinting in the dim fluorescence of the room. She slammed the screen shut, frustrated with herself for breaking her resolve, and somewhat disturbed by the reflection.

He saw the green dot turn gray, and paused; his hands still, fingers poised over the keyboard in the middle of contemplating a greeting. The list shuffled noiselessly as her name moved to the end of the list and settle, like a stone sinking slowly to the bottom of a lake, and probably with the same finality. He closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled.
She was offline.

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