Her day had just begun when he came to meet her with a flutter in his heart and stars in his eyes, a lanky teen of sixteen with nervous excitement. “First love!” She knew the moment she saw him. He came in and stood in an awkward silence. She beckoned him to take a seat in the chair opposite her and studied him quietly. About a quarter of an hour elapsed before he started speaking; waiting patiently always helped people open up to her. He started and she was all ears hearing the said and the unsaid. Listening, observing, reading him and making mental notes. After he was spent telling all that was in his heart, he looked at her expectantly to say something and she complied with her standard question, “So you want me to mention all this? ” He hesitated and nodded shyly in affirmation. She gave him a long look and told him to return the next day. “And how much would be the charges?” he asked. She looked at the boy and said, “I don’t charge for wording feelings. You can put whatever you feel like in that box over there.” She pointed to a little tin box kept on a stool.
She liked to call herself a word master, a writer. She wrote for people who were too overcome by feelings to write coherently. She also wrote for people who wanted sincere sentiments to come across in their messages. She wrote for all occasions child birth, birthdays, wedding invitations as well as toasts. She also wrote obituaries and content for epithets. People said she was too good with words, she wrote exactly what they had in mind while all that she did to the praise was give a sincere smile and wave it off with the sweep of her hand. To her she wasn’t doing anything great. All that she did was feel what the others were feeling and allow herself to be moved by each of their stories and the words cascaded like a waterfall on blank pages as she keyed them in on her laptop.
She heard and could feel the nervousness, jubilation, the happiness, the pain of a broken heart, the grief at loss, the sadness that came along with loneliness. She was aware of each human emotion, the raw energy with the mature understanding that her profession demanded. She was rich, very rich and the affluence was not in terms of money but the experiences.
Her words had calmed many nerves, salved the wounds of broken hearts, resulted in reunions and also carried the messages of celebration and loss alike. People said that her words were like a magical spell and a written word from her always got the expected result. She loved to write for all, young and old and the good or the bad alike. That was what she did to live and also to earn her living. But she never wrote for an insincere heart… false sentiments were something she despised and hence had as many detractors as admirers in her kitty.
She set off to write for the young lad who was the latest to come to her. His story reminded her of the cold winter evening when she too had been wooed by someone like him and had made her panic when he pulled her closer. She smiled to herself as she remembered the surge, the dawning of that love brought to her so many years ago. Yes, she could relate to the feeling of first love in the boy’s heart and she went on to draft the letter the boy wanted to give to his girl to confess his feelings.
A few more people came, a mother to take the letter she had wanted to be written for her soon to be marrying daughter, a man wanting her to write one to confess about his cheating upon his wife and to promise how he wanted to make amends, a friend who wanted to mend the broken bonds of friendship with the best friend. She listened to them all and promised to deliver the expected. The day was turning dark and she decided to get up to go when she noticed a silhouette at the entrance. One more, she took a deep breath and went back to her chair.
Soon the person was standing in front of her exactly the way she remembered. “You?” she reacted. “Yes.” he responded, taking his time as was his nature. “I hoped it was you when a friend told me about the professional epistler his wife had engaged to write to their soon to be marrying daughter.” “Epistler!” She smiled to herself; he hadn’t changed a bit. It was his reading and the eloquence with which he spoke that had attracted her to him as the teenaged girl she had reminisced about not many hours ago. “I heard that you can read people’s minds and write exactly what they want. Is it true?” he asked. “Didn’t you only want me to listen quietly?” she countered. “But all people are different and so are the experiences,” he interjected. “No, all human emotions are the same, only the names and situations change,” she cut him in the middle. She too was the same when around him. “Besides you gave me all the experiences, the love, the pain, the reunion, and the break up.” she continued. “Anyway that all is over now. Tell me what brings you here? Do you also want me to write something for you?” she asked.
He gave her a long searching look and said, “You haven’t changed.” “Yes, I want you to write a letter to the girl I confessed my love to many years ago. Want to tell her how much I still care for her, miss her terribly and feel for her. Tell her how badly I want her back in my life. Tell her that I love her.” His voice was soft and composed but the emotions were writ large on his face. She looked at him with a half smile, her eyes welled and she choked on her words. Some minutes went by as their hearts got in sync and opened to one another in silence. “Will you?” he finally asked. She looked at him tenderly and responded quaveringly, “Sorry Sir. It’s too late and the shop is shut.”