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I See You Every Day by Dimpra Kaleem

Romance, Animals-PetsSunLit FictionComment

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In I See You Every Day, Albert Richmond, a recently unemployed attorney, moves into a new flat. From his kitchen window, Albert observes a woman walking her dog in the local park every day. Enraptured by the woman’s beauty, he endeavors to meet her.

About the Author

Dimpra Kaleem Author Photo.jpg

Dimpra Kaleem began writing in 2010 when an illness confined her to bed. Although fully recovered now, she continues to write because she enjoys the escapism that storytelling allows her.

 

Dimpra is the author of seven novels and lives behind a keyboard somewhere in New Zealand. Learn more about Dimpra at her Amazon author page or her website demaia.allauthor.com

 

I See You Every Day by Dimpra Kaleem

I moved to this area of North London six months ago after my job with the law firm of Hixson and May fell through when Mr. Hixson was found to be in possession of information he had not attained in an entirely legal way. This discovery resulted in the liquidation of the company and the redundancy of six junior lawyers in its employ, myself included.

The small amount of savings I had put aside, coupled with the generous redundancy package given as part of the insurance taken out by the more astute Mr. May, gave me the freedom to take a year off from gainful employment. The money also helped me put down the deposit I needed for a two-bedroom flat.

It wasn’t the Ritz hotel, but it was warm and comfortable and afforded good views of the surrounding area, including the local park as seen from the kitchen window. It was from that window that I first observed the young woman I came to know later as August Rain.

Every day, at around 5.30 pm, she would walk her dog—a golden retriever—along the footpath that ran around the lake.

From the moment I saw her I was captivated.

August Rains’s appearance shunned any image of what society demanded as perfect. She was short, plump, and wore an assortment of brightly coloured summer dresses that clung to parts of her that other less confident women would hide away from the world. This tendency added to her charm, along with the oversized sunglasses she habitually wore against the glaring mid-summer sun.

As she walked, she happily chatted with her companion, seemingly about this and that, almost as if he were a person in his own right. Occasionally, she stopped to sit on a park bench and look out over the pond.

At these times, I would fancy that she looked directly at me, for the bench was situated in such a way that it faced my kitchen window.

This fancy came to inspire a world created of my imaginings, a world that brought to life stories of which we played the lead roles.

Forged by destiny—a young couple desperately in love.

I would wait for her to notice the odd-looking man gazing at her from afar and to be intrigued by him to such an extent that she would look over the top of her sunglasses and smile, beckoning him to join her on her walk, and perhaps to become a part of her life.

Such fancies kept me happy for a while, but the more my imaginary world grew, the more my heart ached for her. Finally, I decided to give fate and fancy a helping hand, for it was folly to expect her to notice me from so far away.

So I went into the park and walked the same path as she, only in the opposite direction. My plan was to smile at her as we passed; hopefully, she would return my smile with one of her own. Perhaps our story would begin with a simple hello.

I made my first attempt to gain her attention on a Friday evening. With my heart in my mouth, I began to saunter casually in the direction I knew would result in the crossing of our paths.

I bought a newspaper from the local shop to aid my nonchalance, for this would be the reason I had taken this route, strolling with an air of someone merely enjoying the balmy summer evening. As I walked towards her, my heart beat even faster, for she seemed more beautiful than she first appeared to me from my window so far away.

Everything about her was perfect.

Her dark red hair bounced with every step she took, and her summer dress showed the world she was confident and comfortable in her own skin. Her voice—that I could now hear—was soft as she spoke to her canine companion, seemingly about her day, the smell of the flowers, and of how the sun felt warm on her face.

Such a perfect face.

As we passed, I looked up and smiled at her—a smile she did not return. My knees sagged a little at this silent rebuttal, shocked at the realisation of the apparent yawning gap between my fantasies and the harsh reality. I sat on the bench where she sometimes rested and watched her carry on by, taking with her my hopes and dreams.

Dreams of which seemed to fade with her into the brightness of the setting sun.

Maybe she hadn’t noticed me.

I sat for a while and tried to re-kindle the ember of hope that still burned within my breast. Was I so foolish as to let my imaginary world crumble because the focus of that world had not returned my smile?

No, I could not so easily abandon my dreams.

Tomorrow I would try again, and maybe this time I would say hello.

But tomorrow came and went, only to produce another unrequited smile coupled with the loss of my nerve to speak to her.

The tomorrows stacked up until they amounted to weeks with nothing to show but a muted smile and an aching heart.

The weekends must have had other plans for her, for she never appeared on these days, but I had formed a habit of buying a newspaper every day from the shop at the entrance to the park, and I continued this habit on weekends, stopping at the bench that faced my kitchen window to watch the world go by—a world oblivious and uncaring in the face of my loneliness.

I woke up early on one such Sunday morning and decided to fetch my paper before breakfast. As the start of the day seemed quite clement, I stopped at my usual resting place. I half-heartedly read the news as I soaked up the early morning rays, and then most unexpectedly, I heard the familiar voice belonging to the object of my obsession.

I froze.

My love for her had been so blind that I had assumed she walked her dog the same time every day, but she evidently maintained a different routine on the weekends.

Her sudden appearance gave me no time to get up and walk towards her nonchalantly, so I remained seated and readied myself for the pleasure of watching her walk past.

But she did no such thing.

Instead, she sat on the opposite end of the bench.

My heart beat so hard I feared it would leap from my chest.

From past experience, I knew she would only rest for about five minutes before continuing on her way. I had to end my torment by finding out one way or another if this woman—who had captivated my heart—would engage me in conversation.

I cleared my throat, at which point she turned towards me.

“Hello,” she said. “What a lovely warm morning. I shall miss the summer, won’t you?”

Her voice took my breath away, so much so that I stammered my reply.

“I-I will indeed, Miss . . .”

“Rain,” she said, “August Rain. How do you do, Mr. . . ?”

“Richmond. Albert Richmond.”

I proffered my hand, but Ms. Rain did not reciprocate, causing me to retract it awkwardly.

“You walk this way every day, Mr. Richmond.”

It was a statement rather than a question.

“I do,” I said.

“Yes, Sammy and I come here every day too, just as a bit of exercise.”

“Sammy? Oh, that must be this young man here.” With that, I moved a little closer in order to pet her dog. In doing so, I noticed how sweet she smelled. Her perfume was as fragrant as the summer flowers that grew in the nearby shrubs.

She laughed an easy laugh at my poor attempt at humour.

“Not so young now, are you old man?”

She reached to pet him, and our hands briefly touched. I snatched my hand away and instantly regretted my haste and the message it might have sent.

“Do you live or work around here?” she said, appearing not to notice my apparent reluctance to make physical contact.

“I live across the way—just opposite the park actually.”

August Rain smiled.

“What a wonderful view you must have.”

“Oh yes, most beautiful.”

The conversation paused a little, a gap that she filled with a sigh, as if she were imagining what I saw from my window, never realising that the beauty I spoke of was hers.

She said, “I feel we are lucky to have this small slice of paradise.”

Her comment was wistful and seemed to be addressed to the world in general and not just for my benefit. A warm breeze chose that moment to play with her hair, causing tendrils to dance, and I marvelled at how something so simple could enrapture me so. She appeared lost in the moment, and my foolish whimsy imagined a connection between us. After a while, she brought herself back to the present and turned her attention to her dog.

“Are you ready to finish our walk, old boy?” she said. Sammy looked up obediently, and she turned to me.

“It was nice to meet you, Mr. Richmond . . . Albert.” She stood to go.

“And I you,” I replied.

“I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”

And with that, she began to walk away.

I stood also and steeled myself—reaching down inside for the courage I needed to tell her how I felt, how much I had fallen for her, and how fast my heart beat for her.

“Miss Rain,” I called.

She turned to face me once again.

“August, please.”

I smiled.

“August, our paths have crossed for the past few weeks, and I must confess that this was not an accident.”

A look of confusion crossed her face, but before she could voice any concern, I rushed forward with my confession.

“You stated that my view of the park must be one of beauty, and indeed you are correct, for the view I have seen for the past few months is of you. I see you every day, August, but I fear that you do not see me.”

With this, she smiled.

She took a step closer and removed her sunglasses so that I could see her eyes for the first time.

They were pale.

Unmoving.

“I have not seen you or anything else, for that matter, since I was six years old, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed you.”

I didn’t know what to say.

I stood silently as this revelation sunk in with all the new feelings that came with it. I looked at Sammy and noticed, for the first time, that he was wearing a harness. How had I not seen this?

My silence must have sent the wrong message because August Rain put her glasses back on and said, “Do not fret, Albert. You are not the first to react this way.” She sadly turned away, but then called over her shoulder, “It was good to meet you, Mr. Richmond.”

My future was dissolving in front of me, my world growing cold in spite of the warm summer sun.

“You may not be able to see me, but I still see you.”

The words left my lips, blurted as if from some lovesick teenager.

Awkward and clumsy.

She stopped.

I hurried to face her once more.

“What do I have to do to make you see me?” I asked.

August put her hand to my face.

“I see you every day,” she said. “The sound of you slowing your step as we pass one another.

“The smell of your aftershave.

“The crinkle of your newspaper.

“The sound of you stopping after we pass. I imagine you stare after me, watching me leave, hoping we meet again.

“All these things are visible to me, and to Sammy, who slows his walk to prolong our meeting. He knows more than you think.”

I placed my hand over hers.

“Then let this clumsy fool start again,” I said. “My name is Albert Richmond. I am in love with you, Miss August Rain . . . and my love is blind.”                         

THE END

About the Story

Dimpra Kaleem was inspired to write the story one day as she watched a young couple in the local park. The young lady was blind, and Dimpra was moved by the way the young man looked at his lover. He drank her beauty in and ignored everything else around him.