The mannequins at the boutique entrance were soaked in smiles. He touched the female one’s lips- they were lifeless and dry. Though he managed to keep a calm appearance, he could not keep calm in the deepest chambers of his heart. He was seething and boiling with an overwhelming sanitized joy from inside. The acceptance letter had come to him unexpectedly; when he had given up. Ten scholarships in vain had sucked hope out of him. So being a believer, he had made peace with the fact that living and dying in his homeland was God’s plan.
He was doing an assignment in his hostel room when his mobile phone rang. It was an unknown caller ID. It was an office line, he observed. Bob was and still is phone phobic, but not for that call. He watched it ring and before it could end he picked it.
“Yoo!” Bob proceeded casually.
“Am I speaking to so and so?” A masculine voice from the other end of the line probed.
“Yes, you are.”
“I am calling from the X embassy to inform you that your scholarship has been approved.”
“For real?” Bob asked incredulously.
“Yeah.” The other end responded jovially yet inquisitively. Like dude why are you so cold!?
Bob, lacking words, asked, “So what’s next?”
“Please check with your emails for more information and congratulations!” Then a hang up.
He must have been bored of Bob’s cold embrace of good news. After confirming that the news were true, preparations to join his new school had begun. Everything was done save for buying clothes. As a good researcher, he had noted that it was going to be winter in his destination and so he needed some heavy and warm clothes.
A slim elegant lady, in a tight attire that slimmed her further emphasizing her curves, welcomed Bob and his elder sister into the boutique. With Bob’s good eye for clothes, they bought winter jackets and a few pairs of jean trousers before wrapping it all up with a set of travelling bags. Everything was done and set. Only travelling now.
It was a quarter to 6:00 PM when Bob bid goodbye to his family before proceeding into the check in section. On one hand he was happy that he was going to a foreign country and on the other hand he felt a void settling in his heart. A void of missing people he loves, food, friends and the morning fresh air punctuated by birds’ melodies from his village.
After checking in, he proceeded down a hallway that led to his flight. The hallway connected to a jet bridge and as Bob shuffled down it, he felt a wave of nervousness sweeping across his body. He showed the flight attendant at the door his boarding pass and for the first time noticed that his hand skin had goosebumps.
At exactly 6:45 PM, KL0566 took off and, after gaining height, it was squeezing through the clouds. As the plane levelled up, Bob’s mask bulged outwards from a heavy sigh escaping his nostrils. He turned and looked out the window on his left, he could see the orange sun setting, unbeknownst to him that it had also started setting on him…
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