Two girls sat on the rock at the edge of the stream. Not together. Not at the same time. One came after the onset of dawn, the other few hours earlier. They came every day, sat at the same spot, shared secrets with the same trees, but they never met each other.
The first girl soaked in everything—the trickling of streams, the chirping of birds, the song of the leaves. She laughed at the sun shining on her, threw stones in the water to create ripples, and made noises at the alarmed birds. Sometimes, she brought a book, and the birds chirped louder that day. They didn’t like being ignored.
This was her place, the place where she could be herself without a single care. And she did just that. She left her sombre facade—the one she used at work, and everywhere else, at home, and came here to be an embodiment of joy. She believed the place was magic. How else did she find the long lost laughter of her childhood hidden here? Every moment she spent here ensured that the rest of the dull, and difficult day would not conquer her spirit.
The second girl went straight for the rock, her hunched shoulders straightening as she searched for the stars in the still dark sky. Seldom did she find any, the light pollution had seen to that. The trees loomed over her, refusing to speak. All she had was sheer loneliness. In the blurry reflection dancing in the stream, she tried to identify herself. Sometimes, the small stream turned into a sea of abyss trying to swallow her. Those times, she turned her back to the waters, and hugged the trees.
Why did she come you ask? Because the silence beckoned her. It soothed her fears. For her, it was magic. How else could she hear the silence over the incessant chirping of the crickets? Sometimes, the owls hooted, breaking the silence. At such times, she cried and cried. With every tear came out her story, and they listened—the trees. They might not talk to her, but they always listened to her stories. She never stopped coming here. Every moment she spent here made the rest of her day bearable. This place was her secret strength, that added a tinge of genuineness to her fake smiles throughout the day.
It was the same woods, and the same place. Was it the timing that made the difference? Or the temperament of the girls had a part? Or maybe that’s how magic works—it’s different for everybody.