He climbed two stairs at a time. His mind was on the two deadlines coming up with the approaching weekend. He wasnt worried though – deadlines never worried him. He knew that he would meet them. It was the purpose of it all that worried him. Time and again over the past 4 months, the question would arise, “Do I belong here?”
He reached the 3rd floor and turned right to climb to the 4th. He stopped then.
She was on her knees on the last stair there. Bent over, she was busy gathering some papers. She hadnt realised his presence yet. He climbed up to her. She must have heard the footsteps because he saw her body stiffen up. A slight turn of her head and she looked up at him.
He exhaled…….hadnt even realised he was holding his breath till then. The last (well,only time he thought) she had smiled AT HIM was when he fixed her computer (well, really he plugged an unplugged wire but he hadnt wanted to say anything then and break the spell of her smile!) He cleared his throat. “Do you need a hand?”
She wordlessly nodded and he bent over gathering the scattered papers.
He thought about the question he was asking himself on the 2nd floor and smiled. Everytime he questioned his “belonging-ness” to his new workplace, she and her smile were answers that came to mind immediately.
Papers collected, she stood up. He handed over the ones he had gathered. They continued their climb up to the 5th floor. She turned to him then, “So hows it going for you?” They chatted nonstop for the next 2 floors. At the office door, she stayed back at the reception desk to pick up some post. He walked ahead to his cubicle. He turned then to look at her. She stood there with a mysterious grin on her face – like she knew something he didnt. He shrugged it off and as he settled at this desk, he thought about tomorrow and the staircase. A naughty smile spread over his face.