The shadow

He trudged alone on that stifling, hot day – the sand mirroring the sun with each step. Each step was an exertion. He was exhausted with the effort of taking one step at a time for so many years. How many more steps? How much more effort? How many more years in pursuit of nowhere?

He slumped onto the hot sand. His face was burnt by the tears as he looked back on his footsteps in the sand. At some places, they were crowded. Some bore the witness of the gaiety of dance. Some were shallow – left by him as he had scuttled from place to place. His most recent footsteps though were deep, heavy and all alone.

He looked around him, desperately searching for some respite – a somewhere he could find a shelter if not his asylum. Only a barren landscape met his laden eyes. He hung his head down and stared at his shadow, consumed with despair.

His benumbed brain was suddenly shaken awake by the shadow. It had grown large and was expanding all around him. It now embraced him, cooled him providing the shelter that he had so intensely sought. Confused, he looked up and saw the source – the cloud in the sky, whose shadow was now his shelter; however fleeting it might be. Fresh, hopeful tears broke the pall from his eyes as he realized that he had looked all around him but had failed to look up.

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