Jonathan P.D. Buckley
A Supreme Being
After the meditation session he walked up Piccadilly and took the Victoria Line back home to Balham. Late evening, it was fairly empty and the ride peaceful. He read and made a couple of notes in his diary. When he got home there was a message on his mobile. 'Hello this is Najma. I found your diary on the train. Call me.'
'Wow that was lucky', he thought to himself as he dialled the number. The line was really bad but they managed to arrange a meeting at Brixton Tube station for 10 o'clock the next morning. He tried to work out who she might be: He remembered a couple of feisty West Indian girls and a boy laughing and joking.
Was Najma one of them?
Next morning he was up early and went for a swim.
Travelling up and down
The cold pool
Then he cycled down Brixton Hill to the station. He was there ten minutes early and hung around in the entrance so he'd not be missed. A policeman eyed him up. He didn't know what she looked like! Did she know what he looked like? 10 o'clock came and then just as he was beginning to wonder, a young woman with a halo of peach-coloured curls stopped in front of him.
"Hello. Are you Paul?"
"Yes! You made it!"
She was beautiful in a completely natural way but without conceit or self-consciousness.
Before setting out he'd written her a 'thank you' card and put a £20 note in it by way of thanks. It was addressed to 'Nadjma' and he handed it over with 'just a little thank you'.
"You didn't need to do that!"
And then reading the name on the envelope: "But my name is Asma, not Nadjma!"
It was said in such a way that he felt he should take it back and correct it, which he did. He was so struck by her beauty that he wished he'd done more; said right there and then, "I think you are so lovely, may we go and have coffee!"
But he didn't, that would have been foolish coming from a grey and grizzled 50 year old married man! But what man in the final third of his life has not looked upon a rose and said, 'Let me stay one minute and contemplate this beauty, inhale this heavenly scent, before walking on.' Hadn't chance brought them together for a reason? Why had his diary landed up in her hands? And why did she look at him as if he should have known something?
All of this passed through his mind as he rode back up Brixton Hill having seen her disappear down the stair into the station. He even considered calling her mobile and declaring his love. He would do it while she was underground so that he could leave a message: 'Hi Asma, I just wanted to say that you are a most lovely person and that for a brief moment I fell in love with you. Be happy and keep this number. If you ever need a friend just call, and I'll come running!'
'Old fool'! He must have beamed because a young West Indian woman waiting at a bus stop smiled back at me; or perhaps she was just laughing at an old man barely pedalling!
Up a long hill
The unfolding smile
At home he did some research and discovered that 'Asma' is a Moslem name meaning 'Supreme'. And she was supreme ... she made his day supreme with just a look! And he thought of her once more and realised in that moment, he could no longer remember her face.
The fading cadence
Of the bell