Paper boats


(context - written in half an hour during inklings session for the prompt ‘The kind of dream people only have at 17’ which is again a Murakami quote.) 

Roy was younger of the two. She had turned 17 the previous day, an insignificant birthday that went unnoticed like every other. Zach and Joe were 18 already. They felt they were at the peak of their adulthood. It was, after all, the oldest they had been and there was a sense of an old youth that left them consciously wanting to make something, if not most, of their limited freedom. The three were not friends in any sense of the understanding that the average school going kid had of friendship. They were snobs and they were pretentious and they liked to think that they had figured out that one couldn’t figure out life before anyone else did. 

Zach and Joe were in different classes and they were a grade above Roy. This meant that the only time they ever were with each other was during the 25 minute walk to the bus-stop after class and on Orange Volvo buses. Joe had this habit of making paper boats out of every piece of paper he laid his hands on, a habit he had picked up from Zach’s sister in fact. As soon as they got the ticket on the Orange Volvo bus, Joe took the tiny piece of paper and made a boat of it and gave it to Roy, who slipped it into her bag that was already filled with paper boats of different sizes and colours. 

Zach’s hands went immediately to the small gap between the AC vent and the top of the bus. It was a practice of his that Roy had observed, ever since she started travelling on Orange Volvo buses with them. This one time he had found a letter of the love kind that had been slipped into the small gap. Someone had written it for a someone else and left it there to be found, in this city of very many Orange Volvos. The three of them had very excitedly read it together. They laughed about it and Zach had carefully placed it back there, and all three of them hoped that the someone would find it. 

Especially Zach. Today, as Zach’s fingers searched for something that he usually never found, he was talking to Roy and Joe about the importance of signs and fate. This was a boy who had made important life choices based on the season finale episode of a sitcom (How I Met Your Mother to be exact). As Roy nodded her head along, Zach stopped talking suddenly. He got up from his seat and extracted a tiny paper boat from the gap. Three heads joined together to see what it contained and as Zach unfolded the paper boat, Zach and Joe exchanged looks that Roy couldn’t understand. There was a simple one line on it. 

“Joe found love in a hopeless place.”

A very funny reference Roy found, to the Rihanna song that had been quite popular a year or so back. Only Roy laughed. Zach and Joe both looked a little sad and Roy felt excluded from them for the first time in a long time. Joe took the paper, folded it back into a boat and placed it back saying - “I hope it finds us again.”