When they had visited all shops in the 80 floors of that building, they realised the sun was just visible above the horizon and about to set any instant when they looked out of a window. Chris had picked up a Nikon SLR camera, while Sarah had picked up a vanity kit at from Les Femme in addition to her iPod from the iStore. He stood in front of a shop on the topmost floor, thinking he would never ever look down the railing again. Looking down 80 floors had been dizzying and he had almost vomited his burger and cola. Sarah came up the escalator and looked at him.
“Why haven’t you gone inside?”
“Look for yourself.”
Intrigued, Sarah looked inside the showroom with a large Levi’s board glowing above her head. It was empty inside. To her delight all the shops so far had been full, offering everything at a hundred percent discount- every girl’s dream come true. She took one more step towards the doors and they slid open to admit her inside. There were mirrors at regular intervals between wooden stacks that should have been filled with clothes, and she went to stand in front of one.
Her top ended just below her jeans pocket, the V neck satisfactorily ending at the boundary of decent. The top clung to the body to show off a lean body with roundness and curves at the right places, and the slim fit jeans hinted at her perfectly shaped legs. Her high cheekbones and a smoothly curving jawbone made her face appear extremely chiselled, earning her second glances of approval ever so often. Her lips had a very slight pout, enough to attribute beauty and vulnerability to her face. The doors whirred as they slid open, and Sarah saw Chris coming inside. She coughed and pretended to adjust her hair while looking in the mirror.
Chris was wearing a black jeans and a blue t-shirt, splashed with black and white only enough to not make it look plain. Sarah looked at him for some time, studying his physique.
If only he had his hair a bit shorter at the sides, and a size smaller dark blue T-shirt with a V neck, and white shoes instead of his brown ones... Suddenly she found herself gaping at him. Till now she had been only imagining him in a new getup, but Chris stood right in front of her just like she had thought.
Chris felt a sudden tingling all over his body, and when he took another step and looked at himself in a mirror on the left, he really jumped an inch into the air.
“What the heck happened to me?” He looked at himself, then at Sarah standing in front of him, and realised he had sounded like a frog. She was evidently quite busy in looking at the contents in her vanity kit. His glance jumped back and forth between her and the mirror, and he thought this was going to make him empty his stomach very soon.
Sarah. She was obviously the one who had done this. It had to be her.
She turned to look at him, and he realised she must have heard his thought.
“You did this, didn’t you?”
“Chris, I- I just looked at you and thought about how you would-” She bit down on her tongue, almost having said look good in a tighter T-shirt.
“Well if you could tell me how you did this, maybe I could wear a tight T-shirt of my choice.” He saw her face turn crimson before she looked in the opposite direction to hide just that.
“Sarah! Tell me what you’ve done, and put me back in my own clothes.”
She turned around, having felt the heat going away from her cheeks. “I honestly don’t know what happened Chris. I just thought you like that, and you changed right in front of my eyes.”
“Well then, change me back.” Chris looked at her expectantly.
“I’ll try.” She concentrated hard on how he had looked before the change, but nothing happened. Irritated, she tried again. Nothing happened.
“It’s not working Chris.”
“I’m not making excuses!” She spoke to him indignantly.
“Great. You change my clothes, and now you can’t change me back. What am I supposed to do now?” He looked straight into her eyes.
“Well, it isn’t that bad after all. You could keep wearing it. What’s the big deal?” She crossed her arms below her breasts and waited for an answer. None came.
Chris opened his mouth but no sound came out. The point had hit home. What was the big deal? He still had clothes on.
“It’s my turn now.”
“What?” Sarah looked at him in surprise.
“You changed me. I must get a chance to change you too. Tell me how once more.”
“You’re not doing any such thing. Let’s go from here.” She started walking towards the door, but he blocked her way. The entire time spent inside the mall had been quite boring, and now finally he had a chance to tease her to lighten up the atmosphere inside the totally quiet building.
“What if I imagine you in...”
Pervert. Her thought rang in his mind. And then the image of what Sarah was thinking he was going to change her into. His eyes dilated for an instant, but the image was gone in a blink. He flushed red, and looked down to observe his shoes once more. Except that they were white now instead of brown.
That’s a pretty hot headed girl.
Oh no! Apart from the two words, he heard an audible gasp as he saw Sarah covering her face with her hands in embarrassment, realising that her thoughts had travelled to him.
“Chris, if you even think of it... Let me get out!” She tried to dodge him, but he put a hand in front of her.
“I get a chance, and you should trust me. I won’t even dream about it.” Maybe...
“Okay, okay. Just stand in front of this mirror.” She put her vanity kit and iPod on the floor and dragged herself to stand in front of the mirror, regretting admitting to him that she was responsible. She closed her eyes in fear and embarrassment, expecting all sorts of things she had imagined that went through boys’ minds. If he even dares...
She was about to turn and shout at him to get lost when her body started to tingle. She looked into the mirror. Her eyes grew wider and wider as she saw her image- herself- changing.
For a second or two she saw herself in an off shoulder red gown with a neckline just about to show cleavage but clinging to the boundary between decent and naughty, with pleats falling to the ground like the princesses’ gowns in the movies and the fabric seemed to wrap itself around her waist. Her hair fell behind her shoulders in waves, and lips shimmered with a hint of gloss and eyes lined with thin eyeliner. But the image lasted only a second. Suddenly she was in her original black top, but the jeans was white and her jogging sneakers were black instead of pink, and her hair reduced to shoulder length that framed her face in a semicircle on either side, but it quickly changed to its original length and shape.
Close your mouth girl. “I’m done.”
She hurriedly jammed her mouth shut, realising that her mouth had been hanging ever since the changes had started.
“What’s with the black shoes and white jeans? I look right out of a black and white movie!” She spoke to him, and found him sitting on the floor with his hands at the back to support him- laughing.
“Is your fashion sense this bad?” He covered his eyes with his right hand and continued to laugh.
“I’m-ha ha- so-h-rry- ha ha!” She thought about what was going on his mind; and as if a gate had been opened, his emotions flooded her mind. It was pure joy, pure laughter. She found herself smiling too, unable to prevent the torrent of ecstasy from affecting her while it raged inside her mind.
“Can we go now, please?” She stopped short of mentioning the red gown. Was that how he thought of her? In that way? She had never had any ideas about him, mostly because their conversations had always been in the canteen about novels and physics and other common stuff. He had never been close and personal in a best friend kind of way.
“Yes, let’s.” Chris agreed when he couldn’t laugh anymore and picked up his backpack and camera carrying pouch.
She stormed out of the shop and stood outside. I dress him like he’s Robert Pattinson, and he decks me in black and white! What crap!
“So you think I look like Robert Pattinson?” He grinned when she started; he had quietly crept up behind her while she had been thinking and simmering due to his unfair move.
“What? I- No. I... Could you stop listening to what I’m thinking? It freaks me out!”
“Unless you promise to do the same, I can’t stop.”
“Very well then. We won’t hear each others’ thoughts from this moment onwards.” Guys are just the height of-”
“OH YES!” Chris shouted so loudly that she started again, but could not understand why he was running towards the elevator. She sprinted behind, her Les Femme bag slowing her a bit. She entered the lift just as the doors started closing.
“You thought of height, Sarah! You thought of height! I can’t believe it! HEIGHT!”
Sarah was outright bewildered. The guy was speaking as if she had invented popcorn. Hang on... What about NOT listening to thoughts? She opened her mouth to remind him when the escalator opened to reveal the roof. Gulping down words, she followed him when he ran out of the escalator and stopped at the railing visible in front.
“What in the world are you thinking of-” She understood. From a height of that 80 storey building as shown by the buttons inside the elevator, they could see all around and discover where they were. She walked towards him slowly, and inhaled so quickly it was audible. It was night time, and so many stars dotted the perfectly clear sky that she had never seen in her lifetime. They twinkled and dazzled in millions across the sky, as far as she could see. And a crescent moon hung amidst them like a perfect horizontal ‘C’. But what had attracted her attention was the total darkness all around on the ground. The buildings were all dark, and so was the land beyond. She saw the red glow of a traffic signal on the ground, realising that she was standing exactly above the revolving doors of the mall. Chris was now standing at the opposite railing, and he exclaimed suddenly in joy.
She looked towards the horizon where he was pointing, and saw a cluster of lights on the ground. A town!
Yes, a town!
He turned left to face her. “Should we go there?”
“Better if we go in the morning.”
“Yeah, okay.” His heart was beating so fast he could hear it in his ears. Chris walked back into the elevators, and pushed “0” when Sarah was inside. After the longest time either had ever spent inside an elevator, it opened on the ground floor on the opposite side of the McDonald’s. “I’m hungry. Let’s grab dinner and catch some sleep. We’re finally going to meet some people tomorrow.”
They finished another serving of burgers, cola and french fries and emerged out of the shop to sleep.
Where am I going to sleep?
I don’t have ANY idea.
Sarah shook her head. So much of hearing another’s voice inside her head was making her dizzy now. “I think we’ll be sleeping on the ground. I’ll sleep right here-” she said as she put down her iPod case and carry bag on the ground where she had been standing-“and you sleep near the door. And don’t even think about moving an inch from where you lie.”
“I have a better idea. You sleep here, and I’ll sleep on the first floor, just beside the escalator.”
“Sounds good.” He went up the escalator and immediately spread himself on the ground at a position where the AC vents were blowing cool air.
Sarah settled on the ground and looked up. Eighty floors of concrete, glass and pale moonlight filtering through windows rolled in front of her. She swallowed and closed her eyes. The image swirled in her mind once more, making her feel like lying at the base of a deep empty well and looking at the far off opening as the weight of air pressed her. The silence made her ears throb. Sleeping at the centre of the floor felt a worse idea with every passing moment until she was totally freaking. Scared to even speak a word, lest the stillness be disturbed and the entire building come crashing down on her, she thought as hard as she could. CHRIS?
No answer. She tried again. CHRIIIIIIIS?
No answer again. She slowly got up from the floor shivering, left the bag and iPod as they were, and rode the escalator to the first floor. Chris was sleeping with his hands under his head. She walked up to him, and then lay down two feet ahead of him with her back towards him. Hearing his regular, deep breaths instead of ear aching silence, she was more comfortable letting go of her senses as sleep slowly overcame her.