I bumped into him in front of a coffee house. Nothing has changed since I last saw him. He still looks the same.But his boyish charm that used to carry the responsibility of so many smiles,now had an edge of ripening maturity. And seeing that I smiled
“Hi, how are you? So long?”
I think I gave away the glimpse of my sudden cheeriness with my ear to ear smile. Thankfully, he returned my answer with an equal measured curve of his lips. Is he really that happy to see me??
“I’m good, Tina. How have you been? Do you wanna grab some coffee? I heard this coffee house serves the best Flirting-Coffee.”
I saw him getting embarrassed the moment he ended his sentence. And I laughed out loud.
“Flirting-coffee? I’m very sure I’ve never heard of this before. How could this cafe be the best in that?”
“I mean that’s the name of their special coffee”, he added sheepishly. “So do you want to go inside and taste it?”
No, I shouldn’t. At all. Too little of time is left for wedding preparations and my evil friend Priyanka would kill me if I’m late. I wanted to say No and to my utter surprise, this is what came out of my mouth.
“Yes, Ofcourse. I can join you for a couple of minutes” I said with a radiant smile. What is it about him? Why can’t I stop smiling? What would he think of me? That I’m that kid hopping on her feet elated over receiving her favorite present. I tried to compose myself.
We entered and ordered the special coffee. I was noticing how nicely he tucks in his shirt now, how uniformly he folds his sleeves. No unbuttoned, disheveled gawky outfit. His hair nicely coiled and dignified mannerisms screaming of a friendly and approachable Gentleman demeanor. His face didn’t change but the eyes seem to have aged in a responsible way that you now feel you are heard. A person who has mentally grown over the years and now is much more attentive while you talk.
And his smile. Oh!! He’s smiling at whatever I’m saying. Please I need to stop else at this rate, I’ll document each second of my life spent after we parted. He looks so interested in listening to how much my cat troubles me, or if I’m still that scared girl who sleeps with lights on, if I am enjoying my new job, or how many times I re-read Harry Potter. All those trivial details in our dreamy encounter made me lose track of time.
I suddenly ask him so what’s the story behind flirting-coffee. His laugh is a bit shy again. He continues,
“Actually, according to this Coffee-House they let their coffee do all the flirting. So even if you are naive at this, you are covered” And then I jokingly add,
“So you wanted to flirt with me but didn’t know how to, right?”
And we both laughed out so hard. Like the old times. Good old times. I don’t want to remember the bad parts with or about him. It’s only about a couple of minutes so I don’t need to ruin it.
“Hey, you there?” He asks. I didn’t know when did I space out. “You still carry a lot of things on your mind, don’t you?” He winks.
“Oh, well…” My phone buzzed and it was Priyanka. Oh God!!
I picked up!!
“Hi sweetie, I’m sorry I’m coming. I’m on my way” She’s yelling, of course!! I didn’t realize it’s been more than an hour sitting and chatting with him. She anyway gets paranoid over the wedding stuff esp when it’s around the corner.
I continued “Yes yes, the wedding. There is nothing more important to me at this point in time” trying to tease and calm her down.
I hung up. And tell him I’ve to rush.
He says okay but something is off. He asks if I’m okay and I assure him but had to shop for the wedding and I’m late.
I picked my things and left. I walk fast but suddenly had this urge to bid him bye. I turn around and there he is. Standing in front of the coffee house, like he was waiting for me to turn. He looks sad. Something wore off his pretty smile. What happened to him??
But I don’t have time for this. I wave him bye and walk faster. In few minutes my feet comes to a sudden halt.
Oh, is this what?? Did it bother him?? After all this time? Was he heartbroken about this news? Doesn’t it mean he still ….?
I don’t know why but I run back towards the coffee house. And I run fast. I wanted to confront him. I needed to hear something. Maybe some sort of closure that I failed to get all these years.
I reach there and he is gone. He has left.
What made me think that he would still be waiting for me?
He is gone. Like before.
(Part 1 ends)