He wasn’t very sure where to look at. At her or away from her.
The cup was slowly uncovering her face, eyes…nose…lips, as she finished her last sip of coffee. The leather satchel was still on her shoulder, elbows closer to ribs.
‘So…What kind of music do you like?’ , he asked her.
‘A music that takes me somewhere’, she had prepared this reply long before they met.
A faint smile on his face seemed to approve her answer. But he had questions. Questions which were continuously diffusing into each other and ultimately didn’t deem very sensible to ask.
Every word uttered that day adorned itself in a wrap of strange sonics. Whatever came out of their mouth, broken or whole, echoed. Each of them.
Small conversations. Profound effects.
She looked at him. His fingers fidgeting with the cup’s handle.
‘Was that a stupid answer?….. O! Nevermind. It can surely be. Actually, I don’t have a specific choice of music. I hear what sounds and feels good. Or sometimes which feels sadly good. ‘
He burst out laughing, hearing this. Finally, giving way to the emotions that he was holding between his jaws.
Hence, the conversation began rolling after the coffee. Small talks were being replaced by real conversations. He stopped fidgeting. Her arms moved farther apart, breath a little lighter.
Paying the bills, they left the cafe. Walking almost side by side. Paces gradually matched. Eyes didn’t really catch each other while they talked but surely they did smile. All the time. All to their own.
As the slaty road glided beneath their feet, as the street names passed with each alley on their sides, history of their lives kept pouring in, in the present. They talked. Shared stories.
At a crossroad, he stopped.
‘Please wait here a bit! I will quickly get a smoke and come back’, he said pointing at a cigarette shop on the other side of the road.
‘Oh! Okay sure! I am waiting. ‘
She didn’t mind. But this was the first time she was excited about the opportunity to look at him from a distance.
She saw. He took the cigarette from the shopkeeper. Turned towards the road. Lighted it between his lips. Flicked his fingers to put out the matchstick. Cigarette in his hand. Eyes and feet getting ready to cross the road, he looked left to check for cars. Then, as he was sweeping his sight to the right, he looked at her, over the road.
A shining smile rose around their lips. Both of their eyes met and were smiling too… for the first time with each other. With a nod and an eye gesture, he assured he was coming over to her quickly. She strangely felt a sense of comfort in that.
In that short time, that he took to cross the road, she felt like she could catch a glimpse of the future. A bout of blissful acceptance amidst the sweet assurance. A vision where she was ready to wait, as long as he was coming back to her. The twelve metre distance between them now, could convert itself into miles. The three minutes spent here, could turn to months or years. She would be there. She felt confident.
She knew all of this about her. What she didn’t know was, what he felt all this time.
when he came over to her, cutting her off the trance she was in…, he stood a little closer, looked at her eyes…, smiled, and, offered her to take a smoke off his cigarette…