The evening was young. There was nothing special about it. The city was the same. The Starbucks was the same. Even the playlist was the same. Rajesh was still around. Our usual friendly barista. He’d hook us up with extra goodies each time we ordered. Be it the overflowing cream or that luscious lavish spray of dark chocolate syrup. He was the man.
The table was the same too. I took my usual chair. The one towards the left. I loved facing the door. It was a good way to see folks come and go. I’ve lost track of the million thoughts I pondered upon with each new face walking in through the door. People always made a great way to pass time and subtly observe. Some announced their arrival loud. Some would be meek. Kids would run ahead and jump around the counter. Their excitement could not be concealed. Some would walk in tired. Some would just walk in. Blank and expressionless.
I enjoyed my chair. It gave me a peek into the work of us, humans.
She joined me a few minutes later. We had a routine of sorts. She loved to take a whiff of the generously laid out coffee beans. I never bothered to ask why. It was just the way it was. I didn’t protest it. It seemed to have a great effect on her. She’d always walk back smiling after this near religious ritual of hers. I couldn’t really complain.
They are playing your song, I softly whispered.
Totally, I KNOW, she replied. The pleasure of listening to an excited voice. I smiled happy.
Rajesh was back with our ‘Usuals’. Her cup of hot coffee and my cup of cold. He enjoyed pampering his loyal customers. He had outdone himself that day. One could comfortably vulgarly covet the heap of a mountain of crème resting smug on the hot cup! Enjoy your day folks, he said and quickly vanished.
I loved that about Rajesh. He could always make his presence felt. He’s swoop in and charm us with his smile. And just like that, he’d quickly disappear behind his counter. He got the balance right. He was friendly and also respected our privacy. He was an excellent brand ambassador to the coffee shop. I sure liked him more than the coffee.
After a few minutes of practiced stirring of the coffee and strategically placing them at a comfortable distance across the table, we both got back to the agenda of the day.
So, I broke the silence.
Nothing. Same old. She said.
What about tomorrow? I enquired.
Don’t know. It’s way too early to start planning things out da. I’m yet to give it a thought. What about you? What do you have in mind?
Me? , I shot a fake surprised double take. Of course it had to be me. Who else was there to take the question. It was not like we both were surrounded by a mob.
I don’t know. Haven’t really given much thought about it. I mean, had it be bau, probably bug you a little early during the day. Then head out and make some music. Head back home and TV. Now the day looks wide open. I am sitting on a million possibilities of things I can do but am way to lazy to do anyways.
The joke had served the purposed. She giggled. I could never really call her bluff over that. I never knew when I genuinely cracked her up and when she was throwing pity laughs at me. She was too kind to remind me of how sober and mellow my jokes could be at times.
We both let a little silence usher itself in. We capitalized on that break. We took a sip from our respective cups.
Meanwhile the track changed. It was now playing savage garden. I liked the song. It had been nearly two decades since I had heard that song. I felt happy instantly.
Aint it something, I again interrupted.
What is it? she replied in her casual tone.
The whole way the world works, I started. I mean strangers one day. Friends the other. Walk a few miles. Organic evolution. Life runs its course. I paused to take another sip.
She exhaled heavy. I guess there was no escaping it.
Oh , before I forget. I got you a little something, I said to cheer up the gloomy moment.
I reached out to my bag. I pulled out a yellow bunny rabbit.
She stared at it for a while and then shot me a disapproving look. You know right, how pointless these stuffed toys are. I hate em. Why would you even bother getting me one!!! I really don’t understand the way that stupid mind of your works!!!
Chill, I said. It symbolizes easter. Easter, the festival of hopes and dreams. Wanted you to remember that. We all have the power to bring our hopes and dreams alive. I want you to know that. Always, I mean Always , spread that sunshine.
She obviously ran short of words. She gently picked the bunny and placed it on her lap. She rested it like she’d rest an infant. The looked straight into my eyes.
Thanks da.. was all that she said.
Naah.. Thank you. Thanks for the last 8 years of being together. You completed me in ways that I didn’t even realize I was incomplete. You gave me hope. You gave wings to my dreams. You stood beside me, supporting me, motivating me, inspiring me. You put up with my madness. Nothing I do, nothing that I could ever do would be ample to match your kindness.
You always had a way with your words. Its funny, even when we are not on the same page, you still manage to give life to my thoughts through your words.
“Thank you” , I said. We both looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.
With my coffee done, i got up to leave. She rested her half empty coffee mug on the table. We embraced one last time. Its going to be ok, i gently whispered into her ears. You take care too, she whispered back. Neither had the heart the break away from that hug. World seemed lost to us.
For what seemed like an eternity in passing, with a heavy heart I disengaged from the hug. We shook our hands. We smiled once more. Possibly the last smile that we both would ever share face to face, separated by mere inches.
I walked towards the door. I turned back. I saw her turned away from her chair, she was intently watching me leave.
HEYYYYYYYY, i called out. I waved bye.
Hey, she mouthed a silent response. She waved right back.
And that was it.
Dear diary, If my life was a movie and Shahrukh played me, this is probably how that scene would look like. I can image the tiny nuances of our emotions so skilfully scripted and converted scene by scene, second by second , into a visual emotional fest. Unfortunately, this life of mine aint a movie. I aint a hero and there are no cameras and writers churning out perfect words and lines that kindle emotions.
Reality is so underratd. And today we fought again. Screamed at each other. The last time i remember her saying was FINE, in a really nasty loud tone. I screamed WHAT THE HELL EVER , right back at her. I slammed the door on her face and walked out. Moments later, my phone buzzed and ‘Go to hell, i never want to see your face again’, read the message.
A few minutes later i was digitally dead to her. I guess I had been emotionally dead to her a lot earlier.
Ah well, at least you get to know how i wanted things to be. to end. And so once more, in you I confide my deepest warmest wishes. And once more, you chronicle the life that I wanted, but could never have.
At least you last for ever!