You sat at the corner facing the road, gazing into the coffee cup as if a world lay hidden within it. The passing cars with their glossy lights, threw shadows on your face but your eyes didn’t register them. It was your eyes that made the decision for me. Black pools of liquid loneliness. What is it with eyes? Why do they betray us like this ? They bare our souls naked for anyone to see, especially when we are unaware of it. So I walked out to you and said, ” Hi, do you remember me? How are you??”
Confused and surprised you looked up and asked, ” Sorry??”
” I guess you don’t remember me …. Ruhin right? ”
” Yes but… ”
” We used to go to school together. Its been like.. 20 years now .. isn’t it ? Do you mind if I join you for coffee? ”
” Of course not. Its just that.. I … ”
” Never mind. Tell me how are you ?”
” Quite good thank you.” You are completely stumped but trying to place me you ask ” How are you ? And what have you been up to all this while ? ”
” Living” I reply tongue in cheek and you chuckled companionably.
And as we played the cat and mouse game of careless banter, the evening slipped laughingly into star studded night. I could now see your eyes glitter in interest. How easy it is , sometimes, to dispel the shadows. If only they’d stay away!
When it was time to close the cafe, we both reluctantly stepped out and started walking down the street.
Unwilling to let go yet, you asked if you could drop me home and I agreed.
Somehow our ride to my home was very strained. The easy bonhomie that we felt in the cafe had given way to this awkward silence. May be the intimacy of being alone in the closed car made us realize what we really were. Two lonely strangers.
When my stop came, You rushed out to open my door and lightly kissed me good bye. Then self consciously said, ” I really enjoyed our evening but I wish I could place you. I am really sorry but I am unable to recollect”
” That’s okay” I said with a smile ” You don’t know me anyways”
” Then why… ”
” ‘Cause you seemed like you needed company”
And with a wink I said, ” I needed too” and disappeared into the dark passageway.