Simple things, she loved, like books, the wind, the sea and being alone.
Her favourite haunt was the café down the street. One could find her, clad in one of the sombre dresses she owned, sipping coffee at the end table, looking out at the streets with earnest eyes, the perfect picture of solitude.
Day 1 :
When the busy monotonous city life was more than he could take , he would turn around to this quaint place, and relish his coffee in lost thoughts.
The end table with the window overlooking the street was his province. He would silently ,look out the window and gaze at the passer’s-by and drink upon the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as original and crowded with worries, friends and all that is life. Each person living their own period piece and sometimes, you are just invisible, nothing but a voice at a distance.
Such thoughts were prone to visit him when he sunk like a shadow in his usual seat.
Tired of the day and seeking solace in passing observations, he had rushed into the café only to be flabbergasted to find the usurper had already took his throne.
She had sunk into the chair like she forever had been there. . He half-heartedly occupied the other table at the end of the row where he could have a good look at both the girl and the street.
Her eyes were fixed outside. She did not look at her hot coffee. She did not seek company nor did her eyes travel elsewhere .
There was a heart wrenching look on her face. She sat there lost in thoughts.
He was trying his best to come to terms with the grief of the great loss he just had.
It unnerved him to think that she sat in his seat and thought the same thoughts he did, looking out the pane. His place in the universe was now undefined, he felt.
His eyes did not trail outside today.
It was the month of October. After the harsh summer, winter had come to soothe.
She turned her face away from the sill and their eyes met.
She had enticing black eyes. Eyes that bespoke a depth of something unknown that he could not decipher. Maybe it was some deep sorrow that left her maimed or guilt that plagues the innermost soul tearing apart the weak and the strong. Maybe it was love that was never returned. Maybe it was the loss of a dear one. The mysterious shimmer glistened in her eyes giving no hint of the rationale for the chaos her eyes testified.
He was lost. She had peeped into his whole being and left him shaken. It seemed, she had shrunk herself and let herself into his shell. His place of secrets , of sorrows long forgotten, of despair, of betrayal, of all that wound him. She was there to heal them with the charm of her eyes, he couldn’t help imagining.
It took him a little time to get back to the real world and compose himself. She had turned away.
I should not fall for this.
It was a reflex of the young and impulse generation. He was not ready to give in to the tricks of his mind or rather, his heart.
Is this what they call love at first sight?
She was sipping her coffee and looking down . Her black hair had framed itself wildly trying to capture the essence of those beautiful eyes.
He watched her drain her cup lost in thoughts.
Minutes later , he found her walking out of the café . She sat on the bench outside, watching the pigeons . He watched her until she got up and walked away into the street. With the wind, She was gone.
Day 2 :
He had arrived early. He lingered around and stared at the empty chair for a few seconds. He sat there for what seemed like an eternity wishing she’d come if only to see a second time.
How could a man like him engage in such silly thoughts?
For all he knew, she was a perfect stranger. She could be the devil himself in the angel’s clothes.
She could be a gold smuggler or a swindler. She could be nothing but a cheat.
Well, those would be the logical mind’s thoughts. Never ever to fall in love with a true stranger. But does the stubborn heart ever listen? Stranger or not, her eyes would deny all logical fallacies.
Stranger or not, his heart would only look at her eyes.
They say that the eyes are the windows to the innermost being and he could only see kindness and innocence in those charming eyes.
Just when he was about to give up , she appeared and found herself in the same seat as before. She ordered a cup of espresso and waited.
He watched her in delight. He didn’t need a wishing well. Some fairy had granted his earnest wish.
It was not something superficial . It was not that she was pretty. What he loved was the person, the abstract ‘her’. The ‘her’ that he could not decipher. He was trying and guessing what her thoughts would be as she looked out the pane. Could they be the same as his?
He immersed himself in her thoughts. The economy, the businesses of the world, the vast human race and their unpredictable behavior didn’t bother him anymore. He was only thinking of her.
As soon as she finished her espresso , she settled her bill and pranced out. He waited a whole minute after she exit the shop. She was feeding the pigeons and watching them with glee.
She was as happy as a four year old . He could not be more amused. The girl sitting inside the shop did not smile. She was more solemn. And then , she was gone.
Day 3 :
The time was past. She was not to be seen.
Should have asked her name.
The breeze gusted . The pigeons flew back to their nests and night came.
Hours flew by and he stayed .
It was late . He stepped out and behind him the doors closed and the lights fell. The darkness swooned in on his lonely soul.
He walked towards home breathing in the night’s air.
Only the dim street lights shone.
The city was asleep.