Two strangers from different places who meet in a coffee shop decide to interact with each other, oblivious of what is happening in each other's lives. Yet one of them leaves a mark on the other and encourages her to continue with her own life and move forward.
'I'm sorry, I like you but I don't like you enough, I need time… I need time to think. I'll talk to you. Later.'
These words were playing on repeat in my brain as I pushed the door open.
'Good afternoon Ma'am ! Seats for two I presume?
No, I just need seat for one, not two this time.
'Yes. Thank you very much'
I put down my bag and looked around.
The only odd one out in the cafe was me. Alone. The other people in the café probably didn't care I was alone. But in my mind they did, so I tried to act like I was waiting for someone.
But how long could I fool random strangers. When the waiter came with the order I just looked at him and said, ' One Hazelnut Frappe'
'That's it Ma'am?'
Oh how I wish it wasn't.
'Yes, thank you'
I took a book outta my bag and tried to read it but stupid association centre of my brain just would not comprehend the beautiful piece of literature. Damn.
"Hey, I need help'"he said
"There's this girl, I really like, and I don't know how to approach her"
"Oh-my-god! Who is she?"
I never realised I could hide my feelings so well till that day. I did not realise how emotionally strong I was till that day. I didn't realise that I could genuinely love a person so much, that I'd do anything to make them happy even though it meant my heart being pulverised into pieces.
"Ma'am, your Hazelnut Frappe'
Sometimes you don't know where memories take you, you're probably staring at something but all you see is the movie of your past. As I broke outta my memory trance, I realised I wasn't the only one who was sitting alone. A foreigner, was sitting in the table next to me and he unlike me, was enjoying sitting alone. As his eyes caught mine, he smiled at me.
Friendly. That was my first impression of him.
" Pretty hot here, huh? How do you Indians manage?" , he said as he was wiping off the sweat of his face and looking for the nearest air conditioner.
The summer heat I can manage, but the heat generated by the turmoil in my heart is something I'm sweating about.
"It's okay, we're used to it I guess, and if we do feel very hot we come to a cafe like this and order something cold" I pointed to his hot coffee
" I'm Steve"
"Hi Farhan! I'm Chandrayee"
It was fun to see the perplexed look on his face after he heard my name. Outta all the confused post-hearing-my- name faces I'd seen so far that was the cutest and the funniest.
No look at all.
He'd probably heard so many Indian weird names that he didn't even really care anymore.
"So you're here alone?" He asked
I looked down at my Frappe and pretend like it wasn't a big deal.
"Yeah, going home. Thought I'd just grab something cold. You?"
"I was supposed to meet a friend, now that he isn't here, here I am sipping hot brewed coffee"
"Where are you from?" I took a sip from my frappe. Damn. It didn't taste like it should've. Too much sugar.
"That's pretty neat"
Silence. So that was it. We as two complete strangers had nothing to talk about and neither was I interested in saying anything. The frappe disaster spoiled my already troubled mood.
I got up and as I did, he looked up and said, "you're leaving?"
"Yeah. I have to catch the metro"
"I wanted to say something to you. Don't mind please"
"Chandrayee, I have to say something to you. Don't mind. Please"
I tried to put on my 'I'm okay' look but I knew what was coming.
"The thing is, I'm scared. I'm scared that you like me alot and I can't really like you back the way you do. I like you, but not enough. I'm sorry."
"Depends on what you say, but yeah I'll try not mind" I put down my bag in the seat in front of him
"I've been practicing this thing, I learnt it from my friend, talking to God and trying to hear what he says and as I sat with you, I got this feeling. He was trying to say something and I thought I'd share it with you. You don't mind right?
Had this been some random Indian I would've scoffed on his face and asked him to mind his business. But coming from an American, I could really try to believe this isn't hocus pocus.
"God says he loves you.."
I thought God loved everybody, why would especially say that to me. I'm just a heartbroken girl.
"… And he knows you're really confused right now. You do deserve an answer. But he wants you to give it sometime. Give it a little bit of time and everything will be clear."
I had a lump in my throat and I could feel my eyes getting wet. I picked up my bag and smiled at him.
"Thank you. I appreciate you sharing it with me"
He smiled back.
And as I was about to leave, he looked at me with a queer face and said
"You have a really weird name"
I laughed and waved at him
Someone's perplexed face made it to the top of the list.