She walked in, hair swaying in the wind, eyes glancing across the half crowded coffee shop, with a bunch of red roses gripped tightly in her hands. A cat whistle shrilled from across the table where she rested her grip on the flowers. A couple of gawky teenagers couldn’t hide their excitement and let their jaw drop (along with the glass of cold coffee) at the sight of the flower girl. She looked up, sharp eyes, lined with kajal, the type that makes the eyes look even more expressive than how it is on a lazy Sunday morning.
The flowers found a place on the table and one got to see her fingers, beautifully manicured, the ones that would have experienced the choicest of creams, lotions and moisturizers, the ones that always smelt fresh and felt divine. The ones that were always not too far from sanitizers. The ones that had mehendi on them?
Ah! She is married. About to be married? Or her friend just got married. Yes. That should be the case. Phew! That’s a relief.
She sat down at a table that could accommodate only two people. She is expecting company. The electricity just went off, thanks to the heavy rain. A few drops of rain cascaded down her forehead and fell on the table. She carefully took a tissue from her bag (didn’t even bother looking at the pile of tissues folded and placed on the table in a triangular shape by the waiters) and wiped her face, gently, not ruining the kajal. The heart skips another beat. She folds the tissue and places them next to the flowers.
“I’m there”, she said on the phone, that seemed to have magically sprung out of her bag and planted itself to her ears, when the mind was too busy deciding on her relationship status.
“Oh! Another half hour? Shit”, she cursed. The lips seemed so pure, so bright and so sensuous, that one could never expect words other than love, peace, hope, and bliss, let alone profanity. Those lips were meant for kissing. It looked like a painting, perfect, symmetric, orgasmic with the blood red of her lipstick, like the painter's final signature.
The waiter walks up to her table and places a candle and she smiles at him. It’s his lucky day ! He walks away and she lights the candle with her lighter. The candle light falls on her face and the heart skips another beat. Her eyes shine. The light keeps shifting, thanks to the wind; it plays a pattern on her face. Her nose ring twinkles. The light is blinding, making me turn my gaze away from her for just a moment.
She is trying to catch the attention of the waiter. Unaware that she has everybody’s attention. She does realize it. She signals him to get her a hot cappuccino.
The coffee arrives in what felt like milliseconds. She looked awkward trying to open the sachet of sugar to add to her coffee. She spills some on the table-the coffee and the sugar. She looked up to see if someone saw her clumsiness.
Her eyes met mine. I smiled. She was still for a moment before a gentle smile escaped her lips. The candle light was playing tricks. The light and shadow was just too much to handle. I gently nodded my head to greet her. She hesitantly waved back.
I went back to scribble on the tissue paper, the one I had in front of me from the moment I came into the coffee shop. I wanted to write something. In fact I wanted to just keep writing. I had something to write about.
The coffee shop began filling up. The rain was getting heavier and water was dripping from the roof above. People were trying to squeeze into any available space. Tables looked crowded. Privacy could be forgotten. At least till the rain stopped. The air smelt wet. The voices became loud and conversations from every table could be heard clearly. No one went near her table. She still stood out. Alone, beautiful and mesmerizing.
Ever so often, I looked up to see her. I just couldn’t stop. I would then smile to myself and then get back to writing. My coffee was getting cold, partly due to the weather and mostly because I never bothered to drink it.
“What? You’re stuck? It’s pouring here and what do you want me to do?” she spoke on the phone once again. Frustration was written all over her forehead. I could see the lines forming on her clear face. She shook her head and disconnected the call. And I’m certain I heard her swear one last time before hanging up the call.
She glanced towards the flowers that were on the table. She picked up a tissue and began scribbling something. A note I thought. She tucked the note to the flowers and called the waiter. She handed him the flowers and said something, the waiter nodded. He went back to the cash counter, carefully holding the flowers. She took a final sip of her coffee and got up, hand held over her head to protect her from the rain and strode out as briskly as she had come in just a while ago.
The heart skipped another beat.
Do I go behind her? Maybe just talk to her? Would I be seeing her again? Questions flooded my brain. I was snapped out of my trance by the waiter.
“Sir, that madam asked me to give these to you”, he said handing me the flowers.
“Would love to read what you have written about me. Coffee tomorrow at 4?” it read with a smiley at the end.