“Thanks for the coffee.”
Devika replied in courtesy to the waiter in the coffee shop. She sympathized with the staff there a lot as she felt people didn’t give them their due credit, the staff was always on their feet accommodating unreasonable requests from ever ungrateful customers. Devika frequented this place a lot lately. Like a lot of such evenings, today also she was hopped on her corner table with a book and her coffee for company. She loved reading here specially during monsoons. She had a rough break up a few months ago, after which she did not quite feel ready for the dating game, so her book was her usual date here.
Following her usual custom, she looked around the coffee shop observing other customers chatting, laughing or just loners like herself waiting on their friends. Soon she went back to reading, which was perturbed after just ten minutes by two kids playing with their balloons, she smiled at them gently. She once again turned her focus to the book, when she noticed a familiar face on a nearby table. The stranger was not really a stranger but rather an old flame, it was Sameer. They had hung out together for a few months a couple of years ago, they were very good friends back then. She wondered whether she should go and say hi, though quashing the thought away by deciding he might be waiting on his date. Perhaps it would be best not to intrude and so she finally dived back in the world the book offered.
Few minutes into reading the book she found herself completely engrossed in the world surrounding those fictional characters, not having any care for the real world around her.
“Hey, are you there?? Are you ignoring me on purpose? Hello??” She heard Sameer’s voice from seemingly long distance and felt a gentle nudge on her shoulder.
She looked up suddenly and realized she was staring into the eyes of the same familiar stranger she just ignored. Sameer was standing at her table in all his glory with that old cocky grin on his face, she found her hoarse voice and responded, “Hey…um…I am sorry, I did not heard you, my mind was elsewhere.” She gestured towards her book.
“Yes, I can see, clearly that book seems far more interesting than us simple folks around you in the real world.”
She couldn’t help but laugh at this, remembering his witty sense of humour from the good old days. “I am sorry, I really didn’t notice you being here.” She lied half-heartedly.
“Yeah right! So are you suggesting that it was some other girl who was checking me out fifteen minutes ago from a certain corner table??”
“Well, as handsome as you are, I am sure all the girls around here have checked you out!” She responded with her own wit.
Now it was his turn to laugh, he replied, “I want to believe you, except that, this handsome hunk just got stood up by his date. So do you mind if I join you instead?”
She was not prepared for this, but she was enjoying this more than her book, so she said, “Sure, why not!”
They chatted away through the next hour not realizing how fast time flew by, reminiscing about the good old days, life, break ups, etc. She remembered, how she met Sameer two years ago while she was still in a relationship with Raghav. They were good friends and seemed to like each-others company a lot. However, then life happened and this friendship failed to survive as it used to make Raghav insecure. They gradually lost contact with each-other. After all these years she observed, Sameer still had the same spark and brought the same old sparkle in her eye.
“So, who is this lucky girl you are dating?” She asked him casually.
“Unlucky u mean! Today was the first date and she stood me up, so I am not quite dating yet.”
“Wow! Smooth way to tell me that you are single!”
Sameer laughed at this, “Yes well, you asked!”
Devika checked the time, realizing she was getting late, she bid her goodbye to Sameer and left the café after some time. She started walking back towards her home. Few minutes into the walk, her mind started wandering and then got locked onto those memories of her with Sameer from two years back. Those were one of her happier days, she used to feel safe and at peace in his company. She used to forget all her career and relationship troubles in his silly witty banter.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a gentle nudge at her shoulder.
“Hey, mind if I walk you home?” She heard Sameer’s voice after a few minutes and turned to find his smiling face.
“Sure, I would like that.” Smiling herself she replied.
They chatted through random topics throughout their walk with her talking after so long about her failed relationship with Raghav. She felt like a weight was lifted off her shoulders. That relationship was so poisonous for her that now the mere thought of talking about it brought her close to tears, but she kept going as she felt she needed to tell him everything. So she told him everything right from their troubles to how they eventually broke up and how now she is putting her life back together piece by piece.
She invited Sameer inside her home, offered him a glass of water. They continued exchanging stories of each-others lives. She found out how Sameer had been in on and off short term flings but was never able to settle down with any girl after they lost touch.
“So, why was I suddenly deleted from your life?” He asked her
That question reminded her of the last conversation she had with Sameer on the last day they were together. Her mind went back to that day, reliving it. She and Sameer had gone to an art exhibition and after returning home they were talking amongst themselves about her troubles with Raghav among other things.
“Yesterday, he was checking my phone asking me who this guy is, why are you talking to Sameer and all, he just doesn’t trust me!!”
Being the supportive friend that he was, Sameer consoled her, “He is just insecure, tell him he has nothing to worry about.”
“I did tell him that, but it is this incessant nagging and lack of communication in his mood swings that I don’t know how to handle.”
“He is just insecure, let it slide, don’t worry.”
“No, you are not getting it, I trust him blindly, I never check his phone, or ask him where he was, I didn’t signed up to sacrifice my sanity.” She felt her eyes wet and knew she was crying but she couldn’t do anything to stop.
She felt Sameers arms around her, he wiped away her tears, consoled her, hugged her… and soon the unexpected happened, she found herself kissing him for a few seconds…then they both pulled apart.
“I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to kiss you, It just happened.” Sameer looked at her with eyes full of guilt.
Devika herself was full of guilt and apologized profusely, mentally promising herself never to repeat this because that kiss was not some random dull kiss, it was full of spark and it would ruin everything she had with Raghav.
Sameer’s voice jolted her back to the present, in her living room.
“Hey, you seem to be getting lost a lot today, are you alright?” Sameer was asking out of concern
“Yes, never been better.” Devika replied smiling back to him, glad to have bumped into him.
“You didn’t tell me why I was deleted?”
With a heavy heart she found her voice, “I sacrificed what I had with you to salvage a sinking ship. The ship sunk anyways.”
“Yeah I kind of figured that much. I never reached out to you as I realised you weren’t just a friend for me after that fatal kiss.”
“Yeah, as did I. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”
“Did you ever remember me before today?” She finally asked him.
“You never really left my mind since that day, every now and then something or the other brought your memories back.”
Devika too had wondered about him sometimes over the years, though she never reached out to him and never entertained her mind to linger on his thoughts for too long. That’s how she had trained her mind to control her emotions after her breakup.
“So, I guess I had a date today after all…despite being stood up!” Sameer declared with shining eyes and cocky grin as usual.
Throwing a cushion at him, she laughed and agreed, “I guess u did get lucky after all!”
Enjoying each-others company after ages, she was feeling at peace. She took a bold step and kissed him, to check if the spark was still there, as it turned out it was a raging fire now that they were both guilt free.
They started dating each other after that night, and gradually Devika’s real world was more interesting than any of her books. She had found her person. It has been two years now and they were engaged, soon to start a new chapter of their lives. She felt positively radiant and she was discovering something new about herself with him each day.
Everything that happens is for a reason, sometimes destiny ensures we get the best in its own way!!