Saturday, August 6, 2016

Giving her a hand…

There she was, as he remembered, sitting in a corner in his favourite café, sobbing inconsolably, weeping unabashedly, wiping her running nose with fervour and sniffing like there wasn’t enough oxygen in the world. He couldn’t forget that sight, and as fate would have it – there was no other place that was vacant. She was concentrating thoroughly on something on her laptop, a hurtful letter he assumed, maybe a bad breakup or some horrifying news. He didn’t know how to ask her or rather if he wanted to interrupt her and her waterfall eyes.

Clutching his coffee just as he was contemplating the above, she looked up. She blinked at him a couple of times as more salty droplets caressed her skin. She looked at him and then looked at his coffee, “oh, please grab this seat I’m not waiting for anyone,” she said as she tried taking her headphones off and tried to haul her heavy bag off of the vacant but not so vacant chair. “Here let me help you with that, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but there wasn’t any other place vacant, and…” he trailed off apologetically. “That’s absolutely alright, please have a seat, I am sorry I was so engrossed,” she said with the warmest smile he’d ever seen.

What surprised him was not her behaviour, or her courtesy but the fact that through this whole conversation and movement, she hadn’t even made an attempt to dry her eyes or looked away from him as you would if you were upset. It was almost as if tears were just another accessory to her, like her earrings, which funnily she did not have. He plonked himself down, and got back to his reading as did she to staring voraciously at the screen. There they were again, the tears from those salty cave like deep eyes.  

He couldn’t help but stare, it was riveting and mildly intriguing to watch and the fact that she was this thoroughly oblivious to the surrounding drew him in even more. Before he knew it his book and coffee lay there forgotten as he sat there in deep thought. Thinking what it was that was causing so much sadness to her, was she getting over a tough relationship, was she watching a message from a deceased relative – his mind thought up every worst possible scenario there was.

Suddenly she looked up, “Sorry, am I disturbing you? My sniffing does get into people’s way at times,” she said shrugging as though nothing had happened. He couldn’t hold onto his thoughts any longer so he asked her what was wrong. “Wrong? Oh nothing! Except maybe my coffee is over, give me a moment I’m just going to get myself a refill,” she said suddenly getting up with surprising agility and going over to the counter.

“Hi. Yes. Sorry, where were we? Oh yes! There’s nothing wrong, I mean I’m sure it looks awful from where you’re sitting but there is nothing wrong. I am actually a glutton for emotion, like how you have a glutton for punishment?” he was thoroughly confused and that reflected on his face. “I’ll explain, whenever I have a bad day or I have an off, I like to watch the sappiest movies out there and bawl my eyes out, so I lighten up and feel better. I was just watching a Nicholas sparks movie, this is my third one today,” she rattled off.

Odd girl he thought to himself, but before he knew it there was a meaningful conversation erupting in between them. “You know what I love about these movies, yes of course the raw human emotion, the eternal love and all that is amazing but what I truly love is that hand. The hand that the man always has out. Helping a woman any woman into her chair, asking her to dance, exuding confidence and respect helping her get down stairs – that hand, the hand that asks for permission. The hand that asks if you trust them. It is beautiful to watch and something you should yearn for,” she said. He was shocked at the thoughts she had and the beliefs she harboured. Soon, even though they didn’t realise it, it had been a couple of hours of them talking.

“Oh dear, look at the time. I was supposed to meet some friends for dinner,” she rambled on as she started gathering her stuff and shoving it in her seemingly bottomless bag, “it was so nice talking to you,” she said shaking his hand. “You too,” is all he could muster. That was that, she whooshed past him, just like that salty tear that rolls down your cheeks when you clench your eye. He didn’t know who she was, there weren’t any promises made to hang out or no numbers were exchanged. It was two perfect strangers exchanging perspectives and moving on with their respective lives. All he could hope for is one day she would get that hand, the hand that would truly respect hers.

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