How often do we zoom out and look at all these stories around us? How often do we realize that every soul is a story? Stories of lives ending, of new beginnings, of betrayals, of joy, or separation, of gloom, of struggle, of holding on and moving on and so many others never seizing to surprise us.
Sitting alone at Gloria Jeans on a Saturday afternoon and waiting for a friend to show up is the last thing I ever wanted. Maybe, not anymore. I was sipping up my Caffé Americano, doodling on my notebook and helplessly trying to look busy when all of a sudden a guy’s loud outburst caught my attention. It made me pay attention to all the conversations going on around me and shamelessly eavesdrop. I don’t think waiting alone has ever been this interesting before.
“Its just like a one night stand!” He said raising his voice and making everyone laugh.
“I like the way you think but we have people above us who expect us to report back to them.”
“So? Its not like they aren’t already fucking the system. Aik se aik harami bharey hue hain.”
“Aapki baat bhy sahi hai magar time bhy tou lagta haina in sab kaamon mein. Asaan baat nhy hai ministry tak jana.”
“Mango shakes ab tak tou ajaney chahye.” Said the bored looking guy.
“Yeh inhi ko dekhlo. Ya system chala lo ya chutyaape macha lo.”
“Aapko gussa buhat jaldi aajata hai. Relax hojayein shake piyein.”
“Aap piyein. I’m done here.” He stood up and left, leaving behind all the men at that table stare at him in disbelief.
“They have Iced Tea!!”
“They do? I didn’t know that. I’ll get one. Which one?”
“Lemon and Lychee.” They both said together and burst out laughing.
“Jinx! I’ll go place an order now phir I gotta tell you something.” She giggled and left while her friend fiddled with her hair and phone.
“Okay so I stalked ‘Him’ on Facebook for like two hours last night.” She air quoted.
“I think things might go far beyond my plans.”
“But you were only planning to date him for a month.”
“I know but OhMyGod have you noticed the way he looks at me? It makes me wanna yank them designer jeans off him.”
“Oh here we go again.” She rolled her eyes at her.
“Can you please keep down that phone for a minute and talk to me?”
“What do you wanna talk about Mom?”
“Can’t we just have a Mother-Daughter day out and talk. Jaise pehle karte they.”
“Well I’m sitting here right in front of you. Talk.” She said while typing yet another text.
“Honey I want you to know that you can talk to me about everything. Even about you and umm him.”
“Mom, I told you I don’t want you to poke your nose in my personal life. Please. Why can’t you just respect my privacy for once?”
“Watch your language, young lady.”
“Mom, I’m already not feeling good since… umm since Thursday night. Can you please just drop this topic?”
“Why? Oh Lord! NO!” She said, her eyes full of horror.
“What Mom? Stop this. NOW!”
“You had sex with him?”
“I told you stay out of my business, Mom!”
“Are you? Are you?! Ya Khudaya!”
“Here is your order Ma’am. Enjoy your lunch.”
And then the silence prevailed.
“I want a cookie Mom.”
“You can only have one if you finish your lunch first.”
“Thank you for letting me take you and kids out for lunch today.” He said reaching out to touch her hand.
She flinched and moved her hand out of his reach. “Sara, honey, take your brother with you and order mango shakes for all of us. Please.” She smiled at her daughter.
“I am only doing this for the kids. They don’t deserve an emotional blow at this age. I don’t want them to know about our separation. Not for a while at least.”
“Neither do I. I don’t know what to do. Kitni baar maafi maangun mein? Please come back.”
“The day you will be able to forgive yourself, I’ll forget everything and move back in with you. Till then you can work on earning the forgiveness.”
I think I saw him surrender there and then.
Disclaimer: This is not a work of fiction.