Nothing seemed to be working. All the plans were just falling apart.
I wanted to have a baby but I had hit a medical roadblock.
I wanted to go back to work again but I wasn’t confident enough.
I wanted to have cordial relation with people around but my temperamental behavior had pushed everyone far away from me.
Well, life looked messy and totally out of control.
I felt lonely and wanted to get lost.
I wasn’t thinking.
I started walking. Aimlessly.
In a straight line. In search of an end.
Sometimes when there are too many thoughts on your mind then it becomes a big hazy ball of greyish colours and if you look closely there is actually nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I couldn’t concentrate. Actually it was such a dichotomy, I was thinking yet unable to think anything.
I was sitting on the edge of a rock overlooking a vast lake.
As far as I could see there was nothing but aqua water shimmering under evening haze.
A tap on my shoulders. I didn’t want to respond.
“Excuse Me”, a harder tap and a heavy voice broke my already failing concentration.
I turned and saw a man in his sixties yet a bit younger for his age. Rebook shoes, Addidas t-shirt and black track pant. A mobile phone discreetly looking out of his top left pocket.
“Yes”, I said in my usual irritated and condescending tone.
“Sorry to have bothered you but can I have a cup of coffee with you”, he said with a slight smile.
“Are you insane? Did you see your age? Tharki buddha (stupid old man), I mumbled.”
He stepped back a few steps and sat on the rock parapet, sitting angular to me. He carefully kept his tote bag besides him and took out a thermos. Then he opened the cap of the thermos from which he pressed out two cups. A small, roundish Tupperware bowl was placed next to it. Cookies were mischievously sneaking out from the semi-transparent bowl.
Whether it was out of curiosity at such a forthcoming request made by this old man or the fact that I was too depressed to do anything else, I don’t know but I couldn’t help but look at him.
He gazed at the evening sun and water rippling for a few minutes and then looked at me. Our eyes locked. I was caught seeing him. I felt guilty and to save my honor had to say something, “Kya tamasha bana rakha hai, uff!”
I turned away my eyes.
“I and my girlfriend meet here once every year and enjoy our cup of coffee.” The old man kept talking, looking away from me but in an intentionally loud tone.
I loved her since we were in college but couldn’t marry her. She was married to another man. I was married to another woman. We met here once a year and shared a cup of coffee. She just wanted to be listened to and I just wanted to hear her speaking. It was this few hours in a year that we both looked forward to. This kept us going. We had a platonic relation which was the true anchor of our life.
I don’t know when my body got dragged towards the old man. I was sitting beside him now.
She didn’t come today and I couldn’t gather strength to have coffee alone. I can’t bear to be alone. There were tears filling the corner of his eyes.
“Maybe she is late. She is on her way. Why don’t you wait for some time?” I was genuinely concerned.
She won’t come today. She is breathing her last and will be dead soon.
Exasperated, I had no words.
Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I opened the thermos, poured coffee in the two cups and handed one cup to him. He took the cup of coffee and stared at it, for long. With trembling hands he took one sip.
“I will miss her but I will come here this day every year till I die. This place breathes of her. This is our little heaven”.
I drank coffee. Gave him a hug and walked back to my home.
I was thinking of my hubby and how troubled he might be searching for me. I was thinking of my parents who called everyday even if I shouted at them and banged the phone down saying, “I am busy, I can’t talk”. I was thinking of all the ladies who had written to me in the past saying that my stories motivated them.
I was back home.
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