TIME. Time is a weird thing. Sometimes you are on top of the world, living like a king, happy like a kid on his birthday, EVERYDAY..... and sometimes you are in a position where everything seems wrong with you, everything is falling apart. The thing common with both scenarios is TIME. This story is about “TIME”. It may or may not be true, depends on perspective. If you manage to read it completely and get NOTHING out of it, I apologize. It’s just me, a keyboard and my projection of time. A time when it hurts. This is a story, a piece of fiction. A figment of my imagination. Whether you believe it or not.
It was a night. Nothing different about this night. Nothing that could be termed as ABNORMAL. Normal lingered since earlier that day. Work was normal, so was the coffee break. The sandwiches were stale; that too is normal. The evening was normal; the sun had shied away from the night just at the right, normal, time. The power failure was in time, again the NORMAL thing about today. I had to be somewhere. Not out of obligation, or commitment, but out of sheer WANT. I WANTED to be there. It was her last day in my city. She would fly off to a newer life from tomorrow. I had to see her like I used to, at some expensive restaurant. In the mellow yet compelling light. It would be the last time in both of our lives. After that, we could be dead and it wouldn’t have mattered to either of us.
She declined dinner. Over the last five weeks, she had become quite the GENERAL. Quick to decide and FIRM to follow. Her declining meant nothing else. Still I knew there lies a special place, in the heart of every FEELING human, that if pinched at the right interval, can lead to a desired outcome. My wish was just to see her like old times. Something to hold on to for the coming lone days of my life. It worked, she agreed on coffee, late at night. She would have dinner with her group of rather ritzy and fashionable friends, and later that evening would invite me over for coffee. I was neither ritzy or fashionable, but I knew how to handle that kind. Not digressing from the subject, I reached there.
This local Cafe is THE place to eat, if you are even mildly HIP. People of all ages and groups come here to eat their rather average food, and feel important. They call it a SPORTS cafe, which is rather ironic, since there’s nothing SPORTY in hanging pictures of football clubs and airing matches. I always have disliked this place, not because of the food, not because of their decor, NOT because of the people who come in here, BUT because of the huge amounts of arrogance in the air. At 12:30, I received a text message. "Come to le grand" it said. I was waiting outside, beside her friends car. Somehow I knew they'd be here. With a heavy heart I entered.
There she was. Sitting at the table just under the stairwell. I saw her, but she didn’t see me. She is pretty, and she knows it. This could lead to problems, had I not been subliminally submissive by nature. I strolled towards their table, in a natural gait. After exchange of curt greetings, we all managed to smile at each other. The smile that we all had, was clearly hiding a hatchet at the back. Shrugging off the weird thoughts, I engaged her in mild conversation. Food was ordered since they hadnt eaten, and by virtue of my luck, I got invited to a DINNER. I did not order anything. Just a fresh lime and 7up. Extra lemons. Life had already given me abundant lemons, of which I had failed to make lemonade of, and thus chose to drown my failure with this fresh lime and 7up.
We chit chatted. Her friends got busy with their own discussion, detecting the tension in between me and her. Sensing an open field, I asked her some things. Some personal things. Would she miss me ? Is this your final call? Any regret you hold? Can I still do anything? Questions of such nature, which she shrugged off very nonchalantly. I had felt like a drowning man, running out of air and the thought of the TIME approaching to actually say "goodbye", pulled me under with a stronger force, and an abrupt jerk. I had thought about it, I wanted to get it over with, but I still couldn’t comprehend it. I never wanted it to happen, but it HAD to happen, and I was having trouble coming to peace with it. Tears rolled down her face, leaving a trail of her mascara. She was a girl after all. This couldn’t be any easier on her too, I thought. The next 15 minutes or so were different. We smiled, laughed, held hands, and thought about our wicked times. Again it brought us to a period of silent disbelief. How could we end up here? We thought we had achieved PERFECTION. But still we were here, saying goodbye for life.
The waiter brought the change. Expecting a heavy tip from the ladies. His expectations were justified. The ladies in their casual attire had ordered expensive dishes and ate just portions of it. People who do that can tip heavily. And they did. We got up. Exited the smoke filled yet populous establishment. It was 2 am. She was quick to get in the car. It was in these last seconds, I realized how much I had loved her. Even in these dying moments I couldn’t help but melt at her smile. She was over me, I could tell, but as far as I am concerned, a part of me was still her hero. I could not think of words, or devise a plan that could set things straight just at that VERY moment. I was thinking hard, my mind ticking, should I beg her again? just this once ? No. But she can listen to reason cant she? ......... A silent voice in the back kept saying a firm "no" to all of my thoughts. At last, the time had come......the car started without a flaw. She smiled, albeit having mascara trailing tears rolling down that chin of hers. She smiled and waved at me.
I waved back. I waved back goodbye to everything NORMAL in my world. I waved back, with a heavy heart, tears, and slumped shoulders, to the person I had believed to be an angel. I waved her goodbye for the very last time, forever..... For eternity. It was TIME to leave......