“You’re a methodological person, aren’t you?” I said, looking at her carefully shut her umbrella and arrange each canopy back into its place before wrapping it with a plastic and placing it into her little purse, which perhaps could only fit in an umbrella apart from other stuffs she carried.
“There’s only so little things we can keep in order in our lives, so why not?” she cross questioned with that undying mystery in her eyes.
The place smelled of expresso, some strong coffee beans. The sight of coffee could drive me mad. It was raining heavily when we stepped into the café. We had stumbled onto each other, the roads were clogged and the traffic was getting worse by the moment.
“Coffee?” I asked gesturing towards the empty table and regretted after I having said it. I had never really been acquainted well with her, despite being in the same school studying the same major.
“I don’t like coffee,” she said with hesitation. I wondered how could somebody not like coffee, how I cherish the smell and the taste that ran down my throat after every sip. There would always be a cup besides my laptop when I worked late, which was almost every day.
“But I could try today,” she added.
We sat down on the first empty table. The place had become crowded, perhaps because of the rain with people looking for roofs over their heads and a coffee break.
I ordered an expresso for myself, while she ordered a plain milk coffee.
“Sugar,” I said raising a spoon full.
“Sure,” she said as anticipated. She added four more spoons to her milk coffee. I had concluded by now that it must have been the bitter taste of the drink that she didn’t like.
“I particularly like your blog posts,” she said breaking the silence. I was a bit surprised. She wasn’t very well acquainted with me either. Only a few common friends, which would never lead her to my website.
“Don’t worry I wasn’t stalking, I just happened to stumble on your blog through your facebook,” she added.
“And I admire your pieces,” I said trying to be modest. She did write a few pieces that were magnificent.
The air was filled with awkwardness. I didn’t know her, but couldn’t ignore either because I did know her in some manner.
“I particularly admire how you write about our major,” she said and sipped the coffee leaving stains of her lipstick on the cup. “I am in some manner jealous of you.”
We were both students of engineering, but never shared the same common place of existence before today. I had written a few pieces about engineering. I supposed she was talking about them. I hadn’t imagined someone noting my website, not her least. The web was a funny place, where people who had no idea who you were could talk about your pieces of work without ever really knowing you. But she was on the web too. But I didn’t talk about her pieces of work that I liked. Somehow it didn’t cross my mind.
“Well, they’re nothing too special,” I said referring to the posts. There could not be many things better that having your piece of work admired.
Siya doesn’t have a face that gets imprinted on your minds the first time you see her. I don’t really remember seeing her in school. After a full three years in school, the very first time we were formally introduced was through a common club last semester.
And suddenly today there we were talking about blogs.
“So, you’ll be graduating next year?” she asked with a tint in her eye. She was younger than me. And on this particular day I didn’t want to talk about graduation, the fear of facing the future.
“Yeah,” I said unwilling to disclose anything else. I felt a wave of disappointment sweep her eye; she perhaps expected me to continue the conversation with some interesting detail. But I didn’t.
“What about you?” I said rather awkwardly.
“Oh well let’s see,” she said. The usual answers yet to be college graduates often give.
She stared beyond the glass of the café which was now covered in some kind of fog due to heat and rain.
I got up to pay the bills. I walked up to the counter and opened my almost empty wallet.
“Aditya, let’s split,” she said walking up to the counter. She had sneaked behind me without my notice.
“It’s alright,” I said but secretly wanting to split with my wallet screaming on my face.
“It’s alright,” she said echoing my words and took out a 200 rupee note.
The rain had subsided. The traffic was getting better. The hiding sun was back again, rising the temperature of the already hot summer monsoon. She took out her umbrella, the one she had folded earlier and placed so elegantly.
“Sometimes there’s no use being methodological when it’s going to be destroyed in the end,” I said referring to her effort in arranging her umbrella.
“A little method doesn’t hurt, it keeps you safe from troubles,” she said. Her voice still echoed in my head. “I eliminate the chance of forgetting my umbrella,” she smiled.
We said our goodbyes. I had been quite a boring company, coming second only perhaps to the rain and the traffic. As she left, I felt a fang in my heart. I could have told the stories I wanted to tell someone who shared equal passion for literature, but I didn’t. We could have talked about music. She was quite good at singing. But we didn’t. I could have asked her about my blog, her blog, but I didn’t. She might have been a completely different person after all, and perhaps I will never know.
(Image from edieharris.com)