EVANESCENCE

 

He watched as she barged her way in, rushed to the queue, and bumped her knee on a “wet floor” sign. “Are you okay?” he asked, and instinctively held her hand as she took her place on the line. “Yap bud, thank you,” she replied, “just poor eyesight!” She quickly steadied herself and returned furtive glances with droll nonchalance. He got his coffee a few minutes later and settled on his usual spot. When she too received her macchiato, she strode towards him and asked, “Would you mind if I sit here?” He gladly obliged.

A stretch of awkward silence passed. He tried his best to appear uninterested, but he can’t help but glance. He observed that the girl has a beautiful forlorn face. She was staring through the glass wall now. Outside, drizzles started to pour and mushrooming umbrellas suddenly blocked her view. “The sky is about to tear up,” she muttered. Her words roused him back.

He looked at her and saw her watery eyes. Her shoulder sagged; her lips slightly quivered, but gave away the sweetest smile he ever saw. He smiled back and casually asked what she does.She’s a poet, she told him, and apologized that she can’t tell her name. “You don’t need to tell me yours, either,” she wryly added. Befuddled, he just nodded. She smiled again, acknowledging his curious look. “Ah, forgive my nonsense. Let’s talk, but in metaphor!” she exclaimed. “I like that,” he replied. “It’s easier to understand things in a metaphorical sense, isn’t it?” And they both laugh.

As the place began to swell, uncongested, and crowded again, they just sat there and killed time—two strangers in deep chatter about the fooleries in life. Amidst the endless fleeting moments that occurred around them, it seemed like the whole world converged in that single spot. There they were two wounded souls laying their hearts bare without fear.

“Indeed, we can’t know heartache until it comes and the pain lingers on,” she told him. He listened with utmost sincerity. Her every word stabbed his heart. “At some point we have to face life in its unbearably painful façade,” he managed to respond. “We can’t avoid getting hurt. We just have to rise up and live.” She nodded and looked at his eyes. He veered away, and then met her gaze. “I’ve never been as candid as now, but I didn’t realize I would be pouring my heart out to a complete stranger,” she said.

He wanted to say how special he thinks she is, but he held back. A lady staff wiping a table nearby abandoned her chore, approached them, and asked if they needed anything. Their cups had long been emptied and other patrons were gone. They’re being shooed, and they heartily laughed. “Will I see you again?” he asked, hoping that she would say yes. “I don’t know,” she answered. “Let’s let things be.”They halfheartedly parted—both felt they had to stay but just can’t.

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