“Hey, no problem! It’s nice to catch up. What’s it been, like, nine years since we last met?” her old classmate responded.
Bringing her cup of cappuccino to her lips, she nodded, almost absentmindedly. Yes, it must have nine years. Yes, she did appreciate RK showing her the sights and sounds of Bengaluru. But she couldn’t think of a single thing to say!
As she sipped, she thought about how much she hated cappuccino. Damn! I should have ordered the green apple soda, like I used to, but it’s been so long since I entered a Café Coffee Day! I should probably talk about that.
No, that’s a terrible conversation opener!
Oh well, better keep quiet and sip your coffee.
“Are you okay?” he gave her a quizzical look
“Nothing, you were making faces. Playing with your eyebrows and all.”
Oops, she was thinking with her face again! Embarrassed, she told him she was fine.
It was then that she saw him. Outside, on the street, walking briskly. Approaching. Walking right into the CCD.
She spat out her coffee, and spilt quite a bit on her jeans. RK ran to her aid with some tissues.
By then, the man she had seen on the street approached their table, slapped RK’s back and said, “Hey, man! What’s up? Is she okay?”
Before RK could respond, she exclaimed, her eyes wide with shock, “You!”
He shrugged in his oh-I-own-this-world manner that she remembered so well and said, “Yeah, me.”
RK looked from one to the other and asked, “Do you guys know each other?”
“We used to. A few years ago. How do you two know each other?” she asked.
“He’s my roommate. Small world, huh!” he said, “Hey, will you guys excuse me for a minute.”
As soon as RK was out of earshot, he gave her his Cheshire smile and drawled, “So… What’s new?”
She smirked and responded, “Came looking for you, I guess!”
“Then why were you so surprised to see me?”
“Cos I didn’t expect to find you so quickly.”
“You didn’t. But I knew you were searching. I heard your voice all the time, in my head, calling out to me, seeking. I heard everything you said. I wished you could hear my thoughts too, but I was lost for too long. I wandered around the wrong places, wondering where I was. Looking for deliverance, I guess”
“Did you ever see your mother after… you know…?”
“No,” he said simply.
“I did. I was there for both. I shouldn’t have. It was terrible seeing our families like that. Sobbing, screaming, and then the silence. I shouldn’t have seen all that.”
“You attended both our funerals?”
“Yes, I did,” she said, tears collecting in her dead eyes.