It was a regular Saturday evening where I was sitting in my favourite spot at Zen Cafe, just eavesdropping into conversations on the next table, reading, tweeting and writing. This is how I unwind after a long working week. Some time by myself, a nice cup of coffee and a peek into the life of complete strangers.
We all are regulars here. We all have our favourite spots. Occasionally, we acknowledge each other’s presence by a quiet nod here and there, but eventually we like to leave each other alone. We don’t even know each other’s names.
“Are you at Zen?”, messaged Shreya.
“Where else?” I replied.
“Wait, I’ll come see you there,”
Friends know your whereabouts which could be a good and a bad thing, depending on your level of introversion. Shreya walked in 10 minutes later. She has had a bad day at work and needed to vent.
“Come, let’s go, I’ll drop you home,” Shreya said. She picked up her keys and left while I went to the counter to pay for my coffee.
As I turned around, I missed a step and lost my balance.
The dragon tattoo dude, who likes to sit across from where I usually sit, was passing by me at the exact same time. In an scene straight out of a Hindi movie, he held my hand and stopped me from falling down. I stumbled a little more, he tightened his grip around my hand while I held on to his shoulders for some support.
I was so close to him that I could smell his aftershave and feel his breath on me. I looked up, and for a few moments our eyes met.
Suddenly he released his grip and looked away. He went back to his table, picked up his stuff and walked out of the cafe, without even looking back. I didn’t even get a chance to thank him for saving me from falling down.
Shreya being Shreya decided she had a few errands to run before she could drop me home. All my protests fell on deaf ears and I reached home a little before midnight.
I needed my Saturday evening back.
My parents had already slept off and the house was unusually quiet.
I reached my room and I thought my mind was playing games. I could smell the dragon tattoo guy’s aftershave. Of course, my mind is playing games, I thought. Maybe next time I see him there, I will reach out to him and talk. Making a new friend may not be that bad an idea, you know.
I went to brush my teeth before I retire for the night.
As I walked out of the bathroom, the smell was still lingering. It’s all in my head, I dismiss it.
I switched on the Kindle and lied down to read a little before I retire for the day. Suddenly I felt something on the pillow. A piece of paper. I switched on the light.
“I want to be around every time you stumble.” said the note.