Short Story: One By Two

Some things you do unconsciously, your subconscious just makes you do them. Like a marionette, I walk towards the hair peeking from a nearby booth. I am greeted by the familiar smell of your laundry detergent. 

“Dhruv?” I say with a broken voice.

You look up from the chai you are drinking and smile.

“Ansh!” You get up to hug me, I melt away in your hug like I always do. It doesn’t matter what we mean to each other in that moment, it doesn’t matter that you left me heartbroken, none of that matters. In your hug, I will always melt. 

“Come sit, how are you?”

“I am yeah…I am good” I say thinking of how my head was immersed in a bathtub for a little too long  just hours ago. 

 “That’s good. I moved back a week ago. Finally done with my masters.” You look proud, you seem happy. 

I wonder if you remembers that we had our first date just inches away from where we are sitting. If places could recite stories, these age old chairs would have so many love stories that never ended in forevers hidden under their seats.

“Ansh? You okay?” you say making me realize that I may have missed a question from you. 

“Yeah Yeah sorry…what were you saying?”

You furrow your eyebrows together with your lips slightly parting. You used to do that when we fought, you were always so confused with fights. You told me once that you never knew what to do with your fingers so you would keep fidgeting. I notice the camera beside your phone and my lips curve up in a smile. 

“Are you okay?”

I nod and look away to the chandeliers hung on the ceiling. They look so fancy. You wanted to get married in a place adorned with chandeliers.  

“And what’s going on with you?” 

“I am good, just really swarmed with work. But yeah I am good.” You look deep in my eyes, I immediately feel exposed. I look away to the people outside the tinted window shuffling away to work. The bell on the entrance door rings from time to time as someone walks in.

Maybe if we met on a different afternoon at some other Irani cafe a few hundred miles away, maybe then we could have made it work.

I look at you, you look so perfect. You always look perfect, like the painter who painted you picked out every single hue of yours with such extreme care.

You are so close to me, I could reach out and touch your cheek. I could hold you in my arms and never let you go. We could give it another try. This time it would be different, I wouldn’t let the darkness swallowing me swallow you.

I get up from my seat and decide that it is time to leave. 

“Um.. I have to go now. It was nice seeing you. I guess I will see you around.” 

“Yeah, yeah sure, that sounds good. I will give you a call.” You look disappointed, you wanted me to stay for a little while longer.

I nod and walk out of the tiny Irani cafe, not telling you that I have changed my number and now live on the other side of the city. 

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An emotional shipwreck trying to make sense of the world around. She has one foot firmly placed inside the closet and the other is dangling mid-air. She believes in equality and supports her cat in all his endeavours.

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