For centuries, men have always been the ones to take the first step and advance a relationship. They have been at the driving seat and still are, but sometimes it is satisfying just to take a step back and analyse the situation, without being emotionally involved in it at all. Most people have the tendency to rush into the first waiting arms they encounter, and thereby, with their high enthusiasm, dispel any hopes of a possibility of interaction and relationship. If nothing else, crowding your object of desire creates a sense of insecurity, which becomes immediately unmistakable. That is why I have given her some time and space – so as not to appear needy and wanting and leave adequate room for imagination.
Then I visited her, as the day was coming to an end. She was, as i always expect, at her usual place when I spotted her from afar. The closer I got to her, the more appealing she became and the more she glowed. Her back was turned to me, as she held a paper cup in her hand, talking to a colleague. I could her her laughter as she chatted away. Her colleague spotted me, looked at me for a few seconds and at once whispered something inaudible to Sacdiya’s ear prompting her to turn around.
“Hey, Shaafi, how are you?” she said in a rather lively manner.
“I am fine. How are you?” I replied in a calm tone, “How’s your day going?”
“It’s alright, not bad.” She said with a beautiful smile and look to accompany it.
“I see,” I said, observing her. Her eyes this time. They had something repressed, an inexpressible attachment or possibly anticipation.
“I’d like to taste them all,” I said, pointing to the Ben & Jerry’s ice creams displayed appetizingly in the glass container.
“Which one would you like to taste?” she asked
“I’ll have all of them”
she looked at me with her eyes wide. “All of them?” she questioned
“Yes,” my eyes fixed on her
“Are you sure?”
“yeah, why not?”
She smiled, just widening her lips without parting them completely, her eyes cheerful.
“How about I have a taste of your favourite one?” I said
She looked up. She wasn’t expecting it. I caught her off guard. I wanted to get to know her better, without asking her. Her likes, her dislikes, etc, and perhaps by talking to her more, I would even bring out her lurking doubts and anxieties. There lies within everyone, somehow or the other, a feeling of inadequacy that they repress by wearing a mask. What perturbed her, I wondered!
“I don’t really have a favourite one. They are all the same,” she replied, wriggling her thumbs and running her eyes quickly over the ice creams tubs.
She looked up at me once again, picked up a tiny tasting spoon and looked around. I followed her eyes, as they carefully went over each tub of ice cream on the display counter, carefully analysing each. There were sixteen tubs in all. She went from one to the other, as if tasting them each with her eyes and determining their texture on the palate, denouncing one then moving on to the other. She stretched her extended hand to a tub of Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and then retreated. Perhaps, I thought, she remembered what I told her on our first encounter – that I don’t particularly like chocolate.
“Taste this,” she finally said, holding a spoon of Cherry Garcia in front of me.
“hmmm..not bad at all,” I said, after recovering from the onslaught of the freezing dollop.
I lied. I didn’t like it. Cherry Garcia isn’t one of my favourite B&J’s ice cream, but The Vermonster wasn’t in stock, so I had to settle for something like this. It was rather bitter and too fruity, but I had to carefully conceal my distaste as her eyes cautiously scrutinized my face for a reaction. She picked, after some deliberation, her favourite ice cream and I didn’t want to let her down.
“What film are you watching today?” she said, after a while
I looked at her, studying her facial features, her lips, her eyes, the few strands of hair that managed to force their way through her black scarf, as if hunting for some fresh air, despite her constantly pushing them back to their territory.
“You” I said. God, how cheesy did that sound, I thought, but it was too late to take it back so I went ahead with it. I was on my way to North Greenwich station to meet some friends, but as they were late I though, I’d stop by the cinema and recapture some magnificence from her sight. Of course, I came to see her, and I knew she wouldn’t believe that I did, solely, come to see her. A clear case of “runtaa sheeg, beenta hala moodee” (utter the truth, so it may come across as falsehood) The cinema, anyway, was only about 3 minutes from the station.
She smiled at me, displaying the set of brilliant white teeth and looked down at the ice cream tubs below, still smiling. Her hand inadvertently rubbed the silver edges of the ice cream container, and then she stared at me.
“No, come on. Really, what are you watching”?
“I’m not watching any film”
Her eyes still stared at me, this time with an inquisitive look.
“I came to see you. You know – to see how you’re doing”
“Came to see me?” she said, half surprised and incredulous, half smiling, with a coy look in her eyes. I thought I saw a glint in her eyes as she said that.
“Yeah, I came to say hello. It has been a while since I last saw you, hasn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess”
Her stare lowered, but still the smile was plastered across her face as if it was a permanent feature of her face.
“Why? Can I not even come to see you and say hello now,” I said light-heartedly
“No, no, no. Of course you can,” she replied quickly, baring her teeth with a smile again
“But how did you know I was working today?” she asked intrigued
At that precise moment one customer approached, as if it was timed. A good timing indeed, and time for me to depart. How did the customer know I wanted him to interrupt me at that very precise occasion.
“I’ll see you another time,” I said and slightly moved back to make way for the customer and depart.
She half-extended her hand, as if stopping me or intending to shake my hand, and half-mumbled something unintelligible. I stood lingering, but with a detached mood, intending to emphasize the conclusion of the conversation. Her eyes shot at me. She was hesitant about something – she still wanted to talk and finish the conversation. Perhaps, my last comment had appealed to her. The customer stood staring at us both, waiting for her to finish. I smiled at her, and she reciprocated it with one alluring one and we parted – unwillingly. This should be an enduring spell that she can either reflect upon or keep her vaguely intrigued for some time.
Untill, next time…