Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The One (Part 2)

A New Morning

I woke up, all groggy headed. Weddings normally do that to me, I thought. I turned to the person sleeping next to me. I wouldn’t normally let anyone sleep in with me, but I’d made an exception this time.
“Good morning” I said, sleepily, stifling a yawn.
“Good morning” he replied.
“Did you sleep well?” he asked.
“Yeah. I did. Would you like some coffee?” I asked.
“Sure” he mumbled. His back was still facing me. He had shoved his head under the pillow.
I dragged myself out of bed and headed to the kitchen. I got down to making some coffee, and hunted everywhere for something to tie up my hair with. I hated my hair on my face while I was in the kitchen.
“Good morning” he said, once again, as he came and held me from behind.
“Sugar?” I asked him, as I moved towards the shelf to fetch out the container with the sugar in it.
“Two spoons, please!” he replied, walking towards the couch.
“Here” I said, placing the cup in his hand, while I sat down opposite him.
“Do you know you look pretty even without makeup on?” he said, as he got up and came and sat next to me. I smiled and looked at him. I should have blushed at a statement like this one, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.
“Thanks for letting me stay the night” he said, as he continued looking me in the eyes.
“Don’t mention it” I told him.
“What’s the matter, Lisa?” he asked me.
I looked up at him. “Nothing!” I replied, nonchalantly.
“Is something up? Do you like have a boyfriend or something?” he asked, all concerned.
“What would make you ask me that?” I shot him a questioning look.
“Well, for starters, I had to beg you to dance with me. I know you would have never asked me to stay back at yours’ had it not been for my flat tire. Plus, it’s not like I looked at any other woman at the wedding. It was obvious I had my eyes on you. I didn’t even make a move on you last night, in spite of sleeping in the same bed. What’s wrong with you? Why are you so cold towards me?” he asked.
“Alston, I have always been like this. Why do you think I’m still single?” I asked him.
He smiled. “Well, I thought you were single because you’d been waiting for the right one” he said, while pointing his thumbs towards himself.
I smiled, and playfully hit him on the hand.
“Oh damn, I didn’t realize the coffee was in your hand” I said, when I looked down at the shorts. They were covered with the coffee that spilled over thanks to my playful hitting.
“Well, technically, they are your shorts. So I don’t care!” he said.
“Bitch” I yelled, as I got up to fetch some tissue. “But I must admit, you look good in my clothes” I yelled from the kitchen.
I gasped when I turned around to run into the living room; because he had sneaked up on me in the kitchen. He was standing right in front of me, his face as close to mine as it could be.
“Lisa, I really think there’s some potential here. What do you think?” he asked.
“C’mon Alston” I choked, “You’ve hardly known me for 24 hours” I said, trying to move away from him, and succeeding. “Plus, you’ll be back in Nottingham before I say ‘Yugoslavia’.”
“Why Yugoslavia?” he asked, perplexed.
“Focus, Alston, focus!” I said, hand on hips.
“You’re right” he said, head hanging low. “But if you do change your mind about the UK, and decide to head there some time, promise me you’ll call me!”
“I promise you I will call you” I said, as I gave him one of my world-famous teddy bear hugs. People often told me that my hugs cheered them up. That was the last time I saw Alston.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

“Ae kutti” Andrea yelled into the phone.
“Haan bol na, Kameeni” I replied. I loved talking to her. It always brightened my mood. Two years into her marriage and she was still the same person.
“I have some news for you”, she said, all excited.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
“Josh and I are flying down to Goa next month.”
“That’s great. Second honeymoon?” I asked.
“Nope! You’re coming with us too!” she said.
“Is that so?” I asked.
“Yup! And do you know why we’re going?” she asked.
“How would I know?” I replied.
“It’s your 29th birthday, you fool!” she said, all excited.
‘Damn! I’m old!’
“Wow, 29, eh? I sure am growing old” I said.
“Let’s do this. Please don’t say no!” she pleaded.
“Okay, okay!” I agreed. “Who else is involved in the plan?”
“We could call Prateeksha, if you’d like. She and Saurabh would be more than happy to come along. It’s your birthday, after all!” she said, referring to Prateeksha, my school friend and her husband Saurabh.
“Wow, do you want to call any more married couples and remind me of how single I am?” I asked.
“Well, I knew you would say this; and I was almost hoping you would. So then there’s alternative number 2” she said, the excitement evident in her voice.
“And what’s alternative number 2?” I asked.
“An all girls trip” Andrea squealed.
“I wish you could see my raised eyebrow right now” I told her over the phone.
“Prateeksha, Priya, Candice and Karen have already agreed” she said.
“So the whole couples’ thing was never on your mind, was it?” I asked her.
“Nah!” she replied.
“Let’s do this” I replied, enthusiastic.
I was turning 29. I was in a job that I loved, an apartment that was the envy of most women my age, and a lovely set of friends. But I was still single. However, the last time I’d been reminded of my singledom was perhaps about 2 years back, when I had gone to Andrea’s wedding date-less. I’d taken up a new job post the wedding; and work hadn’t left me any time to worry ever since then.
I turned around to stare at my laptop once again. The minimized window was a blinking orange. He’d sent a reply. Did I want to see his reply? I wasn’t sure. I just shut down the laptop without seeing what he’d said, and ran in for a shower. I was late for my lunch date.


Friday, January 21, 2011

The One - (Part 1)

The Cigarettes Were To Blame

I walked out of the hall; my clutch in hand. I couldn’t take it anymore. The music was getting to me. I walked up to the terrace; and looked around. I was alone. I opened my clutch, and removed the cigarette packet I’d managed to stuff inside at the last minute.
“Thank God for small mercies”, I heard a voice behind me say. I turned around. It was Alston. He was the best man, and I’d had the traditional dance with him, given the fact I was the maid of honor; but other than that, I didn’t know him at all. I flashed him a courteous smile, and said “You couldn’t be more right.”
“Can I rob you of one?” he asked, gesturing at the packet.
“Sure”, I said, as I offered him the lighter as well. He took the lighter and lit my cigarette first.
“So, Lisa, what do you do?” he asked, as he flicked his cigarette. “Well, I am in between jobs right now”, I replied, hoping to end this small talk as soon as possible. I’d come up to the terrace because I wanted to be alone. Plus, I wanted to finish the cigarette before any more audience joined us. I also knew that Andrea would want me back soon. I was her maid of honor, and it was my duty to be with her at all times. Thankfully Andrea knew that without a smoke break I wouldn’t have been able to function; and so she’d let me slip away when she was busy with Joshua.
“Well, and what were you doing before this?” he asked.
“I was copy editing for a company that is into educational books”, I replied, hardly interested in the conversation.
“That’s nice” he replied, an earnest smile on his face.
That was when I realized that I was being a complete bitch. Here was this cute guy being nice to me, and he was Joshua’s best friend; and Andrea was mine. The least I could do was have a real conversation with him.
“So Joshua, I hear you’re in Nottingham now!” I said.
“Oh yeah, which I wasn’t here to witness the whole Andy-Josh affair unfold” he said, while looking at me.
“Oh no no no!” I said, shooting him a worried look. “Don’t ever let her catch you calling her that. She hates being called ‘Andy’”
“Oh, is it?”
“Yeah, Andu is better; and even ‘Andre’ works, but definitely no Andy. She hates it” I said, with a serious tone.
“Noted, madame” he said, playfully. His smile was sort of cute.
“Shall we?” he said, as he gestured for me to take his hand.
“Alright”, I replied, while stubbing out the cigarette with my expensive pair of heels.
“That’s a lovely toe ring you have on” he replied.
He sure is observant’ I thought to myself, as I looked down at my orange toe ring and smiled. “Thanks” I said.
As we walked down the flight of stairs, he held onto my hand. I didn’t mind it though, because he didn’t have the grip that screamed ‘pervert’. It was a nice, firm grip; and it was helping, given the fact that I didn’t expect to be climbing up and down stairs in these new heels.
We entered the hall; and I shot a look at Andrea, and she smiled back. I excused myself and walked towards her. She looked resplendent.
“Congratulations, you!” I said, as I hugged her.
“Thank you, my love. By the way, I am going to throw the bouquet in your direction”, she winked at me.
“Puhleez!!! Spare me the trouble. Give it to someone else. Weddings are a headache” I joked.
“So, I see you and the best man have been bonding” she said, as she leaned in to smell me “Over a smoke, I suppose!”
“You know me all too well” I responded. “Yes, we’ve been talking and the talking was accompanied by the smoking; but no, no serious bonding or anything. You know me, don’t you, woman?”
“There you are” he said, as he walked up to me.
“The groom” I said, as I mockingly bowed down to him.
“You look stunning” he said, as he bent over and planted a kiss on my cheek”.
“You don’t look half as bad yourself, Josh” I replied, as I lightly punched him in the stomach. ‘He’s perfect for Andrea’ I thought to myself.
“You’ll get yourself one soon enough” Andrea whispered, almost like she’d heard my thoughts out loud. How did she always know what it was that I was thinking?
“May I have the pleasure of this dance with you?” I heard a voice behind me. It was Alston; he was back.
“Sure” I said, placing my hand in his. “Here, can you hold this for me, Priya” I motioned for one of the bridesmaids who took the clutch from my hand. I walked to the dance floor with Alston.
I may have not paid heed the first time I danced with him, but he sure could dance pretty well. The song playing was ‘Karma Chameleon’. The pace was good. He began doing the ‘East Coast Swing’ (or as the laymen called it ‘Jive’). I burst into an ear to ear smile. I loved dancing, it always made me smile.
Alston was cute, and he could dance. He was making me smile; but I still wasn’t attracted to him.
‘What’s wrong with you, Lisa?’ I thought to myself.
He, however, seemed to be doling out all his attention on me. He’d not asked any other girl to dance with him. ‘Enjoy the attention for now’ I said to myself, as we danced on.
I looked at Andrea; while I continued dancing. “In your direction” she said, as she gestured towards the bouquet, and she winked at me.