She was sitting alone in the cafe, looking out of the window. Life moved on speedily outside. The only thought that was running on her mind at that moment was, “This isn’t real!” She was early for her appointment as usual, by now she knew that it was in her blood. But this time, it was not her blood that was at fault, rather it was her bloodline. Her parents, especially her mom. She had made at least five calls from the morning only to dictate her what she should be wearing for this special day; and at the end of every call, she came up with the same monotonous line, “Do not be late, what will he think!”
She was nervous about this meeting, but no one paid heed to that. She did not want to do this alone, but she had no other option. She was away from home, managing her job. Had she not been so focused on her career, she would have been at home now, probably meeting the fifth or sixth prospective groom for herself. Or better still, she might have been married by now. At least, that’s what their neighbors had made her mom believe.
“Excuse me! Are you Misha?” She heard a voice and it broke her chain of thoughts. She looked up and then stood up smiling. (As instructed by her mom, “Do smile when you meet him”). There was a voice inside her head asking her, “Hug or Handshake?” Finally, she zeroed down on a handshake as the man facing her had already extended his hand. Both the hands were ice cold.
“Hi, I am sameer.”
“Oh! Obviously you would. Please sit down. Am I late? Have you been waiting for a while ? Um…sorry about that, there was so much traffic…”
She looked at him wide-eyed, and he stopped talking momentarily. He lowered his vision to the table instead and confessed, “This is awkward. I am so nervous!”
“So am I!” He looked back at her and they had their first laughter together.
He started introducing himself again, this time in detail, and this time, the conversation did not seem forced. She smiled, and he laughed. The waiter came to them for orders. And it made them realize that they both loved the same drink, and opted for the same side dishes.
“What are your expectations from your wife?” She finally asked the question she always wanted to. In a corner of her heart, she ardently wished that he gives a good answer, and does not ruin what little they had built up in the course of the evening.
“The same qualities that you would want from your husband; love, stability, and security…” he looked into her eyes. For one moment, she thought that he would end up saying, registered in her mind, her heart skipped a beat and a smile rolled up on her face. She looked into his eyes and wanted to whisper under her breath “Yesss!” But what came out, was a loud and spontaneous “Yesss!” which sounded more like a reply than a quiet whisper. She had a sense of victory in her voice. They continued their conversation, oblivious to time. They discussed their future plans, their family, friend and past heart breaks. The waiter came up with the bill and they both turned to look at it.
They exchanged glances, and as she was about to speak, he read her mind. He placed his hand on the bill, “Shall I pay this one?”
“No, it is only fair if we split the bill. I would never want you to take care of all my bills. Let’s do it together.” “OKay let’s share!”
She laughed, “Sure, that’s how our future should be.” He laughed back in agreement.
“Shall we leave?” he enquired once the payment was made.
“You carry on, I will sit here for a while longer.”
She got up from her seat and extended her hand. No more ice cold nervousness, it was a warm hand shake this time. She smiled as he whispered, “Will meet you soon, Misha.”
She was sitting alone in the cafe again and looking out of the window. And as she was waving back at him, the only thought that ran on her mind at that moment, was, “This is it!”