It rained heavily that year in Austin. The showers were accompanied by occasional thunderstorms. I had been lazyy and was yet to get a car. I had found an apartment on rent just across the corner sand used to walk my way to office. On weekends, I took a bus or cab to get around. But as the rains set in, I realized I had to get a car soon; more so, in readiness with the winter, when it would start to snow.
On one such day, around noon time, the sky almost opend up the flood gates. The rumblings of the cloud and the sound of rain made it impossible to concentrate on work any further. I stood up and looked through the glass wall facing my desk. It was raining so hard that the woods were barely visible outside. The grey sky was torn apart by lighting at regular intervals and thunderclaps were roaring hard.
Katy came beside me quietly and stared outside. The smell of her perfume lingered through the air. I tried not to look at her. Of late, it had been hard to hide that I was smitten by her. We worked so close, sat side-by-side, and spent the most of the day together. More than often, there were moments when our eyes met, or she casually smiled at me. And in those prized moments, I was conscious not to give myself in.
Our interactions, all friendly as a colleague, she was always very professional. She avoided small talk with anyone and never discussed her personal life. It suited me, because I loved this curtain of privacy between us. It helped me conceal my true feelings for her. I did not want her to know I fancied her, just not yet. And I did not have the courage to profess my feelings to her. I wanted to go slow; I feared losing what I already had. Today was different, however. She was not her usual lively self, and seemed lost in her thoughts.
“It was raining exactly like this, the day I lost my mother.” She spoke suddenly. I was a bit taken aback and turned to look at her.
“It happened last year. She was the only thing I ever had. It broke me. I…I try not to remember her too often…try to loose myself completely in work. But you know, sometimes it so happens that I…I just can’t.”
She stopped abruptly, looking embarrassed. ” I am sorry!”
“No, no, it’s okay, it’s perfectly fine. ” I held her hand.
“At least, you’ve someone you can remember. You can cry for her when you remember her. She must’ve been a great woman. Must’ve loved you a lot.”
Her hands tightened around my palm, “Yes, she was. She Her hands tightened around my palm, “Yes, she was. She made me what I am today. It’s just…it’s hard to forget her sometimes. I close my eyes and see her on some days. And especially on days like this.”
It was getting gloomier outside. I looked at the rain again and sighed. “You’re blessed Katy, at least you know what a mother’s love feels like. Some of us are not so fortunate.”
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Katy’s eyes were full of questions as she looked into my eyes. I tried to force a sad smile but could not, “I grew up in an orphanage. Never knew who my parents were. Never had someone to call my own. Never….never had I ever known what being loved feels like. I’ve always felt like an unwanted scum whom his own had abandoned.”
We both had tears in our eyes when I finished. The rains had atopped outside, though. Katy looked out at the parking lot and wiped her tears. “Let’s go out and grab some lunch, Pat. I am hungry!”
She drove me to a locial joint called Rudy’s. They made some great Buffalo Wings and Steaks. We Had a hearty conversation over lunch. We spoke about a lot of things, childhood, growing up, college days, and friends. Katy opened up to me and from that day onwards, we started having lunch together every day. We had a lot in common, and soon, we were good friends. Sometimes, we packed lunch from home and had it in the office pantry. But on most days, we went out for lunch. Katy showed me around much of north Austin in those short lunch rendezvous. We tried a lot of places, from Chipotle, to Olive Garden, to PF Chang’s and even The Cheesecake Factory. Yes, we both were foodies! On Friday evenings, we did our weekend grocery together from a local HEB outlet. We were getting close Quite fast. And though there were no direct exchanges, I could feel her admiration through her eyes.