This post is inspired by V . She is a single parent, juggling many roles and succeeding at each one. Read the original post here . The following is an extension of the previous story but can also be read in isolation. Both are fictional narrations in first person account.
I reached my favourite coffee shop Starbucks, at a little after 3 in the afternoon. V had probably already been waiting for me for more than a few minutes, I thought as I walked hurriedly. We had already been talking everyday for a week – since her break-up. I had seen it coming. I had been able to see through his lies, his avoidance tactics and also his lack of concern for her, lately.
V deserved better, but I wasn’t about to tell her that now. She was hurt and she needed a friend. She needed me.
Just as I entered the shop, I saw him. And then I saw the girl infront of him. She looked arrogant and conceited. He looked like a love-struck puppy. They looked close. I was shocked. How could he be so insensitive and cruel. Didn’t he know this was the coffee shop closest for all of us and that the gang would always hang out here. I hoped V hadn’t seen them. He looked up and saw me. The fleeting expressions of surprise, guilt and anxiety were hard to miss. He recovered in a moment and greeted me warmly. I immediately saw through the pretense. I would have been gracious to him, had he been honest in his interaction and ignored me or just given a cursory greeting and moved on. But a broad smile and a warm, “Long time, how have you been?” Big mistake! He tried to nugde the girl and make a hasty exit, but I was blocking their only escape route. I took a closer look at her, trying to decide whether I would forgive myself for breaking her heart. If she had one, my inner devil responded. She would actually have looked pretty, had she not applied the many layers of make up. Excess foundation, wrong eye shadow, lipstick too red, damaged hair that was curled and colored too many times, I noted. I was still deciding whether I liked her or not, when she rolled her overdone eyes at me and remarked cattily, “How can I go, your friend here is standing there like a wall.” Not, I decided then. This was an opportunity that I wasn’t going to let go off. I smiled sweetly and started chatting. I intentionally complimented the girl on the blue and white scarf round her neck, in an attempt to initiate conversation to grab an opening and get back at him. Upon my complimenting her, the ego-centric attention seeker in her kicked in and she smiled brightly, while showing it of to me. I reached out and felt the material of the scarf. I felt rich, luxurious silk between my fingers. Turned out the ostentatious gift was from him to her, to celebrate their first date. My wicked mind was already working in overdrive.
We all looked over, and saw V sitting there alone, staring at her phone. I felt a pang of pain and sadness. She had her back towards us, so probably had not seen him yet. I was relieved. But I couldn’t get over how insensitive he had been. This was our favourite hangout. Even if V wouldn’t have been here to see them, someone else could have been. “No …um.. uh..I hadn’t expected…. I didn’t know she would be here”, he stuttered. “Sure, you did! It’s Friday and it’s past 3”, I countered. “No, I … I had hoped to leave before you all were here”, he mumbled. So, he had known. I couldn’t let this go. Especially, since these two had been fawning all over each other right under V’s nose, I thought. Suddenly, I realized that even if she hadn’t seen them yet, she could do so now. She could turn around even as we spoke and see them right there. They had to get out of her line of sight and quickly too. But V was already sitting facing the big window. Even if they left without her seeing them, they would walk right past her, especially if they were headed back in the direction of his workplace.
“Look.. I didn’t reply back because she needs to accept the reality!” , he explained without a preamble. What?! I was incredulous. You don’t break up over a message and then refuse to meet or even take calls, I thought angrily. I didn’t say this aloud, because I had to avoid attracting V’s attention.
“Isn’t this the same one that V had gifted to you.” I asked innocuously, while circling around them. He was too stunned to respond. “His ex-girlfriend’s favourite colour is Blue and his is White.”, I explained helpfully. By now, I had blocked V’s line of sight and his date was staring at me open-mouthed. “No, I bought it.. for you”, he pleaded, desperate to assure her. I looked over my shoulder and saw V looking at us dejectedly. She knows, I realized. This just got more interesting.
This was war, I thought angrily . “Oh my God… I am so sorry”, I exclaimed apologetically. I was a closeted actress, I had always proclaimed. Now was the time to prove it. “You know what.. please.. just forget I said anything. Please don’t fight on the walk back to his office” I fretted, holding her hand. I came across as genuinely concerned. She looked at me questioningly. “His office is that way. That’s why I said that.” I explained meekly. She looked ready to explode with fury. He looked stricken. She looks like Medusa, I mused mercilessly.
“I was thoughtless. I just blurt out whatever comes to mind. I am really, so sorry. Look, just stop at that confectionery shop on the left and buy those cinnamon rolls. They are delicious and he loves them with his coffee.”
“How do you know that?”, Medusa hissed.
“Let’s not get into that.”, I looked downcast. I could feel her pointed gaze at me. “V would always buy those for him”, I winced.
She stomped out the door, with him running behind her. Suddenly she turned around, threw the scarf at him and got into a taxi. He was pleading for a chance to explain but was left there talking to himself, as the taxi zoomed off.
He stood there, alone on the curb, holding the brand new silk scarf from YSL.
I turned and walked back to V, who was grinning happily.