“May I please interrupt your alone time and buy you a drink?”
There is nothing in the world that would persuade her to say no. He’s not a very tall bloke, but he’s handsome. At first glance, you can tell that he’s successful and gentlemanly, and when you get to know him more, you’ll only learn great things about him.
“That’s precisely why I came here alone,” She chimes with a smile she knows he’ll love. “An americano” she adds, as he calls the barista. Of course, Joe already has their drinks ready. He knows the drill.
The conversation between them flows quite naturally. He says how easy it is to talk to her and she accepts this compliment she’s heard several times before, nodding in agreement. His warm brown eyes have always been inviting, so it’s easy to build a rapport with him. They say a lot, his eyes. They always dance along her body, though never in an uncomfortable way. They find repose in the corners of her mouth when she laughs, at the bridge of her scrunched nose when she’s shy, and then suddenly it exerts a slight strain when they fall on the necklace she’s wearing.
It’s a pleasing little silver string, delicate and thin, but befitting her neck. Instead of a pendant, the necklace is threaded into a vintage engagement ring, with a handsomely glossy emerald stone.
She senses his concern. She’s practiced several answers before.
“I am yet to get it resized” sounds like a blatant lie.
“My ex-husband… ” although true, is enough to drive a potential flame away even before she completes the sentence.
So she has settled with “It’s my grandmother’s.” This works well because he replies with a touch of zeal, “My grandma had something similar too!”
“Just a trend of the time I guess.” He laughs it off, but she knows she has just lied.
And she has been lying all this while. She’s seen him before. At this very cafe. She’s even spoken to him. In fact, she has spent a great part of her life knowing him. Loving him. She knows the waltz of his eyes, so she offers them a dance floor through her grey dress. She knows the sound of his voice, how much like music it is to her. She’s heard him crack jokes, cuss, and even pray, but she’s yet to hear what she yearns to.
She finds a way to get him to talk about his accident. A story she knows all too well. The car, the phone call, the drunk mailman in a truck. The very reason she’s here now. The reason that made him forget her in the first place. The reason she’s a stranger.
It’s been two months and she’s met him almost every day. He doesn’t remember her. Yet, she tries. Dress donned, ring at her throat, and hope in her heart, eager to hear “I remember you.”
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