I stopped and turned.
It couldn’t be…I said to myself…It just couldn’t be… her.
While I was standing there, contemplating which of the two results – me going and speaking with her or me ignoring her after having seen her – would be more disastrous, I saw her walking towards me. So the decision was made. The next step was to think about things we had in common so that I could start up a chat and, if lucky enough,sustain it… And it was then that I rememberd our first conversation…
Everyone in the school had the hots for her. I was merely a number in a long line of aspirants for her courtesy… That was when it has happened. As I was coming out of the maths class contemplating on an integral problem, that I thought the professor got all wrong, I saw her standing in front of me.Actually I noticed it seconds before we collided. The collision being averted only because she screamed…. “HI!!!”
Puzzled I looked first straight into her eyes, and then behind me and then started to walk on, afraid I would reveal my weakness if I stood there any longer. She immediately turned and said…”Hey, That’s no way to treat a woman! Where your courtesy?”
I stopped dead in my tracks.
“That’s no way a woman, who expects to be treated well, must behave. Don’t you think so?”
I cursed myself. She smiled. Good, so she hadn’t taken offence. I’d have to be more careful next time. And we stood just like that. There was a moment of awkward silence between us. She chose to break it before I could venture to do the same.
“So, aren’t you gonna ask me out for coffee or something?”
“Is it a part of the bargain?”
“If you meant the privilege of speaking to me, I’d say yes to that!” and she laughed. It was a carefree laugh. So we want to play the intellectual tug-o-war, do we? Well I am game…
“No,what I actually meant was the privilege of getting totalktome. I don’t talk to strangers. Especially not to ones, who think they are a privilege. Thank you and have a nice day.” I started to move toward the cafeteria,where I had to solve other (less) important problems over a cup of coffee…I managed to sneak a glance at the goddess, She was…well…dumb-struck…
I sat poring over the integral-snakes that my professor had assigned me. It couln’t be. I could not go wrong with the problem. The solutions had to match. Either the printed solutions were wrong or… NO it had to be the printed solutions.
“It’s the third step in your problem.Change the minus to a plus. The rest of it looks pretty okay…”
So she still hadn’t given up. Hmmm. I was dealing with a perseverant phenomenon here.
“Thank you,” I said politely.
“You’re welcome, you now officially owe me a coffee.”
I had to admire her persistence. My long buried skills were returning. Good.
“So do you always charge for your unwanted assistance?”
“No,most of the timepeople get it for free…”
“And, Something tells me I ain’t getting this for free, right?”
“I charge only those who can pay me back.”
“Let me tell you I don’t pay for unwanted assistance. I accept it as complementary.”
“I never said I was gonna charge you…”
“What, then, was the coffee for?”
“To start this conversation…”
Game One. Round One. Goddess.
“OK.So you won. What is it that you want of me?”
“Hey, Was that easy or what!! Fromwhat I was told about you, I think you oughtta have done better that that…”
“And what were you ‘told’,pray?”
“Nothing, I had to sustain the conversation, somehow…”
“And why did you want to do that?”
“Because I like having sensible talks.”
‘I am afraid you have chosen the wrong person to do so. I am neither sensible nor do I talk.”
“You know, It is so difficult to find someone who can talk sensible?”
“I know. And I have been disappointed many times.I donot wish to be disappointed again.”
“Ahhh…Ze competitive streak eez returning M’sieur?”
Game two. Round One. Goddess.
Man, does she know how to deflate or what!!
“Ok,back to the point. Why do you want to sustain a conversation with me?”
“I hate having conversations that last for less than five seconds after which you are in a tearing hurry to rip off – either your clothes or your feet – from the spot. Those are for sluts and their customers. I believe you are not from the same class of people…”
“And how do you assume that?”
“Because I am not…”
“Is that a public statement or a personal belief?”
“What do you think?”
“Why does it matter to you what I think of it?”
“It should, shouldn’t it, I mean a mirror must reflect the feelings of the person looking into it?”
“What makes you think I am your mirror?”
“Because you are asking me exactly the same question I am asking myself this moment…”
I stood there looking at a person I had always believed existed somewhere on the face of this earth and who, secretly, I hoped I would never meet. But I had met that person and that was that. She seemed to have read the thoughts in my mind as she gave out a tinkling laugh.
My thoughts were yanked back to the present by the tinkling laugh. I smiled at her and asked.
“Do you still play those games?”
“I still do play games. Not the same ones,although. I have grown up now. Haven’t you?”
Somethings never change, do they?
“If you were to live different lives everyday,you would love to be Humphrey Bogart one day and Arnold Schwarzenegger the next, and that would be definitely great.The only problem is you wouldn’t have a day to live by yourself.”
– Born Stinger.