My Call-girl - The prequel

It had been a tiring day. But we had to meet. After all, a promise is a promise is a promise!

I headed off to our usual spot. It was, probably, one of the few times in my life that I had been on time.

I took my favorite chair with my back towards the window and ordered a shot of black. The anticipation of seeing joy on her face mixed with the satisfaction of having arrived early was sending tingling sensations through my entire being.

The coffee arrived. Usually, I see her and the coffee together. But that’s because I am late. Not this time. So it had to be different. Hmmm… revenge eh? Ok, I was game. I would play the cool customer.

Three coffees and two cigarettes. That’s exactly how long my resolution lasted. I decided to call for the bill. As I turned to gesture to the waiter, the door opened and in she walked.

She was wearing a pair of jeans I had gifted her on her B’day. The top seemed fairly new…

She came in and dropped all her paraphernelia in the opposite seat and sat beside me. As if on cue, the waiter arrived with two coffees instead of one.

All this while, not a word was exchanged between us. I assumed it was because our relationship was beyond words. Apparently, (as I was to learn shortly,) she did not think so.

We both picked up our coffees at the same moment and took our first sips. The synchronization in our movements would have put the best of Russian ballet dancers to shame. And it was then, that my sixth sense started to signal that something wasn’t right.

Whether it was the connection, or whether it was a woman’s intuition I still don’t know, but she sensed it too. I decided to test the waters a little further and opened my cigarette case. I casually proceeded to light one.

She did not oppose. So this WAS it.

I simply asked her, “Since when?”

She stared at me. But we had spent so much of time together that she knew what I was asking about.

“Since quite some time.”
“Any particular person to blame?”

She looked puzzled. Obviously, I had to be more specific.

“Did I say, act, whatever… do something?”
“Uh… I don’t know.”
“Don’t know? Are you sure?”
“I just DON”T know!!”
“Ok. Relax.”

One part of me was telling me to slap her hard and get those silly thoughts out of her. And the other part (obviously, the more ethical, emotional,etc. one) wanted to give her whatever she wanted. Love…

“Do you want to say it out specifically?” – Me.
“Say what?”
“All those lines you have been rehearsing since morning…”

Those words must have hurt, since (I think) I detected a few drops of you-know-what in her eyes. But she had come prepared for that too.

“Why do you want me to say it if you already know what I am gonna say?”

I did not reply to that. I just took a sip of my coffee and for the first time that evening looked straight in her eyes.

They told me the story I already knew. The moat was up and the fortress had been securely buttressed. Neither besieging nor beseeching would work.

“Why now?”
“Because, later would mean a lot of trouble. And pain”

Even now means a lot of trouble. And a whole lot of pain. Wish you would understand that.

“Ok. Anything you want me to do?” – Me.
“Nope.” – Her.
“Can I have the ring back?”
“I said, can I have the ring back?”

Without a word, she slipped the ring off her finger and gave it to me. I took it and threw it away as far as I could. Everybody in the cafe turned to stare at me. But, by then, I did not give a damn. I retuned everybody’s what-the-fk-is-happening-stare with a mind-your-own-fkin-business-glare. That seemed to do the trick.

“Can I ask you something?” – Me.
No answer.
“Ok. I’ll take that as a yes. What have I done to deserve this?” There was a hint of sarcasm in my voice. But, no anger yet.
No answer yet.
“Answer me.” – Okay, so a little anger here. She looked away. So the you-know-what had finally broken the barriers…

“I must be going now. They are waiting for me. I have told them I will be returning early.”

She got up to leave.

“Can I ask you for one last favor before you… leave?” It sounded pretty close to begging. And I thought my voice cracked.
“What?” She said, with, apparently, some difficulty.
“Can you just say it out in clear precise words what you wanted?”
“Why? What difference does it make now?”
“So that your rehearsal does not go waste.”

She stood there, stunned. The show had turned into a free-for-all. And then she said the fateful words, that I wanted to hear and yet did not want to hear:

“I need some space. I don’t think we can be together any longer. You still don’t have a proper job and you are not ashamed of living off my money. Frankly, I think this is not working out at all.”

The tears in her eyes only made it all the more real. And then she stepped out of the cafe.

I settled the bill, picked up my appointment letter and the keys to the company-allocated flat.

The keys to my new bike were still gift-wrapped in lace-ribbon.

*End note:
The next stop was, obviously, Apache – the Fluid Lounge. Three pitchers of beer and a couple of shots later, I passed out. *

Its strange how spaces began to seem void-like after this incident. The admiration for my new bike would have lasted for days or weeks. It died out the very next day. My company flat would have seemed spacious. Now it seemed empty. I have gotten over it now. Or, at least, I think I have.

*Can one person make so much of a difference?