‘I still feel the same about you’, he whispered taking Ankita’s hand into his. She did not move. It surprised him a bit that she did not make any attempt to pull her hand back. She reflected an uncanny sort of confidence which was hard for him to interpret. She was nothing like the earthly person he had known a long time ago. She had smiled at him, modestly, while offering him a seat at her table. Yet, she hadn’t spoken a word from the time he had spotted her in a cozy corner of a coffee shop, designing a swanky website for one of her clients. The signals she sent were clearly mixed. She had offered him a seat. Yes. The one next to her. And, she let him hold her hand. While she did not encourage any of his attempts to revive their relationship in the last seven years. How could his heart, still reeling under the shock of that sudden breakup, not take this long shot. ‘You broke up with me, Ankita. I never did.’ There was so much more he wanted to say. How could she just leave him one fine day, and for no good reason. No fights. No slip-ups. Just a flat ending to what could have been a rocking relationship. Closing her laptop she adjusted her posture to look him in his eyes. ‘What do you want from me Akash?’ The question was slippery. Like her new avatar. Neither too close, nor distant. Standing right in the middle of that damned fence. He picked a few pieces of courage, to draw her in. ‘An explanation, maybe? Don’t you know what I always wanted, my dear?’
‘I do. And, that’s exactly what I gave you, don’t you realise?’ Ankita was more composed than he had ever seen her. She had this beam of a mystic yogi on her face, whose peace would not be easily shattered by any kind of chaos. It was unsettling. She had needed him, a lot of times, to fix her fragility with his worldly wisdom. But her new sense of calm had started to implode inside his head, like she longer need his cocoon to hold her while she was healing. ‘What did I want Ankita? All I wanted was you.’ He sounded like a jilted puppy, desperately seeking her attention. It seemed to have worked. She had noticed the tremble in his voice, telling her how badly he wanted to put his head on her shoulder. ‘You know Akash. I had read it somewhere. There are two tragedies in life. One is to not to get your heart’s desire. And the other is to get it. What happened to us was the second one.’
Huh! That’s it? She was once again throwing her elusive self at him, like she had done at the time of their break up, leaving the door open for him to chase her, while she adorned the dubious spirit of a onlooker, secretly enjoying the chase. But, there was nothing left for him to say now. He sat there for a long time staring into the brick walls, trying to decode her cryptic message. Ankita left some cash below her coffee cup, exchanged a pleasant goodbye, and swiftly walked out. Once again. Leaving him hanging in thin air.
The waiter cleared the cups and took the cash, subtly indicating that he was holding the table beyond the assigned time. ‘Sir, is this yours?’, the waiter enquired, handing him a small piece of paper stashed in between the notes. How his heart began racing wildly as he saw Ankita’s handwriting on it! The damned woman could turn him into a child with just one handwritten note. ‘You stayed long enough to find this note. I can see that your heart has grown fonder. And mine, stronger. It is now an equal match.’
Akash texted her instantly. ‘What if I had not found the note, you bitch?’ His phone beeped. Finally. After seven long years. Ankita message read – ‘ Then I’d say it’s the first type of tragedy, you dawg. Get here, now!’