Friday, 22 February 2019


Glancing at my wristwatch, I knew she was late. We had agreed on 12.30. Being a journalist, I always knew the importance of being early to a meeting.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

There, my legs didn’t know the end of it. Whenever my patience ran out, my feet would start rhythmically beating the floor.

I picked up the menu and read it for the 9th time, knowing perfectly that Croutons salad, would come before the overly priced Corn one.

‘Would she act all pricey?’ ‘Who should pay the bill in our case?’ Thoughts ran swift through my mind, the wait was taking its toll.

The swipe right decision was now pricking me, as my breaths started coming out with angry humphs every now and then. I decided to take a glance on the door, to find a maiden in stilettos, eyeing the corners of the cafe.

Damn, Have you ever experienced, a brain freeze? That feeling when the ice cream hits your tongue and brain simultaneously. You don’t know what to think, how to react or what your next move should be. I stared at her blankly, while she located me from far and mouthed a whispering ‘Hi’.

Like a frolicking river, she swayed into her seat gently after giving a warm handshake. I had to keep my eyes focused on her beautiful smile, and keep a straight face, to hide the blood rushing to my cheeks.

“Sorry, I am late. Traffic woes”, she mumbled, while sipping on the water I had ordered an hour ago.

As she proceeded to ask the basics, and I answered her with my conscious mind, my subconscious mind, couldn’t help but notice, the sheen that her lip gloss was giving out. The floral dress, long hair in a bow hairband, and blushed cheeks, every inch of her was screaming that she was daddy’s lil princess.

She hid her laughter behind a napkin or the back of her hand whenever I made a silly comment. She wasn’t all talk though, she showed a genuine interest in knowing me too. She looked me in the eye and complimented my short cropped hair, a feature that my parents despised.

As we sifted through a mutual love for K-pop bands, Kumar Sanu, 90’s shows, Pav bhaji, and more, I noticed how strikingly different yet similar we were.

Did the cafe have these many coffee options, I thought, as I was ready to order my 4th drink that morning. Suddenly, Leah, snatched the menu, from my hand, and exclaimed. “ Do you know that the peeps over here make the best Hot chocolate, you should defoooooo try one RHRN”.

I wasn’t sure I should. You see, I was never fond of chocolates, since my young age. I preferred darker, bitter things, maybe the childhood experiences had mold me into liking the dark stuff and despising the sweet.

I stirred the froth and cream, and placed the spoon away, before taking a small sip and letting the molten liquid trickle down my neck.  

But here I was, with a date, I couldn’t afford to or want to disappoint. To my amazement, she placed the order faster than I thought and beamed a 100 watt at me. We resumed talking about life, love and other things couples usually talk about on a date.

The steaming cups of Hot chocolate arrived, and before I could help the lady out, she in true gentlemanly style served me first. As I drew the cup closer, she stared at me with an anticipating smile.

“What”? I exclaimed, with a surprised laugh.

“ Nothing, I want to see the expression on your face, you are having it for the first time right?”, she replied.

I stirred the froth and cream, and placed the spoon away, before taking a small sip and letting the molten liquid trickle down my neck.

Again, a brain freeze. But this time, a warm one.

A comforting, soothing, relaxing one.

I closed my eyes, and let the warmth travel across the million tiny neurons, across my head and face.

In that orgasmic moment, I still kept the assertiveness mode on, and nodded, “It’s Good”.

“There! Told ya” and she broke into a clap and cackle.

Two hours after that Hot chocolate, the conversation was still a swiftly moving and an interesting one. We didn’t linger a lot on any topic, and a brief mention of our families came up every now and then.

“So they accepted you, as you are”? she asked intrigued.

Though my heart wanted to open up to her and tell her the countless stories so that she could warm me up, just like the hot chocolate did, I still managed to smile and say one word.


“ Lucky you!”, she blurted. “I’ve been to hell and back”

“ Well, I can understand” I claimed.

“ So, are you a movie person, Amarah?” she asked.

Wow, I didn’t know my name could ever sound so beautiful. Because of my canvas shoes, the lack of feminine skincare, the ripped jeans and cotton shirts, people generally call me Amar, Ames, and whatnot.

“ Yeah, Marvel or DC”?, I asked.

“ Marvel, any day!”, she smiled.

‘Yeah, princess, I know you. You go by what you read on Quora, and don’t make your own decisions.’ I thought in silence.

“Let’s get out of here, Infinity war is still on ”, she exclaimed, and sprung out of her chair, as swiftly as she had seated herself before. She took my hand in hers and tugged at me. Collecting my headphones and motioning the server, to come get the bill, I rose up.

I couldn’t help but think of the countless people who would eyeball us, on the way, and how we would be judged, despised even, outside the premises of that cozy cafe. I wasn’t ready for the judgments, the prejudice, the laughs, catcalls and more. But I knew one thing, with Leah by my side, I was a little more confident than I was before I walked into the cafe that morning”.

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