As expected, you punished me. Perhaps more than you punished them but definitely less than you punished yourself.
She’s annoying… That’s the first thing that comes into his mind once he lays eyes on her. The cafe is under crowded and air conditioned, serving as the best spot for him to finish marking errors on the files, all while being mystified at the scope of originality in which his subordinates had chosen to display their incompetence. Perhaps I should make them pay me for all the time that carries over into my break in fixing their screw ups, he ponders darkly. His train of thought is broken by loud sniggering coming from one of the tables in front of him.
Its a trio of girls. Students, judging by the emblem on one of their hoodies, giggling and chattering about god knows what in typical female fashion. He sighs while stretching back a little and takes a sip of the bitter brown liquid in his cup. Two of them seem to be leaving. He watches them bid farewell and exit the cafe. The remaining girl gets up and makes her way towards the counter to order another cup of coffee. When she turns, their eyes meet for a brief moment and he is astounded by the shine in hers. She seems stunned initially but calms herself and greets him with a polite smile. He regains his composure and responds with a curt nod getting back to working on the files, stealing one last glance at her as she takes her seat and starts scrolling up and down on her smartphone.
You are as lovely as a painting. An alluring piece of art sitting upon a canvas. And so I love you. To me you represent all that might be, could be, should be.. But isn’t.
You are false, and so I despise you. When I see you breaking, it soothes me. I find comfort in watching your shaky fingers struggling to gather your shattered being. The realization that you’re about to fade away, its scary but wonderful all the same. Still, every time the lights turn dim, I find myself mourning for the pieces you’ve lost.
To you I was love, light, and the spark of life. To me you were always an enigma. A surreal, beautiful nightmare, a maze. And so I hated you. I did all I could to renounce you. Ignored your cries and your desperation, but in doing so I stole myself the realization that you were the very foundation upon which I stood.
I know you resent me. I admit, I deserve it. I refused to hear your voice, chalked up your words to lies and blocked my ears from everything you said. I know now why it was. Unlike me, you spoke the truth and it terrified me. Even so, I sought your counsel when I was lost. Yes, it broke me. The infernal mystery you had treasured so much burned out with a single flick of his wrist, and for that, im sorry. In my cowardice, I abandoned you and in my heartbreak, I must abandon you once again.
I’m tired and hurt. Yet on the verge of life and death, I must selfishly request of you, please accept me in my flickering moments. Even if all that is left of me is smoke, allow me a last embrace so that I may find peace in oblivion, in you.
He looks up as the waiter brings her beverage. She’s been lost in thought for a while now, hands hanging nonchalantly by her sides, phone long forgotten on her lap and face masked with an unreadable expression. The waiter calls out to her. Once. Twice. She doesnt respond. He stares quizzically as the confused waiter places the beverage in front of her and tries to leave without seeming awkward, mumbling something about preparing her check.
He tears his gaze away from her and runs it over the neatly arranged pile of finished documents, then to his watch, then back to her and takes a sip of the now cold coffee in his cup. I guess I have enough time to enjoy a refill, he smirks gesturing the younger man.
No. Dont speak. You’ve denied me for so long, refuse me once again. Ignore me. Torture me. But I beg of you, don’t fall into my arms. Don’t seek of me compassion. Don’t lose yourself in the depths of my warmth. Im not used to it. Your sorrow is too heavy a burden for me to bear. Be once again what I used to admire, yet have so out of my reach. Don’t fall now. Don’t give in to me.
He checks his watch. 10.15, it reads. He shifts his focus to her eyes that remain glued to their reflection on the surface of the cup. It’s been fifteen minutes and she hasn’t so much as touched her coffee, he muses running his eyes over her silhouette. The employees are at a loss and he notices their nervous glances. Two of them are arguing over who gets to bring her the check. He sighs, deciding to get up.
‘Pardon me, Miss…’
Why is it that you must always reject my pleas? Why must you always ask of me more than I can give? The you that remains is no more than a broken vessel. A mockery of one I had known and cherished. But rest now and be assured. I will hold your hand till the flames are out. If only for your sake, I shall allow myself this kindness.
You were always so stubborn..
She isn’t responding. He panics for a moment, then studies her expressions. Her face is clouded and she seems to be getting tearful. Oh great, he rolls his eyes. Just what I needed.
Cautiously, he extends his hand to tap lightly over her shoulder.
Nothing. He glances over at the employee behind the counter and is met with a helpless shrug. Sigh. He clears his throat, a bit loudly this time.
‘Miss!!’ She jumps as though she’s been hit with a thousand watts.
‘Are you alright?’ He bites back a smile, surprised but amused nonetheless.
‘Ah.. y..yes.’ She lifts her head to meet his gaze and its his turn to be shocked. Her eyes, they look … different. Like a set that belongs to a whole other person. That captivating glint is nowhere to be found, replaced by an unknown darkness. He feels like he’s drowning.
She raises an eyebrow at his reaction. ‘Can I help you?’
He catches himself in time. ‘Well, I was wondering if you’re doing okay. Its just that I’ve noticed you sitting here for a while but you still haven’t even touched your coffee, so I thought I should check in to make sure you’re alright.’
She eases at his explanation. ‘Oh, yes. Thank you. Im perfectly fine. Im just a bit of an airhead actually.’
‘I see. Well, I’ll get going then. Have a nice day.’ He nods to her, deciding to take his leave.
She smiles a half smile and turns back to her table. For some reason it leaves him with a heavy heart, but he brushes it off, pays his dues and rushes outside, pile of documents under one arm.
She glances at the now cold beverage in front of her and chugs it all down in one go.
Rest in peace, my dearest.
She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, then with a bitter smile, raises her arm.
——————————————— fin ————————————————-