“Madam, we reached” claimed the taxi driver interpreting the girl’s gazing eyes outside the glass right side window. Her eyes lashes uplifted, taking a quick deep breath in, she looked at the front.
she opened the chain of the red string handbag resting on her lap.
"2 notebooks? I had only kept my rough book...ah I carried writes up- book also by mistake"
The girl paid the cab driver and headed towards the entrance of “sunrise toast” touching the bannister slowly with each upward stair.
Entrance was made up of flowers mostly red in colour and leaves together forming a heart shape gate. Floor was lightened in the night with yellow brightening thick candles in glass jars. Her red stiletto bent, landing on the entry area as the warm air coming from the restaurant got in her lungs arousing old suppressed emotions in her heart. She clutched both her hands, holding the string of red bag in left hand, blocking the path of the warmth of air getting inside.
The smell she never had smelled before was still touching
Her buried averted feelings of a mysteriously beautiful night, scaring her heart.
"Welcome madam may I lead your way...have you pre-booked your seat?" A tall girl with flowers in her hand asked.
"Umm wh-what no I haven’t...are all the tables filled? Can’t I…" replied Ayesha confused and her eyes searching.
a soft breeze blew her hair getting in between her left ear curls, she felt the smell growing stronger and lifted her eyes.
Ayesha was seated on a table on, west side of the sunrise toast.
There was a sudden pound in her heart, she sensed a peaceful and terrifying wave inside. She found herself in one such moment where she writes, so she wrote in one of her two black wrapped books.
“If it’s love then you will come to me and I will find you”
Eatery was embellished with golden chandeliers. It was a busier day than usual with young couples occupying most of the tables. Red was the theme of the day to spread the colour of love all around. Waiters and hospitality workers were exhausted by the day's work greeting each visitor, twinkling and the twilight came with newer guests.
‘Heyi, sir you are Mr Avinash right...honoured that you are here sir’ said a waiter grinning with sweat plunging from a mole near his nose, dressed in a faint yellow shirt and blank pants and tie like his fellow colleagues.
‘Ah damn at last! Someone exists here’ uttered Avinash joggling his head and arms.
‘Something happened sir?’
‘No- actually bro, I have been to the entrance and here back and forth looking for seating for the last 10 minutes and you guys are so engrossed...I forgot to book a seat before coming...can this human get a place in this crowd?’
He explained caressing the waiter’s shoulder.
‘Ohh sorry sir, as you know today….all the seats are preoccupied and it’s evening time.’
‘Oh-okay I see..’
‘Yeah! but sir for valentine’s eve we have arranged a special arrangement...at the west of our hotel there you will have a table…’
The waiter said, recollecting.
‘To the west right?’
Asked Avinash with his fingers pointing.
‘Yes sir...and there’s a surprise for…’
Avinash hurried to find a seat.
‘It’s been 15 minutes now where are you Kevin?’ complained Ayesha checking her phone.
‘I might be late my girlfriend came...I can’t say no to her today...hope you understand...be ready with your presentation...we have to complete this anyhow’ :)
She read a text out loud, stretching her thumb and index finger over her cheeks supporting her tilted head.
‘I’ve promised Amelia for dinner here…’
Avinash was talking to himself. His phone rings.
‘sweetheart…I’m on my way...I wanted to buy something for you...my life...and now i’m stuck in traffic’
‘I didn’t want a gift dear...I get you...no issues...take your time...and don’t forget the name...you have to come straight to “sunrise toast”....west side okay’
The phone call ended with kisses and hugs rituals of Amelia.
‘Seat-seat-seat….here’ Avinash reached the west corner of the hotel.
Ayesha hurled her phone on the table making it shake, the notebooks skipped and fell. she bent down to pick them. Her hair dropped from her ears and covered her face.
The boy in search of a place steeped in, in grey pants and a black jacket. He sat on the chair beside the red string bag on the table.
‘oh writes-up book...this No it’s the rough one’
Ayesha was fond of talking to herself and she always kept things to herself. She wagged her neck, swigging her curls. The peaceful smell all of a sudden got a face and their eyes met and she stood up. Avinash grinned, expanding his chest and his legs stood up following her eyes.
‘As we all are here to celebrate the creator of hearts-love, every year on this day all the seats are reserved and we can’t see any of our guests leave melancholy, so this year we have organized this new set up at the west end of your beloved “sunrise toast”...only for those who did not arrive here with their tables assigned...there’s a special surprise for all couples here….it’s a game actually….so let the party began...close the doors”
One of the hotel junior manager shouted, cheering with a mic in his hand, catching the crowd's attention, making it unable to hear anything else. A blue light fell on him, the room became dim. The doors closed. Cakes, pastries, doughnuts and other desserts along with ribbons and made a perfect framework for youth partners.
‘This is my table’
Ayesha yelled, swaying her right arm.
Avinash’s smile broadened, downcasting his eyes, he flopped on the chair. A waiter came there hearing her shout.
“Is there any problem sir?”
“No, we’re just talking,” he answered.
“Brother it’s my table and this man came here”
Declared Ayesha looking straight into the waiter’s eyes.
“Pal, forgive her...don’t worry I’ll manage, actually she furious as her boyfriend have come to her after 2 years...you go my friend”
Jested Avinash, coming close to the waiter, seeing the waiter terrified because of Ayesha’s eyes.
“It seems you are here for something important otherwise you won’t have stepped out on this evening,” said Avinash.
“Whatever...you need not care” replied Ayesha with pauses---folding her hands, shocked to know that he still knew things about her before she said.
“We can at least have dinner together...till you wait for whoever?” asked Avinash.
“I cannot have dinner with you Avi” she answered swiftly and softly. Her lips stick together, down turning her eyes.
“I mean Avi...Avinash” she continued with pauses blinking her eyes.
“I want you to still call me Avi,” he said holding her eyes.
They sat down. He poured water into her glass from the jug. Ayesha abruptly grabbed one of her black wrapped books from the table and kept them in her bag. Her red blazer hung on her chair. He folded his legs. Both were contemplating each other's features and trying not to be seen by the other.
They were talking to themselves, remembering about each other.
“His tiny eyes ah don’t look, don't look Ayesha...the sun like smile...he still appear so sweet like a child with flowers in a garden...does his heart still have warm corners bourandaring the sweet love syrup” Ayesha was rubbing her hands--going back and forth on her sofa seat.
“The soft corner---upper lining of her lips, when she presses them they still take me to another world...does her nose still get cold in winters now...will her long hair still provide shade to my sheirving soul.” Avinash was hiding his face with the menu and staring at her peeping from the pages.
In a few seconds staring turned into outstaring. The waiter came on the scene to take their order. He repeated his question twice and thrice but the only answers were their eyes intertwined.
“Sir may I please have your orders please?” said the waiter, stretching his phrases. Ayesha’ phone vibrated with a notification sound and both of them came back to their senses.
“I’ll have a a a mushroom curry, beetroot salad and a cucumber-melon soup.” Avinash ordered.
“Your order mam?” waiter questioning.
she was still somewhere else….she was watching the couples comfortably seated and cloying dishes all around.
“I want to eat something spicy, yeah...so I have,” she said with narrowing eyes and a shrinking face.
“I’ll have umm...vegetable jambalaya please and alcohol” Ayesha continues looking at Avinash.
“Ayesha” Avinash gave a brutal look.
"What why, I'll drink tonight"
"You know that you lose your senses" he said loudly.
"Huh... I'll drink and you can't stop me" she mouthed.
"Ahh ha really... okay okay then... I'll have peanut soup" Avinash verbalized.
"Noo" she resisted frowed.
"and why can't I?"
"You have an allergy dear so you can't," she replied forwarding her neck.
"add peanut soup in my order...if she is having alcohol" He announced.
The waiter stood quite, noting. It was a cold night but their place was warm. Both looked agitated.
"What have we been doing Avi?...why...all this is a shit...you are a liar?" She yowled tapping the table.
"You cannot call this a shit... this restores us" he manifested taking the black book from the table.
The waiter came with their orders, as soon as they caught the sight of the waiter. Ayesha and Avinash seized the wine bottle with Ayesha snatching the peanut soup, leaving the waiter puzzled. The waiter kept the rest of the dishes on the table, mumbled and darted towards the kitchen area.
“So what are you into these days, here in New york in winters?” he questioned while chewing the food.
“I Am doing an internship in living technology ltd. as a manager” she answered.
“Wait what! what in, living technology ltd. right? That’s the company dad’s have just bought the shares of and I'm going to be Ceo as he told me last night” he responded eloquently.
“Huh, oh-h-k” Ayesha said stunned.
The moon rose in the sky, nearby couples left the hotel and some came. But their talks only extended theirs with sprinkles of some poetic verses at times. Poetry linked them earlier, and was the only way they could comprehend each other.
"We are nothing Avi...yes I I... recall the night we met...we wrote poems for each other...we waited, we understood, we knew each other...but I couldn't forget how you chatted with me on instagram when I texted you with a different account and you didn't know who I was...the words you typed in there just because she wasn't revealing her real identity...shame" she voiced, and her words expressed the old buried pain of past. Avinash wanted to say a thousand things in that jiff, but he knew that it was one of the rare moments the girl who didn’t utter anything about her feelings was putting forth herself.
“Look, I'm looking in your eyes but now I don’t want to look. The innocence is gone, the child in a garden you are not that….you are someone else. See blood’s still running in my veins but no longer to chase you….why? Why you do this to me? What did I do to you? Answer?
She said chucking the water glass in the air.
Are there different versions of you MR Avinash? Which one was that? Where did I stand on your list of girls?
We understood each other without words, without shades but with words we fail. For whom did you write those poems and named them for me? I wanted to run away from myself, that's why I came to you, I thought we would run together so fast, leaving the whole world and ourselves behind..and you showed me where I stood. I was carrying you inside me that day and I shouted save yourself to save myself and you killed me with your text replies….first you shattered all my illusion then you started poking heart digging the layers of creation...in the end scraped the threads of my self respect and I flickered…. the person is dead now...the person you met one night is dead you get that….happy? Are you in peace now? Over everything was over 2 years ago.
She said with flames of fire burning in her eyes...making the concealed tears revealing.
“And as I told You then, I haven’t read you till...yes I write...I thought I won’t, but I still write stuffs on you since I looked into your eyes and if that’s not true then who am I ...but no longer for you now I only write for myself...and I will keep on writing till I find the person I met that night...and these are not those eyes”
Said Ayesha with the book in her hand, she stood up at one with her bag and ran towards the exit.
Party poopers fell with golden paper flakes, crackers busted making everybody in the room freeze in their places.
“Congratulations you are the winner couple” the junior manager called out. Avinash hurried.
“It was it was Ariana, an eldery women who was texting me with different fake accounts after we met in bus...and I thought her to be you, she has been divorced 5 times she was hungry for a male...my friends told me to maintain distance from her. Yes! I did wrong, I deserve this...and I have talked to many girls...but whenever someone called love only you fall in my eyes, and whatever I have wrote till now is all about you...I have build imaginary stories to only to write poems about you...2 years ago, now and forever I'll only write about you.”
Ayesha averted her eyes.
He pulled her by her hands and fixed her palms right where his heart beats. She resisted with force, he pulled with greater force, her eyes uplifted.
“Listen to your heart just for one...yes it does not have words but it produces rhythms...but music makes you feel without words...it speaks the language of souls... can't you hear it? whenever I have cried at nights, I took the sheads of our memories to be alive...if I've ever dreamt about someone it's only you...Yes you shouted and I didn't hear you as it was in inbox...but if you don’t feel that’s you right here...then leave, without a word and I will know that it was not love... you only love the person who wrote those poems for you right...it was me.
A High pitched voice coming from the entrance said.
"Ayesha, dear I'm really sorry..." another voice came from a distance.
"you!" Avinash and Ayesha screamed.
"yup, Ayesha it's me, Kevin, we had to meet here for the preparation of our upcoming presentation...." the boy said.
"yeah, honey it's me, Amelia, we planned the dinner for tonight," said the girl in a startling tone.
Ayesha and Avinash grasped each other's hand and looked into their eyes after scrutinizing Amelia and Kevin respectively.
"She became my girlfriend only Last week and this was going to be our second meeting"
"as he just told I was waiting for him here to discuss the presentation"
Both talked with their eyes like earlier times. four of them were standing near the door of the room, the snow dropped from the sky outside the room. Kevin asked Ayesha to show her layout, the notebooks fell down when she was about to draw out her black wrapped book from the red bag. she picked them up and forwarded one of the books towards Kevin and kept the other one in her bag.
"you will get everything, I have drawn all the charts explicitly here, just check and call me you have any doubts," Ayesha said.
"wait," Avinash said, holding the book and her hand. He came closer to her and pulled the other black wrapped book from her handbag and gave it to Kevin. Amelia was checking her phone and makeup all this while. And was standing quiet. Kevin open the book and was soon engaged in reading the statistics. Avinash kept the other book in Ayesha's bag and locked the chain.
"How did you know it wasn't the rough book but the writes-up book?" she asked
"you still get confused without nameplates in books...I remember things about you, you don't even know"