I had to keep my cool in the scorching summer month of sun and no rain. Everywhere I stared, I saw splinters of reflection on all things important and unimportant. The sun was playing its usual hide and seek game of protest. The clouds covered it and it tore through the clouds to shine brighter. The meeting was fixed in the midst of the siesta hour. The lone dog searching for a space under the shade of the bus stop. Always alert, always aware of its place under the scorching sun.
He said meet me before the sun sets and I can see your face against the bright light. The freckles around the eyes as you squint into the sun. I want to watch and smile and see the older you.
I was meeting my old crush after 15 years in the café and I was trying hard to look like the girl I was. The son asked, “hey why are you smiling?” I said I was meeting someone over coffee. I need to look young and pretty. As usual my precocious son raised his eyebrow and said, “You could try but I doubt it should work. Try plastic surgery!”
So, I decided to wear the linen jacket from Raresim over my blue cotton dress from Ravage. I mixed the two together. The beige over the midnight blue bias dress was making it feel perfect. The jacket had smocking at the back with white and it was minimalist in style and comfortable over my dress. I didn’t want him to know I had made an effort. It should look casual yet chic.
I felt the hair on my shoulder fall not as thickly as before, but it was alright. I wore the dress and wore the beige linen jacket. It was looking sophisticated without being too obvious, that some bit of planning had gone into it. And all along also quietly hoping I would get the corner seat in the coffee shop that has low lighting and the freckles would be missed.
I put on my linen jacket over my Kota bias dress from Raj Shroff of Ravage. He was closer than most I can count on my fingers in Bangalore. A friendship that has seen the test of time, changes in each of us and finally the ability to laugh together at all the crazy times we shared. He gave me this dress and said “Mo, the neckline is deep, why don’t you ever listen to me?”
I smiled at him and with a wink told him to make it deeper next time. We both laughed. We were friends in crime and tears and loads of laughter since long.
I reached the café to be greeted by my old crush and he had grey on his head but the boy eyes were still there. He said, “You look gorgeous, Botox?” I laughed hard and said, “No it’s the fish. Rui, try it!”
We spoke at length about our children, spouses and memories. I recalled those days when I was sure he was my true love. But over time realised, after writing his name with mine, on the last page of my math book. Yes, we were lame in 1980s. He told me, he liked my best friend and thought of me like a younger sister. I had cried hard that day.
We laughed hard remembering those summer months of Delhi and the fear of the future. What mattered most was passing exams and your crush loving you back. The simple joys of teenage years.
As I stood up to leave and said bye. I noticed that he looked on, till I walked away. As I got into my car, I got a text message that said “You look pretty, you dress up really well” I smiled at that text and wrote back “I know!”