Its life so live it!!!

Every evening after work, I used to drive to this small yet beautifully located coffee shop which was along the backwaters of a moderately busy town. The place was always almost packed, with every table occupied, yet it never seemed busy as I spent hours every day pretending to work on my laptop or just sitting around enjoying the calmness of the still waters till ‘he’ came. The place was a rather simple one, run by an old couple with a huge counter and a few stools around it where people dropped by for a cup of coffee and chat. This place had a few tables around, surrounded by two or three chairs, wooden flooring with tinted glass walls and a grand piano in one of its corners. The lighting was just enough and I always occupied the right corner table wherein I got a view of the entire cafeteria as well as got to sit as close as I could to the water.

My day started at 7 a.m. as I got dressed to work and reached my office by 8.50 a.m. I worked in a multinational company and was the youngest assistant general manager the company ever had. No!! It wasn’t just mere luck that I saw success so early. It was a lot of hard work, dedication, along with sacrificing those good teenage days and of course parents who were divorced but had huge bank balances, a mansion big enough that saved every member of the family the trouble of seeing each other every day and a fancy business degree from one of the best colleges in the United Kingdom. As I walked along the office corridors, hundreds of employees would wish me and I occasionally wished them back with a stern smile. Could never figure out whether they wished good or bad, but every employ in the company envied what I had.

Yet, the best part of my day was when I drove to that small coffee shop and he invariably came and occupied a table around mine. I always reached the cafeteria before he did and occupied my table like it had been reserved for me all evening. His very first appearance was out of the box as he drove a Royal Enfield classic 500, with a guitar hanging on his back, but was always wearing the finest formal wear, which seemed like was chosen with a lot of taste and sense of colour. I always had my eyes on him, right from the time he got off his bike and walked straight to the counter wishing the old couple. There instantly seemed to be a boost in the energy at the cafeteria as the elders wished him good evening and youngsters hi-fied him. I was always left wondering, if he knew even half the people who seemed so pleased by his presence. A couple of minutes after he took his place at the table, a waiter would come by with two cups of cappuccino, act like there’s someone sitting in front of him, serve that invisible person first and then serve the next cup of coffee to him. Although he was alone just like I was, it never felt the same. He always finished the cup of coffee brought for him, folded his sleeves up, went ahead to the counter with his guitar, pulled a stool and played a song or two every day. There was a magic in the way he sang and it seemed like a much awaited performance, which drove away that tired look on everybody’s face. Just before he left he would come back to his table, drink at least half from the other cup of coffee and leave. This was his routine every single day. Just that sometimes he would order a snack or a muffin, but the waiter always followed the same ritual of getting two of the same thing and first serving this imaginary person and then the guy. I dint know what took me to that cafeteria every single day, but the thought that I would see and watch him play and maybe, just maybe, someday even smile or have a conversation with him, made me take that extra hours drive every day.

I distinctly remember that day, I was waiting for him at the cafeteria as usual but he never showed up. I felt very restless as my eight-month routine was disrupted. I couldn’t do much about it as I hadn’t really spoken to anyone around, besides the waiter regarding my order every day. Nor do I remember smiling at anyone out there. Three days passed by the same way and my anxiety had grown too far, not to ask the waiter about this guy. The waiter kept staring at me for a good 2 minutes, as for him till that day I was this good looking, high profile chic who parked her 7 series BMW right across the no parking sign board of the cafeteria everyday and sat alone as her ego didn’t really leave much space for anyone else to fit in. The waiter trying to be all pricy stammered in his nervousness as he spoke to me, “Amber, his name is Amber. He is gone back to his native place for his wife’s death anniversary.” His reply shook my world, something that hadn’t happen for a while. And I exclaimed “Wife!!” “Yes!” said the waiter and I immediately asked what had happened. He told me that Amber was married for just a year and a half when his wife had an acute attack of asthma. The owner watching me talk to the waiter came over and later told me that Amber had met his wife Sera in this cafeteria for the first time and they visited it regularly ever since. Their love, innocence and youthfulness would instantly change the atmosphere at the cafeteria and they soon became the cafeteria’s favourites as everybody loved watching the couple fight over a cup of coffee or snack which Amber would deliberately snatch from Sera’s hand once he was done with his own. He however spent hours later, winning her over again and singing a song or two, always did the trick for him. His wife’s death left him shattered more because although he had tried real hard personally and professionally he couldn’t really make his wife understand where her much neglected health was taking her to, which finally cost her, her life. After her death, Amber locked himself in for days together, until one day he realised that the memories of his wife should make him happy rather than sad, cause Sera was still the best thing that had happened to him.

Suddenly everything made sense to me and all those questions running through my head instantly found answers to themselves. This conversation changed my life. I stopped the self pity. I stopped telling myself that I have turned into this ugly self-centered cold person not because I had to, but because I chose to. I felt stupid as for a while I was actually jealous of someone who seemed to be happier than I was although he had lost his life. He fought back and I knew I had to now.

A few days later Amber returned. Although he had seen me many times before, it seemed like it was the first time ever he noticed me. He saw me smile. He saw me talk to others. He saw me with friends, something I don’t remember ever having. We too are friends now. We often find ourselves chatting for hours together at the cafeteria and have even exchanged numbers. I don’t know where this relationship will lead me to, but this was definitely the much awaited magic in my life. I had a big house but no home, building full of admirers but no companion. What I had was everything I’ve ever wanted and everything I ever wished for but in a way I had lost even more. Amber thought me that this is my life and only I am in control of it and nothing in the world should take that away from me. And most importantly he thought me that best things in life are free like love, family and friends.

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