The story until now: When dreams meet reality – 1
Her colleagues sneered at her saintly workaholic behaviour occasionally. She was single and wondered why it was unacceptable to people. She always kept her distance, yet at times like this she had to relent and be a part of the ‘girl gang’ at work. The occasion: nothing.
She was already dreading being there and was concocting imaginative theories to slip out of there at the first available opportunity. While the girls with her were draining off one beer after another, she had hardly touched hers. She meekly looked around trying to understand why she felt so out place here. She was no different than them, and yet there was something that kept her from joining in or enjoying any of it.
They hadn’t been there for long when a gang of guys came and took the Reserved table next to theirs. They were a noisy bunch with no regard for the ambience of the place or privacy of fellow diners. They hollered their orders and bullied the waiters until they were asked by the patrons to mind themselves or take it elsewhere. Thankfully, they obliged. Her friends were gushing something about them in each others’ ears, and she was more than agitated. The alcohol had probably started working on them, she thought.
Both the tables were cluttered with empty bottles and half-eaten food and the drunkards (as she called them in her head) had gone relatively silent, after a long time. She felt sane again. Sober and somewhat settled with the situation, she curiously overheard the guys on the next table; talking slowly and fondly now. She didn’t find her casual eavesdropping wrong or impolite and realised that it was their reunion gelled with a birthday celebration.
They were talking about their college days now. She incidentally caught the name of their college and city and suddenly felt a lump forming in her throat. As if on cue, just then someone cursed him for not making it there due to work reasons. It was the same as….? They were his batch mates…? Friends…? Wait….did they just take his name? Could this be really true….??
She had a hundred questions but couldn’t ask anyone. She considered asking them directly but decided against it. How would he react if he came to know? She couldn’t be sure. When it was time to leave she was in complete daze, had a numb mind and an aching heart. She knew she had to do something about this, but not so hastily.
During lunch break the next day she came back to the restaurant, with a plan. She went to the Manager hoping that he’d somehow give her the name or address of the person who’d booked their table. The Manager wasn’t very forthcoming in providing any details, though he did mention that someone had reserved that very table for lunch and was already seated there.
She hardly found that helpful or relevant, but without any thought whatsoever she marched herself to that table. To her utter surprise, she found him sitting there. He had a broad smile on his face and said simply, “Hi! I was hoping you’d drop by. Seems like I can still predict your moves huh? Still like Chinese, do you?”.
A lot hadn’t worked in favour of their relationship in the past, but this was not the time to ponder. They had met by accident this time, but chose to all it destiny. They were still single, and that was just about what they needed to know. They had passed the test they’d put each other through. Whichever road they chose to take from here, they could be certain it would be with a partner they wanted the most.