The sun had brought morning along, and had left at it’s usual time. Not a single soul had seen it while it stayed. The thick veil of black, weeping clouds had kept the shine locked away from the earth. Heaven only knew how long this gloom were to last. The breeze swaying the leaves was not chilly enough to cut into the clothes, but was nagging enough to make one long for warmth.
The inside of the cafe was a different story though. A constantly changing mob and their endless banter kept the place cozy enough. The guy taking orders at Hot Delights struggled to keep up. An insatiable thirst to stay warm keeping the crowd before him appear like a color-shifting blob of bodies.
Whichever way I looked, I couldn’t find an empty table to sit at. My comfort doesn’t come from just having a hot chocolate, or a steaming coffee in my hand. It comes from the stories I notice unraveling around me, and jot down on my hard bound companion. I needed a stable point, so I can make something out of this tragically unstable throng.
I smiled to myself. People aren’t just looking for comfort, they’re looking to find it quick. In the two minutes I stood at the entrance, searching an empty chair, I saw three instances where someone almost ran into someone else. Maybe that’s how stranger souls come together, but today wasn’t the time for something like that.
And then I spotted it at the farthest corner of the cafeteria. Not an empty table, but my story of the evening! In a blind race for comfort going on around them, these two souls were comfortably unaware of everything. Tea cups lay before them, undoubtedly emptied long ago.
Slight chuckles, some untold happiness, and a little piece of each other as they just sat there holding hands. Whispers, unheard by everyone around them floated into my ears, broken, illegible voices. Her cheeks flushed every time she looked into his eyes, while his gaze was glued to her pupils. I felt like a voyeur, intruding their space. Yet, the world around couldn’t mean less to them.
A slight tap on my shoulder broke my intent gaze. I turned around to find her standing beside me, a blue woolen cap making her face even more adorable than she already is.
“Why are you staring at an empty table instead of capturing it before someone else does?” She accused.
‘Empty?’ I thought and looked back at the table I was staring at. Indeed, the table was empty. It was us, me and her, one of our first dates, that I was so intently visualizing. And I realized that I was comfortable unaware that I was imagining the scene. The same table, a similar evening, and the aroma of hot tea, that’s all it took to trigger the memory.
“Let’s go,” I said smiling, grabbing her wrist and pulling her through the crowd, infinitely thankful that no one took the table in all the time I was ogling it stupidly.
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