She sat down where she always did. On the parapet, the sea breeze blowing its secrets through her hair, soothing frazzled nerves, whispering away the tension. It amazed her, this regularity of all the momentous things in her life happening at this very shore. It was like a divine coincidence. Almost a joke, if you had any sense of humour. There was nothing significant about this evening and yet it had this air of uncertainty about it she could almost taste. It excited her senses, in that strange way only the unexpected can.
Her thoughts began eddying around her in unforgiving knots. She ran her fingers through her hair as if to get rid of all the thinking. The smell of smoke in it made her wrinkle her nose. 'Must be that autowallah.' She smoothed her skirt over her knees. The scab had left its mark. She felt it and smiled slightly, an onlooker would've have seen a grimace. Love had a cruel way of giving up on her time and again. Or maybe she got tired of it before it bloomed. Either way, they didn't understand each other - she shoving it into a corner, while it gave her the cold shoulder ever so often. 'Oh I am through with this line of thought. Can I just enjoy this breeze and not let it lull me into devious routes?'
The smell of some freshly roasted bhutta tickled her. Uncrossing her legs, she got herself one, extra nimbu squeezed onto it just the way she liked. 'Aah. I shall enjoy this. Right now. Without the past or a future riddle me into ignoring the present. Wow I think evenings make me pensive! What has gotten into me lately?' She chewed through the corn, meticulously, almost angrily. Chomped through row after row in quiet determination. Like she was swallowing one thought at a time. And still images flitted through her mind, almost gone in a glimpse.
Forgotten flowers in a basket. A pale moon shining obscenely. Notes on a piano and words too familiar. Hands wrapped around her. Hands too shy to hold her. Hands holding hers. Hands refusing to hold hers. Hands wrung in despair. Hands lifted in anger. Hands upturned in wonder. Hands saying hello. Hands waving goodbye. She chewed on, abandoning herself to the glory of a thought, then pushing it away in mock anger. She played on this way, enjoying the swish of the waves, the lilt of the breeze. And then, as if too soon, he came by and sat down.
She frowned in disappointment, "I thought you weren't coming." "Not coming? But I told you I would." "Well then, I guess I hoped you wouldn't. Remember that solitude thing I was harping about? That was painfully true. And the believe it or not, turns out my hunch, my hunch was wrong. Sometimes I am as bad reading myself as I am reading others. I am so wrong. So very wrong. I should have known you would come."