I do not recall what compelled me to turn back and approach her but nonetheless, I did so. A rational voice inside me cautioned me to stay away as my advancement may not be taken too frivolously in the present times of distrust and mishaps. However, the man in me was more than eager to get acquainted with this damsel. Not knowing the perfect line to start with I just stood there beside her trying hard to come up with something as a conversation starter. To my bewilderment, she turned towards me and ushered a smile that could have stopped any damn war on earth. Like some invisible impetus drove me, I recalled myself mumbling some uncanny words making lesser sense now than I thought it did that day. However, I found myself chatting with this mystery woman and surprisingly she was laughing at my words. She offered me the shelter of her umbrella which I more than graciously accepted.

Before I knew it I had asked her out for a cup of coffee and to my surprise she amiably accepted. We then bolted across the street to the crowded diner which now sheltered wet disgruntled bystanders and took a table to the corner. Looking at her face to face gave me an out of the world feeling, like the one above had stopped making the kind of her.  I ordered a hot latte and she, a black tea with two cubes of sugar. She started talking about how she loved this place, growing up to highly intellectual parents who introduced her to the world of books. She had always wanted to become a playwright and often sat in the same diner writing stories creeping from her vivid imagination. She came across as an unaffectedly cheerful person. Her laughter carried the sound of music undefined and inexplicable.  I enquired what she was up to in this unmerciful rain to which she nonchalantly replied just hanging around a bit! I seemed to have opened up to her a lot telling her about my aspirations and dreams relating to my career, the thoughts that perturbed me and simple random acts that made me happy. She listened to me boring her mystical eyes deep into my soul. She cared and she understood.

After about an hour she excused herself to the ladies room to which I asked her to be back soon, she promised with a smile,  she will return. I waited for quite a while before I went in search for her. She seemed to have bailed on me. I asked a few people around whether they had seen her, nobody appeared to have noticed. Distraught I came back to our table and waited a bit longer but to no avail. Upset over how things turned out I called to the waitress for the check. The check arrived with only the hot latte as billable with no sign of the black tea. I called to the waitress to enquire about the discrepancy and told her that I would also be paying for the young lady who was sitting beside me. My coherent sensible thoughts went for a toss when the waitress clarified that she and everyone else working saw only me entering the diner and that I was sitting all alone for all this time.

I sat there for a while reflecting the past hour. I did not know what to make of it but my heart knew it to be real and true. She was right there laughing at my jokes, listening to me sulk, sharing her joys and sorrows. She was real! She had to be, she promised to return and maybe someday she will. Someday I’ll come across her on a rainy afternoon and we would sit by and talk maybe till then I’ll wait.  Amelia! That was her name.


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