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“Now that our coffee has arrived, what do we do?” she asked him, making every effort to sound rude.

“Talk, maybe.” Either he was too dumb to see she was annoyed, or he chose to ignore it. She preferred to assume the former.

“About what?” her rudeness was somehow mellowing down.

It was true. She didn’t know what to talk about. He didn’t look like the kind of guy who would be discussing his opinions on Marxist Feminism in postmodern literature. Or anything to do with literature for that matter. He looked like someone who would read his Google news in his tablet every morning.

“We could talk about our likes and dislikes.” he suggested. “Do you like blue?”

He was looking at her nails. They were uneven, with rough edges and the blue nail paint looked like blotches of ink on her tanned hands. And all he could assume was she liked blue?  And she realized he had totally misunderstood. It was supposed to give out the message that she didn’t care to go for a manicure, because she doesn’t really want to look good for him. It was supposed to mean that she was an unconventional girl who chose to wear blue instead of the usual red or pink. It was supposed to give him an idea of what kind of woman he was accepting into his life. But he had totally missed the point.

She opened her mouth to tell him that, but memories started flooding in. Days and nights of endless arguments with Kaushik. Her Kaushik. The man she thought was so perfect for her. But then it was this perfectness that brought the bitterness. Which slowly began to erode them and led to arguments. She blamed him of being a male chauvinist while he claimed to be just protective. He blamed her of being a pseudo-feminist when all she did was keep her ideals aside to please him as a partner. At the end, they ended up being strangers. There were no more discussions on literature and poetry. Only awkward apologies and goodbyes.

“Are you okay?” she was shaken out of her painful memories.

This man sitting in front of her was so unlike Kaushik. She didn’t know what to call him. Innocent? Simple? If only she could be like him. Seeing things as they were. Not reading between the lines. Ignoring the lines. Not wishing to plunge deeper and deeper into everything that life offered her. To be content floating at the surface….

As she began to why she can’t be like him, she could feel her eyes welling up with envy…


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