The evenings leading up to new years are a really busy time for me. You see, I work for an event management company which throws fabulous parties for the rich and the famous. And today, I had outdone myself, if I may be a little modest. Judging by the sheer number of people who had turned up, it was a miracle that everything had gone as per plan. If it hadn’t been for my resourcefulness and quick thinking, this party could have very well turned into a disaster!
But, this story is not about me, it’s about a girl. You see that girl there? In that corner, under the big arch to your right? Yes, the one holding a pink drink. No, it’s not a cocktail, its cranberry juice. She likes to tell everyone its vodka and cranberry, but I know better. I know she never acquired the taste for alcohol. Oh sure, she can painfully get by one drink but she’d rather not. Anyway, this story is about her. What? Surprised? That a shy little thing like that could have a story to tell? Don’t go on appearances, you’d be surprised by what these silent types have to say.
Yes, I know you can see how she’s practically pushed herself into that corner. Almost as if she tries hard enough, no one will be able to see her. But notice how she looks up occasionally and glances around to see if anyone has bothered to pay attention to her? It’s her way of hoping someone comes and coaxes her out of her little shell. Silly you say? Well, maybe. But we all have our idiosyncrasies.
You’re wondering why I know so much about her. What can I say, she intrigued me. I haven’t known her for too long. Maybe two or three months. We met at bookstore, where she was sitting cross-legged, almost buried under a pile of books, with those big chunky glasses. She hardly glanced at me as I passed her once, then twice and yet again. She was in another world. I could have been dancing in front of her and she wouldn’t have noticed.
I was with someone that day. Umm, you could call her a date. So, as my date went straight to the “Romance” section to buy a gift for someone, I decided to go to a place more guy appropriate. I thought of heading over to the magazine section, but it was too close to the self-help books. Not for a minute, did I want my date to think I read those things. I mean, I did sometimes, but really, it didn’t go with the cool and suave image I was trying to project. Hey! Don’t judge me, everyone does it!
Anyway, getting back to her! I sure as hell wouldn’t have noticed her if my date was around. She wasn’t one of them. You know, the kinds who command your attention. No, this one, she was the one who could easily fade into the background. I mean, you knew she was there, but she wasn’t the first thing you’d notice.
The first time I passed her, she had her brows scrunched up, as though she was reading something entirely disturbing. She looked young, really young. A small smile touched my face as I saw the concern apparent on her face. I don’t know why, I was tempted to go back and see what was on her face next. Her mouth had made a little “o” by now. She was holding the book so tight, her knuckles had turned white. Suddenly a gasp escaped her mouth and one hand flew to her mouth, as though she was horrified by what she had just read. That’s when she saw me. Or rather, heard me. Her reaction was so unlike anything I had seen, I had started to laugh. You have to believe me, I wasn’t laughing at her. I was laughing, because it just seemed so strange that someone could get so involved in a book in today’s world. Me? I was more of a movie person. The way I saw it, if the story was good enough, someone would make a movie about it eventually.
And that was also when she had me. With that one glance, I was hooked. Oh no, I’m not saying it was love at first sight. We’re not romantically involved. Just that I knew there was something about this woman which was magnetic. In a huff, she picked up her things and brushed past me, giving me the cold shoulder. Another time, I would have pushed it aside. But I couldn’t help but remember the expressions on her face. I felt as though I had cheated her of something which was so real to her. I picked up the book she had been reading. On an impulse, I bought it and left it for her at the billing counter. I saw her the third time as I was walking out of the store holding my date’s hand. She was watching me with those soft brown eyes, her chin tilted slightly upwards. I smiled apologetically at her hoping she would smile back. She touched her spectacles lightly and turned away, something I would learn quickly, she did when was inviting someone to talk to her.
Photograph via sxc.hu