Avichal’s eyes got fixed at her and his heart missed a beat. While this was not the first time it happened, it was still a very rare event. It was the 3rd time in 22 years of his life that he liked a girl. In fact, not just liked, but really really liked. A girl who was not only beautiful but also sitting less than 10 feet away from him. A beautiful girl in red dress with slightly curly hair. The hair that were dancing to the tune of morning breeze.
She smiled without being animated and showed a depth of thoughtfulness in her expressions. He loved her. Or may be, love was the most approximate word that he could come up with as he sat stupefied with his eyes fixed on her.
The time was moving at the speed of 1 minute per 60 seconds but for Avichal, nothing moved for a few moments. And then she moved. She waived to the waiter and pointed at something in menu. “She wanted to order something. But where did this waiter come from?” Avichal suddenly realized that he was in a restaurant; an open air restaurant overlooking the sea beyond several coconut trees. A restaurant where morning breeze made the hair dance. The shoulder length hair of that beautiful, fair girl in red dress.
The waiter was gone and the girl was now leaning over the table. Her elbows resting on the table and her chin resting on her palms. Her eyes looking at the sea beyond the coconut trees. The depth of thoughtfulness was back on her face. Avichal’s mind was jammed. The thoughts had stopped flowing. The eyes were seeing everything but the mind was noticing nothing but that girl.
Several moments had passed. Or may be several hours. Avichal didn’t know. He didn’t even care. She lifted her purse as she kept the coffee mug on the table after the last sip . Avichal’s heart missed another beat. “Was she about to leave?” He was dumbstruck. “It was so early. Why doesn’t she order one more coffee. Or just sit there looking at the sea.” How he wished that the waiter would come back right now; just appear out of thin air with a tray in his hands and another coffee on the tray.
And she did stay. There wasn’t a second round of coffee. But she stayed nonetheless. She just checked something in her purse and kept it back on the empty chair next to her. Now Avichal was worried. “What if she leaves?” She wouldn’t sit here forever; looking at the sea beyond the coconut trees. “Eventually, she would leave. And he would leave too.” The thought made him restless. His mind was flooded with many thoughts. All of them answering a single question: how could he continue to see her? Even when the morning breeze had stopped, and he had left Goa to attend to his work in Bangalore, and the beautiful girl in red dress with shoulder length hair had gone back to where she came from, how could he continue to keep her in the views of his eyes. “How?”
He didn’t want to meet her or talk to her. At least not yet. He just wanted to keep seeing her. From a distance less than 10 feet. As she sat wearing a red dress with her elbows on the table, her face on the palms and her eyes on the sea.
There was a loud voice. “Somebody was calling him. Why now? __Oh, it’s Mom. But what is she doing here?” He opened his eyes. The sunlight had just started entering his room from the window. His mother called again as he remained motionless on his bed. Still stupefied, he looked at the white ceiling of his room. For a moment, he wasn’t sure what just happened. And then it occurred to him. Ignoring his mother, he closed his eyes again. Slowly but firmly. Getting back to the restaurant at the sea shore. But the restaurant was now a faint memory and the girl dissolved away as he reached out to her. He kept groping.