They caught a glimpse of each other every day – every morning, to be precise – in the ‘Daily Deli Café House’. She would be barking her orders on the phone to some poor soul with a set of ears which must have gone very sound sensitive, as she would barge into the café house, bump into a stranger thereby spilling his or her coffee, ruin that person’s morning further with a fluent compilation of f-words and continue in the same spirit. In contrast, he would be nodding his head ten times in a split second while taking mental notes from someone on the other end of his phone, as he would walk at the speed of a snail, bump into the glass door for the thousandth time and yet, continue nodding without a grimace. Their eyes would meet for a moment, as she carried a cup of coffee with an air of someone who was carrying the burden of the world on her shoulders and he balanced six cups in his hands with phone tucked between his ears and shoulders with the ease of a person who could have done it all with his mighty-mighty-pointer, and they would scamper onto their route.
That morning was destined. She didn’t collide with a stranger and he didn’t crash into the door and both could order their coffee without their daily bouts of accidents. They did notice the remarkable difference to the start of that morning and were beaming to it, when they ran into each other…literally. She screamed as her single cup of coffee spilt on her black jeans and he uttered “I’m so sorry” as six cups of coffee washed his chest.
“Did you scald yourself?” he asked apologetically, giving a helping hand to the woman.
“All credits to YOU for that,” she said as she raised herself from the floor and pressed three layers of tissues on the soaked part of her jeans.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized again, “I was in a hurry. Let me take you to a hospital.”
“I kid you not!” the woman chewed her words, “Nobody’s time ain’t as precious as MINE.”
And with that she left the place in a fury he had never experienced before.
“Where is our angry bird today?” he asked to amuse himself while he waited for his coffee the next morning. It was a Sunday, and he felt as free as a loose feather to have his phone silent in his pocket.
“Looks like a lucky day for all of us here,” chirped the waiter, “I’m not missing that bitch of a woman.”
“There…there…” corrected the man as he paid his bill, “We do not know the baggage other people carry.”
Another preachy idiot, thought the waiter in his mind. “You are too kind sir … a very rare thing in today’s world,” he beamed to the man anyhow, returned the change money and grimaced when he could turn his face around.
The man decided to have his coffee in the café house today. Was he waiting to see that woman with the tongue made of fire? Did the opposites really attract – that much? Was he suicidal enough to have a spark for such a feline being? Well, he judged it better to ignore his inner voice for now and continue to sip his coffee as he devoured every tidy page of the newspaper.
He was reading through the pages when his eyes fell on something in obituary section.
“She gave a tough time to a lot of people for a long time – including cancer,” read an obituary next to that woman’s picture in which she actually bore a smile and even had a stethoscope around her neck.
He felt his mind spiraling back to her words – “I kid you not! Nobody’s time ain’t as precious as mine,” she had said.