Long, ebony dark fingers, all ten of them, spread on the stark white table. His palms were kissing the tabletop while he sat waiting for her sentence.
She giggled and continued to eat. He was trying to clear the air of suspicion that was created with her, ‘what are you upto?’ Watching the rush of moviegoers who burst out of the theatre’s exit doors a few minutes ago, he lazily scanned the melee for a known face, while she polished off the last bits of her grilled cheese sandwich. The weekend live-music band had already begun playing. Must be 9:00 PM already. “Let’s get going!” she declared. “The buses are scary at this time and I have to go all alone!” They walked out of the crowded mall, tacitly acknowledging the end of yet another date.
They hired a cycle rickshaw since the bus stop was quite a bit far away. All through the ride, she continued her cheerful endless chatter. He wanted to chat too, but it wouldn’t be cheerful at all. So he listened to her, removed his frameless glasses, nervously cleaned them, put them back on, and watched the night sky. She pointed out the newly risen moon. “It’s a moon piece!” she laughed. She was always happy.
Her bus was here. They had been waiting in the bus stop for 15 minutes now. She got on to the bus, turned around and waved at him. She sat next to the window and smiled at him. There were hardly any passengers inside. The bus had already begun to move when, he as an afterthought, chased it and got onto it. “Oh! So you are being chivalrous tonight!” she playfully punched his arm.
Her house was an hour away. It never seemed far enough to him. She fell asleep during the journey. And all he wanted to do was shake her awake and tell her a million things, all at once. But he would never be able to do that. She continued her nap, while he cracked his nervous knuckles. An hour sped by.
‘Bubye!’ She got off the bus, but not before she hugged him in the presence of strangers. He waved back at her, from the window, still crimson from the hug. His ears burned despite the October breeze. He was in love. He would tell her that, he promised himself.
In the next date.