When had the equation changed? When had she become this sloppy, tired-of-life woman, who rushed from one day to another, without time to look at her gradually bloating self? And when had Sim become, this chic urban woman, who clicked her heels in perfect rhythm, matched her designer bags to the expensive labels of her clothing, even sighed with the right balance of elegance and grace?
There is one truth about the existence of women in this competitive world. They scrutinize objects of their own species, with much more attention and critical detail than they observe the specimens of the opposite sex. She squirmed in her seat, equipped with the knowledge that Sim had definitely noticed the thin layer of soft flab around her waist, through the thick cotton of her pink kurta.
Who wears a kurta to a lunch at mainland china anyway? Sim was sitting elegantly across her, one leg draped stylishly over the other, manicured fingernails skimming through the extensive menu. Under the pretext of studying her own menu, she was actually studying Sim’s profile. Were those swarovski’s dangling from her ears? Unconsciously her hands reached out to touch the silver rings adorning her own ears. Did Sim think they were a cheap stunt at appearing chic?
Why was she suddenly so self-conscious? In her daily run, she didn’t have time to care what people were thinking about her. So why should today be any different? She knew she did not exactly look ‘unpresentable’ at any given point. So why was she letting Sim’s very prim and proper presence unnerve her to this extent?
“Don’t look now,” Sim said leaning forward, eyes still on the menu and whispering conspiratorially. Anybody would have thought she was discussing something on the menu with her. “Two handsome guys and potential dates just walked in through the door and are seated three tables behind you.”
Saying this she leaned back in her chair, hunched her shoulders slightly such that without quite appearing to do so, she was displaying her cleavage to a very tempting advantage. Don’t look now! She would never look, not today, when she was feeling her lowest best. Anyway she was here to tell Sim that she had found someone and was quite happy to be with him, so how did the presence of those two guys matter.
Sim would no doubt laugh at her and sympathise with her boyfriend, saying what on earth did he find in a slob like her, etc. All these thoughts were running through her head a she feigned interest in the menu, of which she still had to read one single word.
“Ok!” Sim said smiling at the menu, as if she had decided what to order, “Those guys have looked at our table like five times in the past five minutes!” She informed; unable to keep her increasing excitement out of her voice.
Obviously all those showers of attention were for Sim. Those guys couldn’t even see her, as she had her back to them. She just smiled a polite acknowledgement and sank further into her baseless depression.
She was quite startled, when the waiter suddenly appeared at their table with two flutes of white wine.
“But we didn’t order any?” Sim protested.
The waiter bowed his head, politely and smiled, “With compliments from the gentlemen,” he said signaling with his head in the direction behind her. As he set the glasses on the table he added, “For the beautiful lady in pink!”
Completely taken aback, she whirled around. Sure enough there were two gentlemen seated three tables behind her. Both dressed in crisp shirts and elegant ties with well-fitting suits, looking handsome. One of them, raised his own wine glass at her in a silent toast across the room and smiled a devilish smile.
She smiled, picked her own glass and returned the toast. She turned back to a startled Sim and leaned back in her chair with a smug smile. God bless boyfriends! She suddenly did feel like the prettiest woman alive…