Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Almost Stranger

“Good Lord Anamika!” Sejal screeched in mock horror, “since when did you start liking that awful shade of blue?”

Anamika smiled and shook her head at her best friends theatrics. “Its called powder blue by the way,” she informed Sejal. In response Sejal threw her elegant neck back in a scoff. Anamika absently stirred her coffee, as she watched Sejal go through the routine of folding her expensive snake skin jacket across the back of her chair. Her Burberry bag was given a seat of its own at their table. She rolled back the sleeves of her white silk top and pulled a menu towards her.

Leaving her friend to do a critical appraisal of what was on offer at the newly opened café, she turned to stare out of the glass panes that shielded the café from the rest of the city. Her eyes roamed over the array of colors over restless feet. Each a stranger to the one less than a foot away. An occasional step out of sync made the strangers either smile at each other, or frown their disdain. Either way, it was a discord which made them acknowledge the presence of another human being.

“It used to be my favorite color you know,” she said suddenly, startling Sejal out of the menu. “Back when Rishabh and I were dating; powder blue used to be my favorite color,” she smiled. Tears gathered at the corner of her eyes and she forced her smile wider in an attempt to cover them up.

The steward chose that moment to collect their orders. Sejal hastily ordered a hazelnut latte and diet sandwich. Anamika continued to stir her coffee. Sejal fidgeted for a couple of seconds adjusting the pearls in her ears. It was the only way she could stop herself from pushing Anamika into a conversation.

“This,” Anamika looked down at her powder blue shirt and blinked, “is a birthday gift from Rishabh. He still remembers I like powder blue.”

“Uhuh,” Sejal nodded. “That’s bull shit!”

“Sorry?”

“You used to like powder blue Ann. Like Ten years ago! Your fav color now is purple! The whole world knows that!” Sejal sat back and grinned plastically at Anamika.

“And I used to think Rishabh and I would remain best friends for life,” Anamika rested her elbows on the table and leaned on them. She squinted once again at the glass panes, “Like ten years ago? I really believed that Rishabh would remain my best friend forever.”

“That sounds like high school talk Ann and you know that,” Sejal reasoned. “It sounds like a girl who dreams of a prince charming on a white horse with a happily ever after. You are not that girl, anymore! You have grown up! And grown ups understand the concept of change. Everybody changes. Some a little more than others. It happens all the while!”

“Yeah yeah I know. I changed. I like purple instead of blue. He changed. He likes brown instead of black. But see?” Anamika leaned a little more towards Sejal. “I know he changed. I am aware he changed. I know what he has changed into. I accept it. But he still thinks I am the Ann he married seven years ago.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I still get powder blue gifts on birthdays, it means that he does not know I’d rather eat subway instead of chinese, that I like baking over cooking and that somewhere it hurts so bad that he has no time to notice this change!” A tiny tear slipped right down her cheek this time. She fumbled in her purse and pulled out a tissue. “Ten years ago, I fell in love with a stranger who became my best friend,” she sniffed, “ten years later my best friend is an almost stranger.”