She stormed in through the door pushing the waiter aside walking straight at the end of the restaurant. The waiter turned and so did all the young couples seated to celebrate the occasion. The slow jazz in her head had been replaced with hard rock where the image she saw in a split second was playing like a leaf falling from a tree in slow motion again and again.
She dumped herself on the last large round corner table, which was beautifully laid with a white laced tablecloth, flowers neatly arranged, a red candle lit next to ‘reserved’ label placed. She was neither in a state nor mood to notice any detail around. Her head was on fire and her tears were play hide and seek of not embarrassing her in public.
“How could he?” she said to herself disconsolately.
“Who?” a voice fell on her ears like the cold breeze that comes through when you open the window to a heated room.
She tried to look at the frame on the other side of the candle; the candle light was not enough to get a glimpse more than a white shirt, a side of a neck and his lips.
She was shaken from her thoughts, “I am sorry, this is reserved.” She said trying to get up noticing the label placed on the table.
“No, it’s not reserved, it’s complicated, you can sit here!” he said on a lighter note. As she stood he noticed her over the candle light in a beautiful white dress, long earrings that dangled and playfully touching her shoulders, her delicate hands holding yellow lilies making a perfect combination against her white background. She kept moving her bracelet against her wrist with one hand making a public display of her mental state. She was in six inch stilettos, moving her weight from one foot to another making it obvious she wasn’t used to them.
“You may sit, till you gather yourself.” He gestured with his hand. She noticed his hand, sleeves rolled up, strong hands, long fingers.
She sat dropping the flowers next to the gift, “I don’t need to gather myself, I did all I could.”
“Am sure you did, I mean flowers, gift and…what more could you do.” His voice had a charm and she could feel the chuckle.
“I mean and you, perfect for the occasion, isn’t it, so I truly agree how could he?” now she could see his smile too.
“I never thought it would be her, I saw them today, hand in hand, kissing zealously.”
“oh so that the problem, he kissed her. Anyway, I am Rohan. He said moving his hand towards her.
“Hi, I am Ananya, she shook his hand hesitantly and immediately took it back.” She hadn’t felt rougher hands than those. “and that’s not the problem….I mean the kissing bit.”
“Then…the hand in hand bit…by the way nice to meet you Ananya.” He chortled again.
“No, it’s my 25th birthday today.”
“Ah, that’s the problem Ananya, It shouldn’t be women get better with age.”
“Ahhh, no, it is him with her, that’s the problem.” She at last blurted out.
The waiter stood there like the hour hand of the clock looking at the minute and the second’s hand.
“Now what?” she looked arrow straight at him.
“Can you please get us two white wines and something to eat please?” Rohan directed the hour hand to move.
“Vegetarian” the seconds hand announced.
“So he with her, how long?” Rohan tried getting analytic.
“I don’t know, I don’t want to know, she didn’t look great, I thought my birthday would be a big thing for him, at least that’s what he said a few days back. And this was my first formal Valentine.”
“Yes for the rest, I just told my friends I had one, but actually sat back home watching movies and munching popcorn. Are you writing something?”
“ahhh get that, so formal Valentine.” He paused, “Writing, no, nothing.”
The wine arrived and so did the VEG starters. Rohan raised the glass and looked at her; she had plunged into the eateries.”
He raised his glass, “Happy Birthday Ananya”…Ananya gave a puzzled look with her mouth stuffed.
“You know I have been starving since last 2 months, to look the best this day…and he just didn’t care…now I realize, I am so hungry.”
“Mission accomplished, eat to your hearts content.”
She spoke of her quirks and he heard it with delight giving her a new perspective to look at things. A long dinner went on for 2 hours exchanging details about her.
“And that’s how I fell for him; I was so looking forward to have him as my valentine and to exchange gifts, but the sight I saw. I would never speak to him ever.”
“Ananya!” Rohan stopped her from whining further and came a little close to her and sat next to her.
She saw him, “Ruffled hair, sharp eyes and nose, thin lips, light stubble and his strong arms made him look very handsome.
“Ananya” he shook her from her reverie. There is nothing that ever is bad, everything happens for a reason and happens for good, okay!
For Ananya, she has fallen in love at first sight…”yes” she murmured hiding her admiration being exposed.
“Do you love or miss him?”
“No, I realize I don’t but it was my first valentine, I had thought of a lovely dinner, flowers, exchange of gifts….”
“Did you have one already?” he smiled.
She noticed the candle light, the beautiful ambiance, then flowers…it was all there.
He picked up a flower from the vase, “Will you be my Valentine?”
“Yes, I will…” she was happiness personified. “But my gift?” added gleefully.
“Oh..” he made a gloomy face and handed over a piece of paper to her, “will this do?”
She was mesmerized at what she saw, a beautiful portrait of hers. “It looks so live, thank you…I …I don’t believe you drew me so well. Thank you…I mean…”
“Shhhh…so now you have a gift too.” I am an artist, had come to capture some valentine moments for my story…with no idea I would meet my Valentine here.
“Can I drop you home?” Ananya offered, “I promise I wouldn’t whine now.”
“Okay, let’s go, I wouldn’t let you whine ever.”