A Very Short Story
T A A H I R K A M A L C H A G A N
At my favourite café, an attractive woman was reading my novel. She had an afro, and she wore a funky pair of spectacles. When she looked up, I went over to her table, intrigued. She didn’t recognise me, which was perfect, because this being-famous-thing was really starting to get boring.
At my favourite café, he was there again, the writer. He wore a blue suit, looking as delicious as a slice of your favourite cake. Strategically seated, I read his novel, secretly hoping to get his attention. This time it worked!
He came over. “I’ve heard a lot about that book” he said “How are you finding it?” I played along: “Its… enchanting, entertaining, and very well crafted, it has interesting characters, and it’s insightful. Basically, everything I look for in a novel”.
As I spend more time with her, I really come to like her. We connect, and I want to see her again. But how do I reveal my true identity? Even though I am on the verge of divorce, I am still a married man. The tabloids would destroy me. They have eyes everywhere, those vultures.
Does he find me attractive? Would he have come over if I wasn’t reading his book? I get the feeling that he’s interested, although I can’t be sure. He’s so reserved, so mysterious.
“Well, it was nice meeting you” he says, standing up to leave. He gives me a lingering look with his big grey eyes, and then he is gone. My heart sinks. Everything I loved about this café fades: the soft smooth jazz, the wooden floors, the colourful abstract art on the walls, the red velvet muffins.
I’m kicking myself. I get into my car and reflect. Success came at a price: Thirty-Five, divorced three times, no kids, no love, no love, no love. I haven’t cried in twenty years, but my eyes are as watery as ever. I don’t want to be alone forever.
A solitary tear runs down my face. I’m being ridiculous: I need to stop being so needy for people’s attention. I pay the bill, and vow never to come back to this damn café. I put on my coat and scarf, and walk down the street, my teardrops leaving a trail on the pavement. A half-moon and six twinkling stars light up the night sky. “Wait”, someone calls out from behind me.
Words just get in the way of things. We look into each other’s eyes for an eternity, silently, enchanting each other with secret forces. I can tell that she’s been crying – oh my goodness! – She’s even more beautiful when she’s crying. I say: “Do you wanna have another drink?”. She smiles a special smile, the first of many.