He was pretty good looking. That chap who worked on the 5th floor. Everyday I would go to restaurant for a cup of tea at 8:35. And there he would be sitting at the same old table. Drinking his coffee reading the newspaper. Stripes shirt, blue tie, brown briefcase.
I grew fond of him. I would sit two tables across from him sipping my cup of tea, stealing glances at him, pretending to read my M &B while he would read the Times of India. And then five minutes to 9 we would both get up, pay our bills and take the flight up the lift. He would get off at 5th floor and I on the 7th (top one!).
I noticed little things about him, how he would never hold the handle of the mug but hold it with both hands clutching on to the warmth on cold mornings.
How he would open his cigarette case, fiddle with the cigarettes and put them back in. Never smoking any of it. The case was always full. Then before paying the bill he would stare at his wallet a full 20 seconds.
Oh God, I was in love with him. He had a receeding hairline, he was just a tweed taller than me and looked prone to putting on weight. But oh god, I loved him.
He would smile at him, as I would enter the restaurant. And we would chat our way up on the lift (elevator!) Just the usual hellos, hope your day is good on the 30 second ride.
And then it happened. One day I came to the restaurant and didn't see him. I wondered. Worried more when I didn't see him the next day and the day after and the day after... Who would I ask? I didn't even know his name!
Two whole weeks went by, I almost got used to getting disappointed every morning.
And then I saw him, back at the same table. My heart skipped a beat. He smiled and I smiled back. So many questions and so much to say and only a 30 second lift ride ! And then I saw another guy pat his back, "Hey Raj" Ah I thought his name is Raj! So how was your honeymoon? Did you have fun at Kulu Manali?"
A tea stained saree, a few tear drops and a few missed heartbeats was all I was left with.