It was such a cozy little coffee shop. Filled with a warm chattering crowd. People laughing and chatting away as if life was as generous as it seemed; seemed from the faces of all these men an women. All wrapped up in their scarves and wools, coats and cashmeres.
Five more minutes and it was suffocating for me. The life exuding from those people. So, my coffee held in hand i walked out and sat on the lone bench outside the large shop window. The snowy sky frowned down a grey frown at the warm window, while the snowflakes were oblivious. They were oblivious to the frowning dark sky, to the only person on that bench and to the fact that they were falling. Falling to the ground to be trudged upon by hurried footsteps. In their unheeding glee they danced an intricate, delicate dance in the pale glow coming from the huge window.
Oh, they caught my eye so. I lost my train of thoughts from earlier minutes, all that shy inward cringing from people who were so busy living. The snowflakes were dancing; swirling and twirling. Slowly with an undetected pace my eyes filled with those twinkling snowflakes, they enlarged and came nearer. I was but wholly entranced. Getting up from the bench i approached them; danced with them. God, they were twirling all around me, kissing my cheeks and lips with tiny, tingling cold kisses. A quiet laugh escaped my lips and suddenly I fell silent.
It was as if i was woken from a deep dream. The invisible orchestra halted. The flakes stopped dancing and started falling again. The sky stopped frowning and looked disinterestedly away. I stood very still, growing gradually aware of myself altogether. The unexplainable silence that lived inside me had been forgotten in that moment. The aching emptiness that crawled out of my heart and filled the whole bedroom at night was out of sight for a few blessed drops of flowing time. And i stood there, still as the last heartbeat of the terminally ill.
“Why did you stop?”. Long awkward pause, two strange eyes locking gaze for the first time. One slightly uncomfortable yet willing, the other confused, mostly shy. “I mean -er – you looked so pleased with the snow. And you were smiling. I mean, not that it’s a bad thing; your smile. It’s just that I’ve never seen you smile before in all this time. Umm… All the time that I’ve been watching you sit at your table, day in and day out, sipping your coffee. Oh and by the way you dropped your coffee”. His words were rushed and he started to flush as he spoke. I presume i was wide eyed at all that this tall, seemingly “the arrogant rich” man had to say.
His attired and all the minor details boasted a stable life, the one with golf course teas and far away holidays. Yet there was something in his eyes that he felt a lot more grounded.
“You can take mine if you want to…” He trailed off again and glanced side ways to see if someone was watching. I took a deep breath and the smile that came to my lips was utterly spontaneous. Taking his cup from his hand I said, “um – thank you.” Sitting back in the bench he followed.
I took a small sip. “It’s grown cold! How ling you’ve been standing there?” My face grew warm at the thought and i looked down, “how long have I been upto my foolery?” “That wasn’t foolery. It was magic. Your eyes were glowing and your lips were smiling and that little laugh you laughed at the end; I can still hear it.” His eyes were twinkling and it felt so at home to be sitting out in the falling snow.
Drinking a cold cup if coffee next to a stranger who had probably been watching me fighting my insides in silence for quite some time now. Laughing out loud at the thought I told him all as it came to my mind. “Well, i’ve been watching you for, roughly, say three months now. In that coffee shop. You never saw me! – or anyone else for that matter. And I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a few weeks now, but”, sharp inhale, “but you are so inapproachable. Why have you shut yourself up so?”. “I- I- I was not ready for that question to be honest”, I replied blinking. “It’s a lot of things, I don’t get half of them either…” I broke off, threatening to be lost again. Sensing that perhaps, he said hurriedly, “I could help you” – seeing my raised eyebrows as I got up to leave – “with some hot coffee if you want, I mean” – his slightly ashamed face at being so direct was somehow endearing.
He motioned to the door and I walked in with him. He accidentally grazed his hand with mine. Surprisingly my heart didn’t mind that at all, it smiled on the contrary. “Would you like to hear about something I read recently? It’s about an ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams. She was lost in a woods if enchanted trees one day as she went to get firewood. She ended up at an obscure lonely castle hidden at the very heart if those woods. And she found a spell bound knight in there. Would you?”
“Hmm. Quite the fairytale it is! Yes I would like to hear more about that.”
He smiled his warm eyed smile again as we sat down.
“Oh yes, quite the fairytale it was.”
I smiled too, looking at him, as he called for warm coffee for the both of us. And, after a long time I heard my heart conspire to break free again. To not be afraid anymore. To love again.