Over Tea

It was a cold rainy night as we sat at a local restaurant and sipped hot tea. The weather had been too hot and too dry, so the spell of bone chilling rain was a welcome change. Hot tea just made the whole experience all the more serene.

Unfortunately the man sitting opposite me was anything but serene at the moment. He played with his food in a wary way and completely ignored his tea. A fact I found sacrilegious but I wasn’t about to kick a man when he was in deep thought about being down. He’ll talk when he’s ready.

“Seriously, You’ve talked to her before, you’ve been chatting with her for a week! Why you still being so twitchy?”. Okay, maybe patience isn’t my strongest attribute.

“You don’t get it, she’s perfect for me, I don’t want to screw this up”, he said emphatically, before finally taking a swing of his cooling tea.

“Perfect how? You barely know her!”

“What do you understand about love? You look at the world to clinically. You don’t know how it feels to truly love someone” He gave me a look of disgust just to drive the point home that he disapproves of my robotic ways. I swallowed my angry retort and washed it down with some tea.

“What I’m trying to say is, don’t jump to conclusions, you’re just meeting her for tea not a romantic dinner date.” The dry look I got for my words indicated they were not appreciated.

“You don’t understand!! She’s kind and loving and….wants the same thing I want. It’s destiny. It’s meant to be”

“This isn’t bollywood man, you have no clue if she even likes you that way”. His expression elevated to a death glare. Time to take some corrective action.

“What do you like about her?” I asked quickly, hoping he’ll let me change the subject. It worked.

“ She’s everything I wanted in a girlfriend,” he started with a smile. I mentally kicked myself for asking for this. “ She’s a free spirit, a proper adventurer but a home body too, not the kind to be stuck in dead end jobs like us, she goes where she wants but follows traditions too. She even wants to have kids soon!”

“Er…right,” I said cautiously “She told you all this?”

“No I discovered it from her instagram account.” I actually kicked myself to stop the sarcasm bubbling up. I would not provoke him. Not now.

“So you met her on tinder and got to know her from instagram?”

“Yes. But I’ve talked to her once and texted her as well.”

“Oh, and you’ve gotten to talking about marriage and kids and all this quickly? Wow man!”

“No, we mainly talk about work and the weather.”

“Then how’d you…..she’s put up a lot of pictures with kids on her instagram hasn’t she?” I asked in exasperation.

He doesn’t respond and appears lost in thought at the family they’d raise together. I blame Bollywood for this nonsense.

“Please don’t go into this with such crazy expectations. She not gonna be hat she shows on instagram all the time you know. There will be a lot of lows. Hell, you may not even like each other.” I try to bargain.

“I asked you here to be my wingman, not to be negative about it,” He says looking annoyed at the lecture. “She’s the one. I can feel it.”

“You said that about the last one too. And expected the world from that relationship. Look how that ended.” Bad move. I was prepared to duck if he throws a punch at me but he calmed down and went back to his death glare instead.

“Look I want this to work to. But let it grow organically. Don’t force her into anything and expect her to be this dream girl you have in your head. It isn’t fair to her.”

“You really do expect the worst in people don’t you?” That hurt somehow.

“Just trying to help” I say curtly and we both fall into an uneasy silence. A silence punctuated by the rain that had started up again and the slow sipping of fresh tea.

I finally broke the silence when I saw a woman enter the hotel. She did look a lot like the girl my friend was currently planning on courting but as I expected she looked exhausted from the days work as well as fighting the rain to get here. Poor lady didn’t look at all adventurous and elegant right now. Just simple and a little tired, though it appeared she did try and fail to freshen up before reaching here.

“She’s here bro!” I hiss over to my friend and watch as his face lit up and he turned with a smile. His smile wavered slightly when he saw her and he hesitated for a second before getting up to go greet and sit with her. She smiled when she saw him, a good sign. My friend can clean up pretty well when he wanted to.

I watched them talk and for a moment I let myself hope that this would go well, that my friend would see the girl in front of him, not the woman he expected her to be. Maybe I am too cynical at times. With a soft smile I paid my bill and opened my umbrella. After a final look back at the couple having an animated conversation, I walked out slowly into the rain.

A month later I was back in the same restaurant sitting opposite the same friend who was grumbling about how the girl was nothing like what he expected and was a lot more boring than what he expected. Apparently she found him too demanding as well. Who would have seen that coming.

“But I’m telling you bro. I’ve met this girl at work. I think I’m in love…..”

I sighed and looked out as the rain slowly began to pour.

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