I looked at him, then looked away. My instinct told me to look at him again; I didn’t know why. Or probably I knew, but refused to accept. I glanced at my husband and smiled. He smiled back and asked me something; I couldn’t catch it – ‘Sorry, what?’ I asked.
‘Shall we order the starters? ‘ He asked again and motioned me towards the menu in my hands.
‘Yeah, order a soup for me.’ I said, pretending to look through the menu. My husband called a waiter and got busy giving orders, while I fought my urge to look back at the stranger sitting at a table in the far corner of the restaurant. ‘It’s not him. I’m sure.’ I said to shut up my inner voice. ‘How can you be so sure? it’s been 14 years…may be you are wrong.’ It asked me back. I grabbed the glass from the table and gulped down all the water.
Giving in to my inner urge, I stole a glance at him; ‘This guy looks different…there’s some resemblance, but it’s not him’. I sighed with relief. A part of me still refused to believe. Much to my surprise, I did not look away instantly. I could not comprehend why I mistook this stranger for my long lost love, but something stopped me from getting my eyes off his face. Suddenly he looked right at me. ‘Is he too looking at me, yet seeing somebody else?’ I thought to myself. We stared at each other and I felt a twinge of regret, emptiness and sorrow. ‘I wish it was you’ I thought and closed my eyes. I took a long breath and opened them after a few seconds; he was not there. I looked around the restaurant, but could not find him anywhere. ‘May be he left’. I told myself getting up from my seat and headed to the loo.
As I neared the door to the ladies toilet, someone crashed into me. ‘Sorry’ I uttered and looked up at the person. ‘It’s the same guy.’ I swallowed hard.
‘Have we met before?’ He asked me, furrowing his brow.
‘No…’I looked him in the eyes and added, ‘I don’t think so’.
‘Okay’. He smiled and started walking back towards his table. I opened the door and went inside the loo.
Bhushan came back at his table and sat down. ‘She looks quite like her’. He thought, then shook his head. ‘No, it’s been 14 years…maybe I’m wrong’. – Chirasree, a dreamer.