There was a smell of fresh water laced with dust in the air. We sat in the café listening to raindrops hitting the plastic roof, the glass wall and the uneven road outside. Sometimes the wind blew strongly, spraying water over our faces.
“We should have sat inside,” I say as I wipe the icy water from my glasses for the third time.
Mohit laughs again and I wonder if I have developed a sense of humor since I last saw him or if he is just being polite. In any case, I wanted to make him laugh again – but I could not think of any more self-deprecating jokes. So I stare at the faint light between the clouds instead. Only an hour ago, we were going to watch the sun set. But bluish grey clouds darkly coated the sky now with a pink hue of color scattered across them. We were stranded.
Someone starts playing loud music again. Mohit and I turn to look at each other at the same time. I’m unsure of how to react, so I keep a neutral expression on my face as always, with my lips slightly parted and one of my eyebrows rising up on its own. He breaks our stare contest with a smile. In response, I smile my awkward smile – my lips curling but not reaching my eyes. They were playing our song.
I have always had a weird body temperature but today everybody else was visibly feeling chilly too. I considered folding my arms to feel warmer but someone once told me that it is a sign of disinterest. I did not want him to think I was disinterested. I had decided to wear my favorite shorts – I needed them to comfort me as this man sat here. My Oreo coffee was very comforting too – almost, just almost distracting me from this heartbreak of a person.
A few plants were growing near the café with colorful flowers. Their pots were flooded now, reminding me of our relationship – once beautiful and now almost dead. I like to tell myself “almost dead” and not “entirely dead” because the possibility of us getting back together is so irrationally high. Unfortunately though, between us he is the more rational one.
We are sitting on the first floor and I can see the road under us starting to flood. I draw doodles on my coffee cup. I cannot drink it anymore because it is too cold. But ordering hot coffee is never an option; I always end up burning my tongue. I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of Mohit. Not anymore.
“I haven’t heard this song in a while,” he says, “Have you?” I can just tell that his eyes are itching to wink. But we both know what he means minus the wink too.
“Yes, I have,” I decide to be honest. I have always believed there is something about his fresh, delicious perfume that makes me want to be honest. So I try taking in the smell of the cheese sandwich on the other table or the earthy aroma of the rain instead. I cannot afford to let him know that it is the all I’ve been listening to in the last three months.
“I’m sorry, Jinal,” he says.
“It’s all right. I didn’t get an umbrella either. We’ll just wait till..”
“Not for that,” he sighs. I wonder why he never loses his temper with me around. “For breaking up with you.” His eyes probe into mine.
I don’t answer. Sometimes I don’t answer when I have something brutally frank to say.
“Why did you?” I ask instead.
He tells me. He is cruel about it. This is cruelty, all in the name of being honest. But I got my closure. It made letting go easy.