Le café d’art

The stranger at Le café d’art corner table has been eyeing her for the past few days. Monica knows from instinct, that the individual will make a move pretty soon. Just then from the corner of her eye, she notices the stranger get up and start to walk towards her table.
‘Oh boy, here it goes’. Quickly opening her book, Monica pretends to read. ‘Hi’ says the person. Monica looks up in mock surprise. ‘I have been noticing you for the past few days and wanted to, err, I mean, actually… the stranger stuttering, desperately searching for words. ‘It seems you have been stalking me’ interrupts Monica. ‘No, no, no nothing like that’ says the person. ‘So what is it then?’ asks Monica, sternly. An uneasy pause follows. ‘The book?’ says the stranger. ‘The book?’ queries Monica. ‘You mean to say you waited for a week and finally gathered the courage to come up and ask me about a book?’ The person nods nervously. A bewildered Monica is not sure about being more surprised about the stranger’s approach or about the fact that it had happened to her a few times before. ‘No one has courage nowadays’ Monica murmurs under her breath. ‘It is called I wish I could fly’ calling out the name with deliberate pauses. ‘Coffee?’ the person blurts out. ‘What?’ questions Monica. ‘Would you like to have coffee with me?’ asks the stranger, this time with a bit more authority. Another uneasy pause follows. Ignoring the stranger, Monica slowly turns to her book and starts to read again. The stranger getting the hint grudgingly slinks back to the corner table. Monica reminisces the time when something like this happened in college. The guy was so nervous that he wet his pants, or at work where one of her colleagues stumbled and fell in nervousness. She had this kind of effect on people. She was good looking, voluptuous, with sharp features. To top that, cocky and uber confident.
It is time for her to leave. Monica puts the book back into her bag and gathers her stuff. ‘At least this person had the guts to attempt it’, she thinks aloud.  A quick cursory confirmatory glance towards the corner table confirms that the stranger is not going to bother her anymore. The person is ready to exit and make a hasty retreat. Monica pauses, changes her mind, pauses for a brief moment again, changes direction, approaches the stranger’s table.
The stranger senses trouble. With a quizzed look the person stands up. Monica is at the table now. ‘Tea’ says Monica with half a smile. The stranger is even more perplexed. ‘Tea, I prefer tea, I am not a coffee person’ says Monica, smiling. Pleasantly surprised the stranger breathes a sigh of relief and signals the Barista. The stranger offers Monica a seat at the table. She sits, introducing herself. ‘I am Monica’. The stranger smiles and responds, ‘I am Sameera’. 

Illustration: Gino