That Cup of Coffee

I toy with this one scenario in my mind; that each of us is given a few hours to spend at a coffee shop with the one person we lost to either death or circumstance. I know it’s not always probable but sometimes I’m cruising down the road in my car and the landscape lures me to make that brief escape. The waves of the Arabian sea ebb and flow with the breeze while the sun’s rays fall diagonally across the waters creating little specks of diamonds over it and I suddenly notice the azure sky or the serenity of the clouds and I am tempted to indulge in this absurd fantasy. There’s something languorous about that afternoon cup of coffee. There is no meal choice to make, no menu to pore over. There’s nothing special about the place or the beverage per se, and there may or may not be anything practical to be discussed. It’s just that little lull in the day, between a rushed morning and a packed evening when one can pause, reflect and share.

For some it may be a sibling or a parent they lost, a friend from whom they drifted apart, an ex-lover they left too abruptly, an attraction they failed to pursue or a relative they wronged. It simmers inside us, the desire to explain our actions especially when we have had the time to introspect and dissect the way we felt. We reinvent our personalities every decade or so and seem to arrive at a new understanding of ourselves, our journeys and our motivations. We may want to say- Now I know why I behaved as I did or why we never saw eye to eye. It may be validation-I proved you wrong! Or graceful defeat -I realize now that you were right. Time, distance and experience help us make sense of the past and it would be therapeutic to seek that someone out, to confess, to explain, to cry or to celebrate. Or all of these at once, because the hours are stolen, the carriage will become a pumpkin.

I want to know where that someone was and how they have been. Equally, I want to talk about everyday subjects such as the advent of streaming platforms and shows I’ve watched. I want to give short reviews about books I loved (or hated) and await the response. I want my work to be assessed and argue with the critique. I want to dissect the unnecessary observations I’ve made over the years which are funny or sad, and sometimes a bit of both. I want to hear the chuckle or feel the empathy. I want to speak about interesting people I met and unexpected skills I learned. I want to say that the world became a different place since the last time we met and now we are all sewn into it by the Web, almost enmeshed and caged. Yes, I have a list of subjects to talk about that waft in and out of my sub-conscious like the vagrant sea breeze. There are anecdotes I want to share that bob up and down with the sun speckled waves I’m staring at. Finally, the sounds of a throbbing world around me demand that I release this fantasy to the vastness of the sky. It rests there for a few moments and then meets the drifting clouds that are obliged to send it where it belongs, far away from reality.

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