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What happens when old friends meet after a long, long while? Questions are asked, and niceties exchanged. But does everything remain the same?
On one rainy evening, I happened to bump into an old friend at a cafe after a tiring day of work.
Excited, we held out our arms and hugged like never before. It was nice to see that we still felt the same for each other, although we didn’t look the same anymore.
Grey hair, parched wrinkled face and a coarse voice had robbed us of our youth.
For a fraction of a moment, it seemed nothing had really changed between us and then as if she felt the same corny feeling as me, she drew a step back.
We both realised that there was something invisible now that stood between us.
The look in her eyes expressed a twenty-year banishment that lingered between friends and strangers.
‘A pretty long time!’ she said with a smile.
The questions I expected her to dart at me were the imperative kind.
Usually, when we meet after a long gap the questions that follow are so predictive that they are kind of universal.
The sudden urge to know all the missing details of a person’s life is so strong that it becomes ritualistic to demand information.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect her to come up with all the ‘Wh’ questions in the world.
“How and Where the hell have you been all these years?
What are you doing now?
Who did you marry?
How many kids?”
And other similar curious questions to which I would answer in the most polite and curt way and wait for the opportunity to show her how successful a person I was now. After all, it was a golden chance to impress my past.
I was desperate to know all about her as well.
And silently hoped against hope that she was not doing better than me.
A bit guilty of my secret desire and nervous of how to put it, I smiled and eagerly watched her with great expectation, while she sipped on her coffee and spoke about the weather, the cafe and the crowd out there.
I requested to pay the bill to which she obliged with a laugh.
Eventually, I tried pitching a few questions.
But she complimented the waiter for the espresso instead and left for the door…
First published at author’s blog.
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