I was parting with this lady—the lady whose smile is giving me a heartburn. Have you seen this lady? This lady who served me coffee, along with a buttermilk cookie? I made her rush for an extra sachet of sugar and a spoon—when I dropped the one I had on the floor. She wore a compassionate smile, her lips painted
fuchsia, and mysterious dimples hung in the brown cheeks.
How was I supposed to reward her for her service? My frugality bit me, chewed away my heart as I rose gently and looked into her eyes, expecting them to be eager to collect what remained after the price of the coffee was accounted for. So I tried to see her as I tried to go unseen seeing her and her unfazed, dimpled smile that sank my heart into the bottom of my cup that she had picked up from my table, with care so, left and returned with a smile, offering to serve whatever I liked. Whatever I liked? Is turmoil served here, my dear? I wanted to say in a soft voice that could match her grace, call her mine and dear, just so to set up a small affinity. Let me drown, let me. I am shrieking in my heart. My nose feels warm. I just broke up with my wife of four years.
Thank you, sir, she smiles, implying that it was time to leave. Thank you is what my wife had said to me in a bitter, sarcastic tone that still gnawed at my stomach, as I fumbled my pocket for a coin to leave for her and stomped out of the café. The door closed behind me and, through the glass window, I looked back at the woman now peering on—without a smile—the coin I left. Her face barren and plain. I started walking away from the cafe when the woman came running after me. Sir! Your locket, sir. Is that your wife’s photo?
I had a lump in my throat at this question. She too had a dimple, I said. I am not sure why. Let me drown, please.