The sight of those greens lining the cobbled path leading to our favourite prosaic looking café still stirred up the light inside my heart. The ordinary looking surroundings held extraordinary memories of past and opportunities for future. It was a path that many lovers may have taken in the past, making it probably a landmark in their lives. Nostalgia swept him as he walked through the same path way after years. He could not help his eyes which were assessing it all, searching for old symbols and looking for the new changes.
On way to his destination, Danny met some known faces. Some of their eyes were older now, but still held the same spark as they used to have years ago. He acknowledged each of their greetings with a nod and smile. Not actually stopping for anyone as today he was too eager to meet the love of his life after years. The sound of his shoes against the stones was like music to his ears today. Music he had forgotten to hear now since so many years. The memory was almost close to be wiped off. So in many ways he was thankful for this reminder life had given him; and fortunately he had the good sense to grab it.
A whip of fresh air brought the fragrant memories of beautiful orchids along with it to his senses. So, his feet turned to the source of that fragrance, the shop of his favourite florist seven years ago. The shop was much the same as it used to be back then, decorated with colorful, vibrant, fragrant and varied flowers. Only the look of owner himself had changed somewhat. Few lines of grays in hair now marked his otherwise exuberant personality. The shop owner looked up from the task of tendering his beloved flowers. On approaching him, the shop owner had given him a warm, recognizing smile, exchanged a few pleasantries before asking same old question knowingly, “Same flowers?” In response, Danny had answered him with the same words he used to use years ago, “Yes same, orchids for big kids”.
Few moments later, Danny’s hands were carrying a big bouquet of orchids and his heart the slightest hope. Hope that once his girlfriend sees these beauties, she will give him the same bright smile like she used to seven years ago. Thinking about times all those years ago he teared up a bit. How his own acts of ignoring her, the love between them had cost him losing the girl he had met then.
Wiping a lone tear he continued on his way, gathering lost smile from the fragrance of orchids he had managed to breathe in. This fragrance still connected Danny with Cindy, his love from more than seven years. At least, that is how he always thought of her as and felt so regardless of circumstances or the kind of distances between them. Even when he felt older, his love for her had not died, never had. What had died was maybe his focus, his will to tell her how much he still cared for her. How much he still loved her, always had. What had died was maybe…..his heart; or maybe, the brain had taken control over heart. Maybe yes, his brain was the culprit for the distances between them; which had made him prioritize other pressing matters of life.
But now when he was at last made to open his eyes, he had decided to earn his girlfriend back. So what some of their distances had increased; their hearts were still intertwined by an unbreakable bond. “Thank Goodness for that” he sighed with relief mentally, when his destination came within his vision.
Soon enough he was sitting inside, at the window seat which showcased the greenery outside. He could also keep an eye at the entrance from here, making his wait somewhat more bearable. Grinning he checked his pockets again, whether the Valentine’s Day gift he had bought for Cindy was still safe. After easing his worry on that front, he glued his eyes to the entrance. His wait was about to end, but these last few minutes felt like an eternity to him. He ordered the coffee anyway, the same flavor which they used to seven years ago. Today was a special day and he wanted everything to be just the way it used to be back in time, when they both were younger.
Danny knew that Cindy will arrive any moment now and he was not wrong. As Cindy stepped inside that cozy café, her eyes turned to their favourite chair. He smiled, “Some habits never change, and from now on, I will make sure that I am favourite habit always”. Her warm brown eyes softened after seeing him as she captured the chair in front of him and received her favourite orchids.
Their eyes had found their own way, having their own silent conversations. Some conversations reminded them of their memories with this place, some of shared smiles; and some of shared tears. Some conversations reminded how this place had seen them plan their life, college life and then life afterwards. There were some failed movie plans, some successful set of other memories. But above all was the memory of their intertwined hands, enjoying to just be there in those moments. Those moments which had soon turned into hope for their future, hope which had given them courage to continue.
They were still this way when the server brought their favourite coffee, breaking their trance.
Through the steam of coffee his vision captured the persona of his angel. The angel who was his biggest support for all these past years. When his desire to make a good living for them had turned into a greedy race, he didn’t know. What he did know now was he shall try to be his Cindy’s Danny in true sense now. Danny she had fallen in love with, in whose name she had submitted her entire life. He smiled gently, his fingers trembling on seeing Cindy was extending her hand to hold his. Her fingers captured his in their softness. “Are we back?” she asked, “Like really-really back?” He nodded and answered, “Yes we are and I intend to be here henceforth, for us.”
“But….but what should I call you now?” Danny asked continuing.
“You mean, girlfriend, best friend or….wife?” Cindy counter-questioned winking naughtily.
He laughed whole-heartily at this, after years. How he had missed sometimes simple, sometimes funny, sometimes naughty conversations with Cindy? His Cindy, who before becoming his wife, had been his best friend and his girlfriend. But life had made his heart and mind focus on everything and everyone but her. Slowly-slowly he had become so used to his presence; he forgot to give her attention. He forgot to hold meaningful and senseless conversations with her. Life became limited to questions about dinner and their four year old son’s school; or why was he late again from office. He would not even have noticed had he not found her crying alone looking at their old photo together.
That sight had broken his heart. Crying himself, breaking himself too he had promised her that he will bring back “her boy friend” and “best friend” back. So here they were, with him wishing “Happy Valentine’s Day” to Cindy and gifting her favourite ‘dark chocolate’ to her. The smile on her lips, which he had forgotten made his heart beam and he would have almost missed her next words. “Your gift” she whispered.
On his questioning look, she held his both hands and said, “Your gift is that….you got me back. You got your girlfriend and best friend back in your wife. Happy Valentine’s Day….boyfriend!”
“Thank You” was all Danny could manage; promising himself to be the “husband, boy friend and best friend, father to their son”, his Cindy had expected him to be. After all it almost took losing his wife, to make him realize that his ‘best friend’ and ‘girlfriend’ needed him as much.
© 2018 Charu Bhatnagar