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The Tea Conversation

Jusmi is an English teacher. Obtained her Masters in English literature from Gauhati University India shares an immense love for writing.


I was sitting on the wooden chair and reading my book. The coffee shop was not that busy at that hour of the day so I was able to peacefully continue my reading. After a few minutes, the waiter came and handed me the menu with a smile. I gave a glance at the menu and ordered a cup of cinnamon apple tea and some chocolate, brownies. His face felt maybe he was expecting something else from my side. Faking a smile he said, “ Sure Maam you can also check our other items. We have all kinds of tea, coffee and many other munchies”. I said I will definitely try someday and diverted my attention to the book. He went and in a few minutes, he returned with the order.

I took a sip of the tea it was refreshing. I liked it. I picked up a brownie as well. But, just as I was about to take a bite I saw an elderly gentleman standing near my table. He was looking at me curiously. I kept the piece down and said, “ Yes, sir can I help you with anything?”

He nodded and stared again. Now, I was getting a little nervous as well as uncomfortable. I again said, “ Sir, is everything alright?”. This time he came a little closer and said, “ Miss can I sit here for some time. I want to tell you something. It will not take more than ten minutes”.

Now, this was turning out to be utterly strange and spooky. Why would suddenly an elderly gentleman walk to me out of the blue wanting to discuss something. Strange! Very, very strange!

But, respecting his age I allowed him to sit. He sat on my table and started his story, “ Do you know this coffee shop is almost thirty years old. Now, when I was in my college one day I came here with a few of my friends for a cup of coffee. Sitting on this table now where both of us are sitting I saw a girl. She had beautiful dusky skin, jet black hair and extremely expressive eyes. One look at her and I understood she was the one for me. I wanted to go up and speak to her but she left in the wink of an eye. Now, I started coming to this coffee shop every day in the hope of seeing her again at least once. But, days turned into months still I couldn’t see any sight of her. On the forty-seventh day of our first meeting, I saw her again wearing a beautiful white dress. She looked like a heavenly nymph. I wanted to walk up to her and confess my feelings. But, somehow I could not. I was tongue-tied. All I could manage to do was to click a picture of her. She left. I lost her, I lost my love.” Hearing his story I was moved. I could clearly see the pain on his face. The pain of a man with a broken heart. Looking at my face he said further, “ Now, young lady you must be wondering why am I telling you all this. You see your eyes has a striking resemblance with her’s. I wouldn’t have realised this if it was not for your dress. You are wearing exactly the same kind of dress that she was wearing when I saw her for the last time. I guess strange things and co-incidence keeps happening. Anyways I won’t disturb you further or waste your precious time. I will take a leave now”. But, before leaving he showed me a black and white photograph of a beautiful young girl. I said, “ She is indeed very beautiful sir”. He gave me his blessings and left.

I sat there for some time, motionless. I felt guilty for not telling him that the girl in the photograph was none other than my mother Maureen. Today was her fourth death anniversary. I had worn her favourite dress and gone to the church to offer my prayers.

He had already lost her once. I didn’t want him to grief over her loss once again.

© 2020 Jusmi Saikia

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