This was an exercise my friend and I followed few months back, continuing the write-up by taking each other’s words as a cue point!
The Coffee House
She was sitting cross-legged.
Her eyes, engrossed in the activities around, the magnifier was up and running. As the radar was working its way, a couple of glances came my way, glances, mind you. There were looking for something, fetching rather. “Can I have mustard?” she asked the waiter.
She empties the mustard sachet onto the plate and hungrily bit into her sandwich. A couple of bites and she realised he was watching her. She looks up straight into him and lets the embarrassment show on her cheeks “don’t watch me like that” she says. He smiles and turns his glance away. His radar turned off, hers comes on!
He lets her have her turn to monitor, he looks outside the window, at nothing, just lost in thought. He knows she’s looking, doesn’t stop her, doesn’t wish to. She’s trying to read him, frame, and keep it to herself. “You dress too loud, maybe if you go subtle, you’d come out better”, he remarks as to break her focus, and force her into a tangent.
She takes the bait and starts to defend herself but stops mid-sentence. “Don’t -! I don’t give a shit about it! We were talking of something more important than how I can and cannot look” She smiles in self-congratulatory mode at finally being able to catch him ‘in the act’ He smiles without mocking her, knowing she’s relishing that little victory. He chooses instead to compliment her “You’re finally able to catch my tangents” She smiles at his attempt at gaining the upper hand. This time, she keeps it to herself. And accepts his compliment gracefully.
‘She’s not bad’, he thinks. While sipping the crushed coffee beans with hot water, he observes her, and by now, a mere glimpse is more than enough. He thinks of the eternal quote, renders it in his own context, smiles again. “Try the lemon chicken, its nice, but I don’t think you’d like it”, she initiates. I grab a bite, and prove her right. I didn’t like it.
She waits for his reaction! He accuses her of being hungry and hence the suggestion. She laughs and brushes it off. He tells her finally that he didn’t like it. The small talk on the surface doesn’t break the threads of their earlier conversation. She goes back to it “yeah so what were we talking about?”