Hand in Hand – Chapter 4:
It was Wednesday afternoon and I was sitting by the window, sipping my favourite coffee made in that old coffee maker that I inherited from my mother which she got from granny. It gives an authentic aroma to the coffee that pulls me back to my childhood memories when I used to come home running to my granny who was a coffee adherent, our home always smelled of coffee. This coffee maker is one of those things I can never relinquish. Today I was in my blues so I skipped work .It is one of those days I don’t wish to be with anyone but myself. I am a deep thinker and an asocial, and I enjoy the cocoon of my small apartment. It was almost a month in Paris and I was home sick. Except for the time I spent with Eugene outside the office, everything here was so not happening. And until yesterday I was fine, but yesterday while leaving from work, I caught a sight of a girl, pretty much beautiful, kissing Eugene. It was a short kiss, but I won’t kiss a guy unless he wants to. And I felt sick, and I was neither willing to meet Eugene, nor in a state to go to work and face him.
Amidst my thought process I heard the thumping on my door and my thoughts abruptly halted; left me a little lost. I put down my coffee and walked towards the door. The moment I opened it, I was startled to see Eugene at the door. It was a weekday and I didn’t expect him to be here. His hair was a bit dishevelled and he was out of breath as if he had been jogging for a while. As per my etiquettes, I should be inviting him inside but frankly I was in no mood to be even with a guy whom I have a little crush on, the guy who probably has a girlfriend. The guy I am running away from. I unceremoniously ask him “How come you are here? You should be at work”.
He replies in disgruntled tone “So do you?”
I quickly realise I should be polite and say in a low polite voice “I am unwell and I informed Christine”
But seems I’ve disappointed him and he replies in a guttural way “Correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am your superior and not Christine”. And I know I have hit him on the wrong spot at a wrong day. Instead of going on with the conversation and step aside and wave my left arm in air to invite him. He enters without any other argument. I ask him casually like nothing happened “Would you like a glass of water?” and he nods. I walk to my water cooler and fill a glass of water. But when I turn, I find him inhaling the aroma of my coffee. I hand him the glass of water and our fingers slightly touch before he pulls the glass from my hand. I ignore any eye contact from him and look out of the window. He moved closer and stands beside me and said “What kind of coffee is this? I have never smelled something so strong and so..soothing”
“it’s just another coffee from my old coffee maker” it wasn’t anything that common but I didn’t want to brag about it, at least today.
“Can I have a cup if you don’t mind making me one?” he asked innocently.
“Yeah sure, give me a moment” and I rushed towards the table on which the coffee maker is placed. I picked one of the plain mugs, I have 15 mugs placed on the TV unit, and I love collecting mugs. While I was making coffee, he picked one of the minions with a higgledy-piggledy expression and said “Is this you?” with a smirk. I smiled and said “Yeah! Christy says I resemble a minion as my face is very expressive”. He picks one of the mugs and says “These are gifted or you collect?”
“The one I was drinking in, was gifted and the one with a monkey’s face too. The others I’ve collected”
“Oh seems it’s your hobby?”
“Yeah one of the hobbies”
“Ah what else are your hobbies?” he asked like he is interrogating me.
Instead of answering, I simply offer him the mug of coffee, and he clutched it and I cannot pull my fingers. I can feel the heat of the mug, and the warmth of his skin. He isn’t letting go off the grip and I don’t know how to react. I say “It tastes better when hot” and he lets go off my fingers. My palm has turned red from the exposure to heat of the mug, and I feel the burning sensation. I excuse myself and place my palm under the tap. When I return he asks “Are you alright?” and I can see his concern. “Yeah I am alright” and I smile. He places his mug beside mine and pulls my arm and turns it to have a look at my palm. He exclaims horrified “It’s so red”
I try to pull my arm back but he doesn’t let go and continues “I am so sorry Amelie, I was just pissed and.. and I am sorry”
“Hey it’s okay”
“What happened today, why didn’t you come to work?”
“Ah, I was feeling homesick”
“Oh, you could have called me up”
“Ahh..nooo, not that big a deal, frankly I am a bit tired of hearing French, skipping my meals because this area is residential and I have to walk 2 blocks to get to a good restaurant. And I am tired of not able to talk to anyone because well, no one speaks English”
“Yeah, you do, but I can’t bug you all the time, and also you have plenty other work and other people in your life too”
“Yeah I know, I probably cannot understand how you feel being in a totally different country. Hmph..you wanna watch some movie and grab some good food?”
“I would love to, but today I am not much in my being”, and frankly I cannot be with him and not get affected by his charm.
“So let’s eat something at least?” and he asks very sweetly.
“How come you are not at work?” I ask out of the blue to get rid of the eating plan.
“My work was done, and I was worried about you, I called you 5 times, you didn’t answer me” and suddenly I felt good and a little embarrassed to ignore his calls, the only thought of he being worried about me was enough to make me blush.
“So are we going out, or you need some more convincing?”
“Yes, let me get ready”
“You better do it quick”
“5 minutes” and we both grin foolishly.
I wear my denim, white and gray striped T-Shirt, and my denim jacket. I had to change in my shower area, because he was in my room. I wear my sneakers sitting on my bed, and the moment I am done, he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the door. I surge with him as if we are late for a flight. But his touch feels great.
He turned my blues to pinks.