A typical weekday. But not so typical evening. Who knew the girl, Sagar was chatting with for the past week worked in the same building as he did.
So a time and place was agreed upon and they decided to meet that evening. Sagar was there before Antara. He picked a table just opposite the bar counter. An interesting bouquet of dim coppery lights hung like a pendant above the table.
It was 6.30 when Antara entered. Sagar was on a phone call. He waved at her from his chair, as he continued the call. When she reached near the table he apologetically took an excuse, as he indicated 1 minute with his finger. He didn’t get up to receive her.
“So, how are you doing! You know you look prettier in person than your pictures.” He remedied the situation as he put the phone back in his pocket.
Antara smiled her thanks and fixed a hair strand behind her ear.
“Interesting watch!” She returned the compliment.
Sagar started talking about his collection of watches. Then they talked about usual things like work, what they did, hobbies, music and so on.
They had ordered coffee but after 10 minutes they cancelled the order. The music and ambience warranted a drink.
“Tell me a secret!” Antara asked notoriously.
“But if i did, it will no longer be a secret” he evaded.
“How about we trade a secret” she made him a deal.
“Okay,” he leaned in closer, “I never told this to anyone but I once used to be a ballet dancer” he mocked.
They both burst into a fit of laughter. And Sagar subtley tucked her loose hair strand behind her ear.
“Let’s dance” she insisted.
“I really can’t” he excused.
“But this is my favourite song” she got up this time.
Sagar was hesitant. He made a face and said would like to enjoy the drink. This upset Antara a bit.
He could have at least accompanied her. She felt offended and embarrassed.
After finishing their drinks Antara said she must leave. He nodded.
They got up and shook hands. Thanks were exchanged. He looked at her in anticipation for another date. But she didnt return the eye contact.
They made their way towards the door. Antara was a little ahead of Sagar. When she got outside she turned back and discovered that Sagar was still walking.
Well not exactly walking. He was slow and was limping with one hand on his crutches. Sagar’s left leg was…. He only had one leg.
A ghost of guilt and regret clogged her chest. So that’s why he never got up and said he couldn’t dance. And she was being so pushy. Why wouldn’t he tell her about it. How could she be so blind to notice. Antara was sad, angry and embarrassed.
I hope to see you again! Sagar said with uncertainty.
“Indeed!” She replied. Trying not to look at the leg.
It had started raining. “My cab is waiting” she waved hurriedly.
Sagar stood there and watched her walking swiftly, then taking quick and long steps, and then running towards the main road.