By Saachi Shivdasani
He’s sitting on the table beside mine, reading a newspaper and sipping his coffee at regular intervals. Black coffee, I imagine. He just seems like someone who likes his coffee strong. He has on a light blue loose fitting t-shirt that compliments his slightly muscular arms with a pair of low hanging denims. I picture a lean frame under the tee. His back is to me but I imagine a cute, boyish face with sharp features and a slight stubble maybe, behind the soft curls that cover his neck.
He signals to the waitress, a petite, slender girl, for a refill. The waitress blushes red when he looks at her. A love story, I think. Unrequited love, maybe? He folds his newspaper and reaches into his bag to pull out a laptop which he sets on the table in front of him. I see her bustle to get the coffee pot still slightly dazed. Could he really be that cute? What is he, Edward Cullen? Why does he have that effect on her? Twilight, on the other hand, has gone back to working on his laptop. The waitress pours him his coffee carefully, making sure she doesn’t spill a single drop outside of his mug. I see the concentration in her face. He thanks her with a graceful gesture of his hand, never speaking.
I picture a scene from a typical old romantic film. He comes by this little coffee shop every day, at the same time, always during her shift. He sits at the same table for not more than an hour and never has more than three cups of black coffee. It was love at first sight for her. She pours him his coffee, blushing but never being able to speak a single word. How could she? She worships this man. How can she just walk up to her God and speak to him? At the same time, Twilight, our hero, comes to this cafe only for his Bella. God knows the coffee isn’t good here. He sits at the table from where he can see the counter easily without being too obvious. He likes watching her work and finds himself speechless when he has to speak to her, always speaking in gestures. He gets anxious when she doesn’t show up for work. He can’t start his day without having his dose of Bella.
Back to reality. I call out to the waitress. I know, the writer shouldn’t mess with her story. I can’t help it, though, a girl needs her coffee. She frowns at the interruption. Angrily, she comes and pours the coffee all over my table. I gasp and frantically start laying paper napkins all over the surface. He turns around and I see the cute. It’s all over his face! I see what all the hype was about. The waitress starts and drops the coffee pot. Any spill misses me by millimetres. He gets up to help her pick up the shards of glass and I unceremoniously start dropping paper napkins on the floor in an attempt to mop up the coffee. I should’ve just gone to the cafe down the street. She keeps staring at him as he picks up the last of the broken coffee pot, unaware of the lost puppy stare he’s receiving.
Another scene from the movie. Their eyes meet and they can’t look away. Unconsciously she touches a piece of glass and cuts her finger on a particularly sharp piece. A cut not too deep, but enough to make her gasp in pain and mild shock. He frowns and looks at her hand, brows furrowed. He takes her hand in his gingerly and she whimpers. He kisses her wound gently and suddenly the pain is gone. She blushes deeply. It’s the perfect meet-cute and if it were a Bollywood movie there’d be a four minute long song about love and dance and whatnot. But that doesn’t happen in my head.
She walks in and my attention turns to her. She has a presence. A tall, slender, verging on athletic presence. She could be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Her name has to be something like Yasmeen or Heidi. She walks model-like to our hero and plants a kiss on his cheek before seating herself in front of him. I can see her flawless skin and high cheekbones clearly from where I’m sitting. He shuts his laptop partially so as to have a better view of her. She’s looking everywhere but at him. He tilts his head slightly like he could be observing her in mild amusement. A twist?
We’re going back to the movie. Bella is mad. She’s jealous, she’s frustrated and hurt. He hadn’t made any sort of commitment to her and her hurt seems unreasonable, she knows, but she can’t help the tears streaming steadily down her cheeks, can she? She wasn’t supposed to expect anything but she couldn’t stop herself from feeling like they had a connection, with every look they shared and every few words they exchanged.
She means nothing to him. Just another starving, unhealthy model who wants to be part of his new screenplay. The flirting? It’s harmless, healthy even. He can make helpful contacts and strong bonds if he ever needs them. With her, even that seems unlikely, she’s new in town, she knows no one, she’s naïve. Like Cullen feels only for Bella, he feels nothing for Victoria. Well, not nothing, he’s still human even if Cullen’s a cold hearted vampire. He knows she’s gorgeous. He knows she has a dynamic personality.
Reality. He’s completely smitten by me, she’s probably thinking, I can tell by the smug look on her face. How could he not be? I’m Victoria friggin’ Angelo. She turns to signal a waitress to get her a low fat something. She looks furious. She wonders about it but only fleetingly. She needs to pay more attention to this new and upcoming Shakespeare in front of her, the one who will give her the lead in his next hit. It won’t be a typical romantic comedy, no. She wants to do something serious, something artistic, she doesn’t just wanna be a sex object.
The waitress, our Bella brings out her coffee pot, like it’s a gun and stomps toward the table again, to her arch nemesis. The waitress reaches the table and stands over her two patrons, hand on her hip. “Coffee?” she asks haughtily, chewing gum in her mouth. Twilight looks at her and shakes his head politely. Victoria, without taking her eyes off Shakespeare, pushes her cup toward Bella. Uh oh. She’s pissed. I sense another coffee spill coming on. And sure enough, a long stream of black, freshly made coffee cascades onto Victoria’s lap. She yelps. “Oops” Bella mutters with a half-smirk. Our Shakespeare laughs. He doesn’t know why, there’s just something about Bella that amazes him. Victoria jumps to her feet, cursing and Twilight attempts to stop laughing. She glares at him, expecting him to say something. He shrugs. Is the movie worth this? She contemplates for a moment.
My mind jumps to the movie again. Bella looks at Twilight, repenting suddenly. He looks at her, a gleam in his eyes and winks. She flushes again. I hear the smile in his voice when he asks her for the check. She nods, and scurries off to go get it. He packs up his things and brings out his wallet as she returns. Their hands brush against each other’s as she clumsily hands him the little slip of paper. She pulls away in a hurry like she touched something hot. Typical twilight moment. He doesn’t react. This seems routine. He keeps his sum of money, with a generous tip to show his appreciation, on the table in front of him.
He gets up and slings his bag around his shoulder. She fumbles as she backs away from the table. He doesn’t react, this seems fairly routine. He nods at her, she shies away, and he walks out the door as she looks on behind him through the glass door. Once he can’t be seen anymore, she goes back to waiting on the tables, desperately anticipating the next day, when she can see his face again and blush all over his boyish charms.