Faux Pas4 mins 6.4K 4 mins 6.4K
A year ago Deepak got acquainted with a pleasant young lady who managed a nearby store. In an act quite characteristic of Deepak, jovial and friendly as he was, he proceeded to actively try to befriend her; and succeeded! In the year that followed, most of the time he spent with her has been at her shopping store. Stopping in once or twice a week, to do his shopping and chat with her for a bit. He did not interfere with her work and always checked with her whether she has time if he came to visit, wants to etc.
Today when he stepped inside, he saw her wiping tables. Her straight dark hair shone even brighter in the morning sunlight, and her back formed a perfect framework for the perfect cuts of her petite torso.
When she heard the bell, she turned, exposing a shadow across her face. He looked up to meet her eyes, but she straightened up and walked away towards a counter.
“Today it’s different,” he said to himself.
He returned to his favourite stand posing as if looking out for stuff to buy, but actually he was noticing her behaviour all the time. He saw that she exchanged pleasantries with everyone while they paid. He wandered around and studying her, noticed her different details. Today she wore a special pink ribbon around her hair bun. He discovered small ladybugs printed on the pink ribbon, surrounded by dew drops. He dragged himself all over for an hour, waiting for her to come up. But no. Once this customer left, he drifted towards her "hey! are you okay?"
Her eyes thawed “An anonymous customer had complained about your presence in the store, and I should spend less time with you here to avoid causing any trouble.”
“You must wait until I come over to you.”
So Deepak waited till she came down to have lunch with him.
“The gist of the complaint seems to be that the customer thought you are in some way menacing me.
Just do you remember what happened at the sale last week?”
“Ah! You nailed it. I should have seen it coming”
“You were shouting ‘vegan– vegan’, for the burgers, and you even don’t realise when the tongue slipped off and you were yelling ‘vagina! vagina!’ instead!”
“My! my! You are a pretty young lady and I am a six foot two inch tall, hefty autistic man who looks like a mountain bear.”
“Since that day I am inviting lecherous comments” she raised her eyebrows and her body became tense.
“One person was incensed that I had allowed a cheapster to visit me regularly at the store and said that I should be 'disciplined by her superiors'. Another comment asked whose idea it was for you to visit me at my workplace, implying that you were stalking me. A third person was so insinuated, that he had made a complaint to get me to stop meeting you around working hours…..am I not hurting your feelings?”
“So there were no comments expressing sympathy that it was just a slip of tongue from a person braving his genetic condition?”
She shook her head. Deepak exhaled and let out a puff of air.
“I admit that they are not knowing my specific circumstances or my character. It was not wholly unreasonable for these questions to occur to people who do not know me. The problem is that they made statements that were... less than considerate. They could have tried finding about me, known exactly how I spent these days in misery. Desperately trying to remember every conversation, going over every interaction trying to figure why I got bungled up so that people had misinterpreted everything! An anti-social that I actually am. I had agonised over and over again at having accidentally blurted out what should have not! Even then is it so scandalous!
What’s the wrong nurturing this particular friendship? Am I actually stalking you?”
“Did I make up a complaint to get rid of you?”
“Were we friends at all, or was I just crazy?”
“You are probably the best friend I have ever had, and ….I love you.”
“You love me?” Deepak blushed. “Thankfully, in time we will get past all this and get the same people to conclude the comments were simply wrong.”
She leaned in, and her perfume wafted inside his nostrils “I don't think we need to worry so much with the comments anymore.”
She closed the conversation covering down her hand on his and looking intently with her autistic eyes into his autistic ones.