I was sitting in Costa Coffee, staring at blank screen, trying to cure writer’s block. That’s when the story entered in track pants and blue tee and took a table diagonal to me. She looked like any other girl to me but something felt annoyingly familiar about her.
She caught me staring and smiled mindlessly. I smiled back and tried to resume writing. There was nothing I could write and there was no way I could get that girl off my mind, I started describing her.
“Must be in her twenties and couldn’t have cared lesser about her clothes” I wrote and realised something, “her tee is madame, track pants are enamur with nike sport shoes. Was she dressed like this on purpose?” And I realised why was she dressed like that.
I knew instinctively, her idea of a Sunday was meeting a friend in Costa coffee and spending hours chatting. She would read some book on her way back home where she will have dinner with her roommates and go to bed with the same book. I knew it because I have spent Sundays like that. I have wore same clothes and read same book; some twenty years ago.
“Sorry.. sorry.. sorry.. I woke up at 9:20. But you know the problems of common washrooms in hostels. It got me late.” The other girl started apologising almost from the entrance
“What dirty things you were doing last night that bathing was so necessary” Enamor track pants replied
“You know… I managed to sneak in this guy last night..”
“You stay in a girl’s hostel with a security higher than Tihar jail. You did nothing dirtier than drooling in your sleep.”
“Why do you ask, if you are so smart? OMG! They didn’t give you cookie with coffee?”
“They did, I ate it while waiting for you.”
“Order another coffee than, I want my cookie.”
“I don’t want coffee”
The other girl went to counter without uttering a word. I knew she would order a coffee there. I knew enamor track pants will have 3-4 coffees while other girl will have the complimentary cookies. They will order some snack in between and other girl would keep trying to convince enamor pants to go to Dunkin donuts. I knew all of it. I knew because it has happened before. It has happened to me.
The thing familiar about enamor track pants is that, she is me. I know it’s weird, I was looking at 20 years younger me. My eyes didn’t wander off after that. I continued staring. After a while, I walked to their table to talk to her.
“Hi!!” She tried to be polite while wondering why am I standing there.
“Have you completed that book? Is it a nice read?” I couldn’t find anything else to say, “Actually, someone suggested it to me.”
“I hope it’s nice. I just started it.”
I gave her a Thumbs up and left. I wanted to tell her that I have already lived the life she is living. I wanted to tell her she won’t be able to complete the book. I wanted to tell her that she was me.
Instead, I tried to convince myself that it was only a coincidence. Face resemblance, same dressing sense, same conversation I had with my friend, same coffee orders and a middle aged woman standing blank next to my table; then enquiring about my book was all a coincidence.