Monday, February 8, 2010

But the cue cards read differently

I will do it. I will say it to him. It will happen.

That had been her magic mantra the minute she opened her eyes this morning. The night before those words were chanted over and over again. They became a lullabye that followed her into deep slumber.

The old man had told her repeatedly. Gather your courage Nesa. Say out loud what you feel and the actions will follow.

He was a wise old man. His had spent countless years studying the human behavior. His work as a surface technician allowed him this silent observation. Nobody cares about what a cleaner thinks. All they want is the floor of their office swept and mopped, the waste paper basket empty, their tables wiped clean. Minimal eye contact. Enter, clean, empty, exit. Sometimes a grunt is offered in the guise of thank you.

That morning she went through her normal routine with an extra dose of vigor. She felt that she had a new sense of purpose. She spent double the time in the shower, pampering herself to the new body cream bath she bought at the pharmacy last weekend. The label read ''Sensuous rose. Bring out the woman in you.'' Perfect. She slathered perfumed lotion all over her body. Then she carefully took the new blouse and skirt that she laid out on her bed. The ruffled sleeves of the polka dot blouse complemented the bias cut of her chili red skirt. As she put them on, she looked at herself in the mirror and liked what she saw. She felt like a Latin dancer ready for some hot salsa action on the dance floor in a smoky bar.

When she reached the office nobody was around except for the resident pigeon who perched daily at the window sill in hopes of some bread crumb. Good. She was early. Enough time for her to mentally prepare herself for the situation while waiting for her sweetheart to arrive. At times she wondered why it was so difficult for her to even start a conversation with him. Once she looked over to the cubicle next to hers where he was to ask him if he wanted to go out for coffee. But when he looked up at her she just chickened out. All she could do was mumble some unintelligible excuse and sat down to stare at her computer. Oh and she might as well do the L sign on her forehead with her forefinger and thumb. Loser.

But not today. Everything's going well so far. It will turn out fine. What do I have to lose? I will say hello, tell him that he looks nice, then ask him if he's free this weekend. If he says yes, I will ask him out for lunch. If I get lucky, maybe he might want to go watch a movie as well. If he says no, then I'll just smile and wish him a nice day.

She kept on looking at the clock on the wall. Why did it have to tick so s-l-o-w-l-y?

The wise old man came in to empty the paper bins. She said good morning to him. He nodded and smiled. Almost as if he knew what she was up to and approved of her plans.

After what seemed like an eternity she heard foot steps heading to her cubicle. The person stopped at the one next to hers. She heard a slight cough. Uh-oh. Did he catch the flu bug?

She nearly jumped up from her chair to ask her question straight away. Two reasons: one, she had so anticipated this moment and two, she was afraid that courage might desert her again. But that little voice inside her calmed her down. Oh come on Nesa. At least let him switch on his computer. He needs to check his emails, update his FB status. You don't want him to see you as a desperate virgin, do you?

So she waited. Patiently. Hmmm. La la la. Drumming her fingers on the table. Ah he has switched on his computer. She could hear that annoying Microsoft sound. Maybe ten minutes more.

No no do it now.

She went straight to the other side to see him. He looked surprised to find her standing in front of him. Maybe he didn't expect anyone to be in the office that early.

He stood up and looked at her. He said hello. But didn't smile.

She just stared at him. The lines she had been rehearsing were at the tip of her tongue, ready to come out as the words she so wanted him to hear. But something stopped him.

Seconds passed. Thick silence filled the air.

"Yes, Nesa?"

"Err...Dorai, I think your fly's undone."

"Oh damn."

He turned the other way, his back facing her. She could see him fumbling with the zip of his trousers.

She ran to the ladies, locked the door and kicked herself for screwing it all up again.

Dorai sat down slowly. He took some time to try and understand what had just happened. As he stared blankly at the wall of his cubicle, the scene replayed itself in slowmo in his mind, like some B-grade horror movie in which the ugly psychopathic puppet was running after the bimbo teenage blonde.

Then he put his head in his hands and sighed in disbelief.

From the corner of his eye he could see the cleaner with his broom. The old man looked at him and shook his head sadly. And continued sweeping the tiled floor.

The wise old man had told him once. If you like her, go ahead and tell her. What is getting your pride hurt a little compared to a lifetime of uncertainty?

And he had busted his chance yet again.

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  1. it had to be "Dorai" la.. gosh! but it was a good read and great laugh.. thanks Yatie, it was precisely what the doctor had prescribed!

  2. LOL! Good one, Yati...good one!!! :)