Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Past Perfect


Sheila had finished cleaning up her cubicle and her computer. The mailbox was done except for personal folder which was always the last thing she looked at when moving from one gig to the next. A professional nomad, Sheila had mastered the fine art of leaving one job and arriving at another to the point it was nearly stress-free.

There was this mail from a couple of years ago when she had started working here with no subject line. The flash flood of memories stormed in the moment she opened it and she regretted it right away. This was possibly the worst time to revisit the past - specially one that has seemed so perfect and attainable.

Chetan - Got your message. Glad to know you made it back safe despite the stormy weather. Thank you so much for coming to see me, for the memorable weekend and delightful company. I'd love to see you again.

Take care,
Sheila.

Hey Sheila,

I enjoyed the time we spent together very much as well. Let me summarize,

1. The meeting and brief walk through the mall.
2. The meeting continued and a long walk through the park.
3. The lunch your favorite Greek restaurant.
4. The drive to "the quaint little town" an hour south.
5. The walk through the downtown.
6. The quirky chai place.
7. The skating rink.
8. The liberty wall.
9. The pizza dinner.
10.The opening act of the guitar concert.
11.Meeting the musician.
12.The final act and you moving to the music.
13.The beers.
14.The ice cream and a half.
15.The search for my car.
16.The retrieval of car.
17.The quest for gas and its quenching.
18.The drive back to your city.
19.The call that turned me back to stay back in your city.
20.The Sunday morning meeting.
21.The conversations on the couch.
22.The last minute breakfast.
23.The new hair-do.
24.The platonic hug - :)
25.The bid well till next time.

Whew..that was a lot of different things. Glad we could make it happen.

Chetan.

Chetan - Lovely summary ! Being that God is in the details...

1. The meeting and brief walk through the mall.
My first impression is "This does not feel wrong". That would be a first in my life. Funny how we both hate shopping but met at a mall and you scored your first point holding the door open for me at Nordstrom.


2. The meeting continued and a long walk through the park.
Feeling of peace and well-being despite myself. The conversation flows effortlessly. This does not feel like our first ever meeting. I notice the unusual red and orange berries on the trees - have not taken in nature's small bounties in a long time. You said berriferous or something like that.

3. The lunch your favorite Greek restaurant.
After you declined to go to my favorite sushi place. Wondered what the sight of freshly rolled fish may have done to the quality of conversation or your ability to keep down your food. Did not get a chance to find out. Maybe next time.

4. The drive to "the quaint little town" an hour south.
Listened to a little bit of something by Coldplay on a warm afternoon. That priceless look on your face when I described the sales pitch some guys have made to me trying to sell themselves as "desirable" husband material.

5. The walk through the downtown.
The unsuccessful quest for the new age look complete with a Free Tibet tee.

6. The quirky chai place.
Notice the kids having fun from the window but can't see the one of kind burger joint that you try to show me. The incredible timing of me needing my evening chai fix and finding just the perfect place for it.

7. The skating rink.
Never watched a sport that close. Felt acutely aware of my missing athletic genes. I could as well be a different genus and species from those boys in the rink.

8. The liberty wall.
Chetan refuses to write "Chetan was here". My Kanada skills fails me but could you have said "Chetan ivaga bandidare" or whatever it is that "Chetan was here" translates to in your language.

9. The pizza dinner.
The beer that I thought may be spiked and refused to share :) I really wanted one of my own.

10.The opening act of the guitar concert.
Amazing what passion can do to a humble acoustic guitar

11.Meeting the musician.
I thought she exuded joy from every pore of her being - did you feel that too ?

12.The final act and you moving to the music.
The "one last encores". You have a left foot and a half - a little better than my two . Did you notice I hear better in one ear than the other ?

13.The beers.
Felt like a juvenile delinquent being asked to produce ID.

14.The ice cream and a half.
Back home these pistachio flavored things sometimes come in an unappetizing shade of green. Notice the Zen about you as you talk to the towing guy and work on the ice-cream in tandem. Am duly impressed and what's best you did not even try.

15.The search for my car.
For a moment I think I have met someone more directionally challenged than I am. The pleasure was short-lived. We sadly discover that your car was towed away for not being  parked right . Ouch !

16.The retrieval of car.
The talk of divine retribution with the cab driver - strange how conversations can go with perfect strangers. The twist in the tale of a wonderful evening - meeting the conman back at the towing place who signs the receipt for cash in pencil.

17.The quest for gas and its quenching.
Blind leading the blind to a closed gas station.

18.The drive back to my city.
I think about the day and am filled with a quiet kind of happiness, wonder if every thing meant nearly the same to both of us. Yet I coil up some with angst - maybe trepidation. Not sure why though.

19.The call that turned me back to stay back in your city.
Did not know that but thanks for staying.

20.The Sunday morning meeting
Liked seeing you as I might on an ordinary morning. It was not a date anymore.

21.The conversations on the couch.
Being called the cud chewing bovine and having my fingers and toes checked out. I draw a line at my teeth though. You put your foot on display and I am not sure if "impressive" is an appropriate and acceptable reaction to it.

22.The last minute breakfast.
I am beginning to think you are a nice guy.

23.The new hair-do.
Thanks to having something besides dental floss to do it with. Liked that you wanted to see me with my hair swept back.

24.The platonic hug - :)
A bone-crushing one though :)

25.The bid well till next time.
The quarter of a full hug qualifying the sum to be referred to in plural.

-Sheila.

No comments: