In the morning, I picked up a green kurta from P’s closet to match my faded blue fab India skirt. The kurta was a peculiar shade of neon green. Not something I would have voluntarily bought myself.
I realized I was trailing him a few moments after walking down the road. He was a good 30 paces ahead of me. He never turned around to look, which is odd if you’re looking for an auto, which he evidently was. He must have been getting out of his gate the same time I was exiting mine. A mild tilt of the head and he couldn’t have missed me. A mild tilt was inevitable unless he was wearing blinders. Missed that bizarre new born shoot green, missed the immediate realization that he was in the exact same shade of green. He would have made that comparison immediately. He was always rather fashion forward, braver while dressing than most men I knew.
I watched his thin frame walking cautiously ahead of me. He had gotten even thinner. It must be the stress of his mother’s death. His friend had sent me a message to attend the funeral a week ago. I hadn’t gone.
He reached the end of the road and I knew he would cross over to the other side and try and catch a rick, which meant he would be facing me soon enough.
I immediately pretended to be on the phone. He looked straight at me with sad accomplishment. It wasn’t the first time we had successfully avoided each other. It wouldn’t be the last. Though if he had been 5 or 10 paces ahead of me, we’re both absolutely sure we’d greet each other in high pitched hello’s. Maybe we’d even laugh about being in the exact shade of fab India green. Maybe.
Later in the day, the same friend who’d messaged me about his mother’s death meets me in an official capacity. He is a writer. He’s been writing for a famous director that I desperately want to nab for my company. He’s also published a book of graphic verse that he brings for me as an advance birthday gift he says.
I open the A3 size hard bound and immediately start reading. We can get to business in a bit.
The words that jump up at me are the sort of words you never forget. I’d spent hours lingering over them, over analyzing them and falling in love with them 6 years ago. Words that had sealed an infatuation as pure love.
“You didn’t write this did you”
“Of course I did….who else would” he says bemused
“I feel like I’ve read them before” I lie. Of course I had. They were branded in my brain.
“I’d mailed them to X years ago…maybe you read them then? The newer poems are at the end of the book”
It almost seemed funny instead of upsetting after all these years. Maybe I’d replace the high pitched ‘Hello’ with a condescending ‘Nice Shirt’ I decided.