“How many cups of coffee do you now drink?”
The tooth brush freezes in my hand for a second. I force it back into my mouth, get it out, rinse my mouth and reply, “Six, seven, eight…don’t really know. Why do you ask?” I get out of the bathroom.
“Nothing just wanted to know.”
I close the door behind me and advance to the living room. You have already gone there, seated yourself, in the brown arm chair, beside the open window. You hesitate for a second before taking the newspaper. You take it, let it drop, and smile. Curiosity was not filling me, you told me all the same: “It’s funny. You used to hate coffee back then.”
‘Back then’ hangs in the air. I ponder upon it. When was ‘back then’? You cut through my thoughts, “It’s very different now,” you say.
“It’s very different now,” I echo.
You jump from your seat, throw the newspaper and go. “Nothing worth reading about”, you muttered. I occupy your brown arm chair, beside the window. I pick the newspaper from the ground, and read. Later, I get bored and realize that nothing is worth reading about.
I go to the kitchen and pour myself water. I look at the walls, as old as you and me, and ponder again on “back then.” I spill the water. I get out of the kitchen without clearing the mess I made. I go back to the living room, curl myself on the sofa. It’s getting cold. Winter must be impending. I close the window. I forget what I was thinking, but I don’t care. I’ll think something new. I think and think. I think and cry. Thinking makes me cry. I stop thinking and I pace the room. But memories flood me.
“Back then” is fixed at a point in time. Every day, the distance between it and me widens. It creates a gap, a huge gap, and everything is sucked in.
You come out of the room, the one at the end of the corridor. You don’t see me and it makes no difference. It’s not me you got out for.
Between me and back then, there is a billion or so minutes, forever divided between two pairs of eyes. Two pairs of eyes see different things. And then, the past is lost, in between. It doesn’t scare me that now will also eventually turn into another “back then.” I don’t care for now. But the minutes, they hold me captive.
You, wherever you are, so attached to me I cannot bear you, so faraway I miss you, have you ever thought of it? For the minutes do hold us captive. Years will pass through our entities, broken into minutes, and we’ll live, in them, never getting out, hoping we did. And we’ll live them, together, but away. It will kill us, but we’ll draw a feeble pretense of life. Now, we are only rehearsing.
You get out. “You have spilled water in the kitchen?” you say.
"Yes. I’ll go clean it.”
“It’s okay, I already did so.”
And you go away.
You, whomever you are, do you still love me?