A short conversation - Lila
M (in a low, soft voice; His eyes were constantly moving, avoiding her eyes) : “How are you?”
Lila (head slightly bent, eyes almost closed): “I’m fine. And you?”
M (His hovering eyes finally found a tree conveniently placed behind and around her face. He stared vacantly to the left of her face at the tree. He found the position of his face ridiculous but couldn’t think of any better position. He answered nonchalantly): “I’m ok. Life’s going on.”
There was an awkward silence in their conversation. Both were frantically searching for topics of conversation and couldn’t find any they both would be comfortable with. Lila bit her lips – emotions and words competing painfully within her. M looked at his watch.
Lila (She raised her head slightly and sighed with visible effort): “I-I’m going home now for the vacation.”
M (Moving his eyes from the left of her face to the right, stealthily looking at her face and again fixing it at the tree behind): “Ah. Ok. How is your health?”
Lila (pleased by the question that came like a milestone on a highway giving direction to the journey): “My health is ok. What about yours? And, how is your work?” (She risked looking at his face now)
M (irritated for having continued the conversation): “I am all right. Work’s ok. Everything is just the same.”
Lila (Tears clouding her mind): “What else?”
M (He said something and was surprised to find his throat choked and the words inaudible. With more control and deliberation…): “Nothing much has been happening. Life’s quite monotonous.”
Lila: “I gotto go. See you later.”
The stammering words were battered by the emotion she couldn’t conceal and as she turned, her head hung down and she walked away hastily. He saw her hands bending up to her face as she sat in the car and shut the door. The car raced forward and stole itself away from his vision.
He stood staring as the car turned to a vacant moistness. The corpulence of his friend slowly filled his aching eye.
C: “Hey, I’ve got the coffee. Who were you talking to?”
M (Shaking himself up and putting on as wicked a smile as possible): “My Ex!”
C (delectably sipping in the aromatic coffee): “You still in touch?” (Ending with note of surprise)
M: “No.” (with a wistful look)