They seemed like just another couple at the Café , but they were not.
At least not as of now.
Hmm , this is going well , she thought , sipping on her strawberry smoothie , sneaking a glance at the guy that her very concerned parents were trying to set her up with.
Well educated ? Check . Open minded ? Check . Cultured ? Check . She was checking her very long must – have list referring the mental notes she’d taken over the last one hour or so. And so far , all Checks .
He was asking her something , she realized .
“Am Sorry , could you say that again please? “
“Check ? ”
“Huh” She said startled , wondering if she was saying all that out loud.
“Should I call for the cheque? We’ll call it a day? ” He asked again.
Patient ? Check. Smashing Smile ? Check Check.
“We can split the bill. I am okay with that.” She said.
“Lets keep it simple. I pick up this one, you go next.” He offered with nonchalance.
“So there will be a next meeting? ” She enquired.
“So there will not be a next meeting? ” He raised an eye brow.
Sense of humour ? Check. Gosh , two could play this game.
“Next week , same place , same time?” She gave in.
“Tomorrow , same place , same time and its a date .” He definitely had the last word with that as she checked a couple of more boxes in her head.
Between them they had tried one half of the menu and spoken about everything from childhood memories to career aspirations. Same time , Same place , conversations just like the entire week had flown in pretty freely .
“So , why arranged marriage” He asked in the most matter of fact tone one can ask someone the most awkward question .
“Because love didn’t work out” She said spontaneously. Sensing his concern that if now she was opting for this relationship on a rebound she quickly clarified how the heart break and the falling apart and the falling back in place had all happened and were safely in the past .
Even though she was a little averse to the idea of being set up , this whole ‘arrangement’ was turning out quite okay.
“So I guess , my parents plan to call your parents today . ” She warned him as they were stepping out. “It’s been a week and they were badgering me for an answer” .
“So what was your answer ? ” He grinned .
“Umm. I’d tell you but after that I’ll have to kill you” She said in her best mysterious voice.
She knew , the answer to him was as obvious as it was to her. They had made a good first impression on each other and held it – the recruitment specialist in her tried to put it bluntly.
The girl in her was falling again, after a really long time.
Her father made the much discussed call around 08:30 pm that evening.
A couple of pleasantries later , he got down to the point. The children as per him had met each other a couple of times and they liked the boy. So what next ?
She tried to act all busy helping her mother set the dinner table but she was hanging on to every word. A couple of minutes later , father hung up saying , “Sure let me call you back on that”.
The suspense was killing her as they sat down to eat.
“Sharma Ji , says the boy needs a little more time to decide. He has a job change interview in a couple of weeks post which he’ll let us know” Her father shared the news with everyone on the table by the end of which every one was looking at her as if she could cast some magical spell and see into the future to tell them what happens next.
“You know something papa.. at work , we come across people we don’t want to let go and yet not finalize as yet. They are people we put on hold till we wait for someone better to come along. Coz they are the one’s that are just about okay. Not great. But okay. We call them Mediocre. ”
They were looking at her , almost sure of what she’ll say next.
“You could call them back and say , he can take his own time. I’ve made up my mind. I am not going ahead”.
They knew better not to pry further. They had raised her after all , they took pride in her being the best.
A stranger she met 7 days ago , who she almost committed herself to spend the rest of her life with , just made her feel Mediocre.
She crossed the most important box inside her head Puts me before everything else ? .
Nope. He was off the list.
Join me on my journey of #EveryDayWomen tales, in this 26 part short story series all through April. To read the other stories you can visit me at the AtoZChallenge page here . To know more about AtoZChallenge , you may want to read my very first post here and my Theme reveal post here. If you liked what I wrote or didn’t , do leave me a note , a remark , a critique or even an idea for my next story ! Hope to see you again tomorrow.