à la vie

“You’re very beautiful”

Its not like Charu was being complimented for the first time. In fact, the same sentence had been slapped across so many tables on so many dates by so many other people. However, Yvonne didn’t look at her while she said that. Instead, she stirred the drink in her glass as the ice cubes clinked against one another.

She’s so fucking gorgeous. 

Charu didn’t say that, no. She stuck to a “So are you!”. For as long as they’ve known each other, a date with each other never seemed to be a reality they’d ever live through. She took a big sip of her drink. They were on their second drink and were a little closer than they were during the first. None of it seemed unnatural – the sitting beside each other, the running of hands through the dense long wavy hair, the occasional noticing of little details and vocal appreciation of it, unlike before.

In her head, Charu wanted them to be sitting in a Veranda at the eighteenth floor of a building against the city lights making a bokeh as her eyes focused on the beautiful face infront of her. She imagined drizzles outside and a red, cloudy sky. And a night of conversation about all the things they had held back. But neither of them had a house to themselves on the eighteenth floor of a building. All they had were those two high chairs at a bar counter and discounted alcohol bought from their pocket money.

They’d been to a movie before where she had cautiously, yet suddenly, slipped her arm into Yvonne’s and their fingers slipped into the spaces filling bigger gaps than they both could fathom.

The light from the screen danced on her face and created beautiful light patterns. Her eyes twinkled whenever the light changed. Can I point it out? Nay. She’ll think I am noticing far too much and step back maybe.

A good movie and a lot of overthinking had landed them at this bar where they were noticing older, unattractive men who kept casting lewd stares at both of them in hope of reciprocation. It was met with laughter but Charu detested this. She detested the male gaze and didn’t like how the gaze on a feminine body was such a natural idea. She detested them gazing at her as Yvonne looked down with her hair to one side.

In one of the very many silences as she pretended to look at the bottles decorating the bar, she asked herself as to why they’d never hung out before. It was only recently that they’d started having real conversations and skillfully bumping into each other and discovering shortcuts on the road that were unknown to her. Yvonne, a beautiful girl with a beautiful name – and a fierce sense of compassion and loyalty. Her honesty flickers in her eyes, her silence, her skin and her bones.

The bartender was being generous to them and was chatting them up and recommending his favourites. That’s when Charu spontaneously went in for the second round. Her impulsiveness made her very fiesty. Her addiction for toxic people and cigarettes was a thing too annoying to endure for Yvonne. She did not mind cigarettes, she just did not like her friend turning into a Chimney. Charu was there when Yvonne cried and smoked a cigarette about a man who couldn’t understand the beauty in her soul, she had slept on a mattress as Yvonne lay cradled in love on a bed in the same room, she had also hugged her after ages on a terrace during a cold winter night because they missed each other.

If hugging her that night felt ever so right, sitting at the bar with her and laughing felt even better. There were no inhibitions when questions were thrown from either sides. The questions were answered well, with brief pauses to gather the right words. However, Yvonne didn’t need pauses. She spat the answers out like she’d known these questions all along. That’s what friendship does, it provides you with a concrete platform devoid of the threat of abandonment.

It ends with a fin where the cab arrives but there is space for another hug as one walks home and the other flies across a river, preparing to fly miles away – far away from home, familiarity and this beautiful friend who gifted her this beautiful feeling that will remain in the goosebumps she got when they were standing a breath apart and waiting for the universe to create poetry with their bodies.

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