The Moonstruck Columns

Dangling Hoop Earrings

There I stood across the Metro Cinema which was not closed down. The old dilapidated building had many passers by who walked right by twice a day but never looked up to see the magnificent theatre. And there she stood underneath it, wearing a bottle-green gown, her long, walnut brown hair running down her back and glittering in the afternoon sun, her large, hoop earrings.

It was the new year’s day I still remember. The afternoon sun was mellow and there was chill in the air – the kind of chill Calcutta can get. She saw me while I crossed the street. I should’ve worn my favourite shirt. The one where I like myself. But I thought, if it was meant to be, it will be. Bad call, I guess.

We went to the Barista in Park street after taking a short metro ride. We talked about old friends, about our stories from college. She told me about that one time when on her birthday, her friend had come and surprised him. In the middle of the story, I imagined myself doing that. She was gorgeous. Her smile was innocent and it reflected in her eyes. She wasn’t very good at faking it like those Instagram faces I often come across.

She fiddled with her cup as we had our Cappuccino. But my past eventually creeped up on me like it always does. Along with that, an anxiety walked in.

In the middle of it, I knew exactly how this date was going to go down.

“Promise me you’ll never fall in love with me” she had said earlier.

I did.

I hated myself for making her uncomfortable which she tried to hide so badly. I knew she didn’t think of me as a bad person. But I just wasn’t ready. And that was my luck.

But it’s been years since then. She made it to her fairytale land and I made peace with my memories of her.

If you think this is a sad story, well, it’s not. I went on to meet many people who were beautiful and flawed in their own ways. And all of them taught me things I would’ve never learnt if life was too kind to me.

But sometimes, when I listen to a few songs, she swims into my head along with her beautiful smile and her long, black hair and reminds me of all those old conversations we’ve had.

I know she’s happy wherever you are. I am too!

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