He breezed in one Monday morning looking dapper in his business casual. I sat at my desk watching his head bob up and down in the cubicle next to mine. Even before I could turn away, his eyes caught mine and he smiled. I bent down as color crept up my face and busied myself in an empty excel sheet.
I made my way through the crowded canteen lunchbox in hand searching for my friend. She had snagged a corner table. She sat waiting and her face brightened as she saw me. Waving, I reached and had hardly pulled up a chair when I sensed him before I saw him.
“Can I join you?” His voice was warm. Friendly. He looked around as if to tell us all other tables were full. Even as I mulled answering, he sat down and made way for me. I felt a sliver of irritation snake through my being. I had looked forward to lunch. Looked forward to a pity party. A mutual sharing of dating woes.
Instead I was polite. Exceedingly so. My friend warmed up to him instantly. They talked, laughed, flirted and shared food. I looked on, picking at mine and listening without contributing. We lingered on after he left the table but it felt cold. Something had altered the equation.
Soon lunches became a threesome. I thawed some but resented having to share my friend. Over the days, I noticed he looked at me when he thought I was not looking. He seemed to weigh his words when it came to me. He found reasons to stop by my cube with questions. Sometimes these visits would extend to lunch.
It crept in slowly, insidiously. I was awkwardly aware of him. Somewhere the lines had blurred. If his hand brushed against mine while passing the cutlery, I was aware. If he leaned in to explain what macros were, the heady smell of lime and talc left me breathless. I found myself taking extra time before the mirror. The same clothes which had screamed business earlier now felt drab. My days were demarcated into the ones with him and the ones without.
I was in love. Hopelessly.
So, when he asked to meet me for tea this afternoon, I felt butterflies. As I walked up to see him seated at a table alone. I wanted to turn back and run. Instead I walked up, pulled out a chair and sat. He started without prelude.
“Am in love. Hopelessly. Do you think your friend likes me?”
This is my entry to day fourteen of Writing 101 at The Daily Post. The word that leapt out of the book I had on hand was “hopelessly”.