She touched the corners of that old rustic coffee table again, distracted, studying those scratches over the rim of her coffee cup, consciously letting her mind drift from one memory to another. It was easier that way and much less painful, too, like flipping through an open book aimlessly, not looking for anything in particular. She had always felt too much, even the slightest of heartbreaks or moments of hatred or intimacy would go right through her heart and mind; then there were these preoccupied moments, always recharged her parched self, numbly, retracing the silhouette of her tired soul, outlining it with warm white light. She would always smile at the end of these moments of solace. In human minutes, these lasted not more than 5 to 7 minutes. Yes, that’s how much she needed from life to pick it up where she had left.

Her phone rang breaking her stream of thoughts. It was him. ‘Hey, I am really sorry, honey. I don’t think I can make it.’ ‘It’s okay. I understand’, she smiled or she tried. He hung up in less than three minutes. Only if he could see how dark her face would get after every such meeting where she would wait for him and he would take a rain check. ‘It’s okay. That’s how you love when you love. You don’t charge returns. You just give’, the friend inside her tried to buck her up. She had developed all the missing relations in the outside world inside of her. She had a friend, a guide, an optimist, a rebel and a mad man, living peacefully inside of her. All were her cherished ones and each one appeared when she wanted to just give up and drown herself into the abyss of despair.

What she couldn’t give herself was a lover, so she became one. Her love was extremes and boundless and could suffice the entire suffering humanity. How could she not give it to him then? She certainly could, hence she was, despite him struggling with his priorities and not realizing that she was none of those urgencies he had been so invested in for so long now. ‘Where am I in your life?’ she once asked him, nervously, hoping he wouldn’t snap. He did. He always did when he couldn’t give nor had any satisfactory answer to her obvious questions. ‘See this is what you do. You try defining things, labeling things, and that’s how you ruin it all. That’s how you have always loused up our moments.’ He would blame it on her.

She was now outside the coffee shop, standing on the pavement, head down, eyes on the floor, on the specks of dust and dirt filling up the breaches of those unwashed tiles. She looked up, he was standing before her. She missed more than one heartbeat, ‘what… what are you doing here? How? You said, you…’ she started rambling as she always did when caught off guard. ‘Here, for you’, he smiled warmly and gave her a small neat bouquet of red roses. ‘Happy Birthday, Love.’ And that’s how she was alive again.