Tears were rolling down her eyes. He clasped her hands with one hand, and used the other to wipe her swollen cheeks. Even when she was so patently distraught, he could not help noticing the glistening tears on her perfect eyelashes. No matter what her mood, the eyelashes always seemed happy. The eyes always twinkled. It was inexplicable.
He was lost in her poetic beauty while she continued talking. As his eyes rolled towards her lips, he noticed that they were moving.
He regrouped his thoughts and refocused on the conversation. It was too much for her, she said. She was trying her best to reconcile her guilt for not loving him. She had forced herself to think that she could play this game forever, but now, she could see the truth clearly.
He knew all this. She had explained it all over the phone. He wondered why women needed to reiterate their feelings ad nauseam. It was probably guilt, he thought. Why else would she repeat something exactly as she had said it before?
He could not be blamed, he thought, for being mesmerized by her physical allure. The relationship had lasted a year, and he would miss her physical vitality the most. Maybe men are superficial, but it was the sheer physicality of her affection that had held him on in this monogamous, emotionally unavailable relationship.
The tears seemed to have stopped; she had just made a cynical joke, and laughed mirthlessly at it, while he missed the whole point, or at least the humor of it. Well, at least she was not crying anymore.
He was looking over head at a group of single girls who were good-looking. There was one among them who was definitely eye-candy. He wished for this to be over soon, so that he could resume his single life.
She spotted his roving eye, and scolded him for losing focus during the break-up. She accused him of trivializing the yearlong commitment by window-shopping so obviously.
He, of course, disagreed and desisted. What was the point of putting something on life-support, just to kill it with ceremony? If it was over, it was over. Why couldn’t they move on, and not make such a big deal?
She turned beetroot red at this rebuttal. She fished through her purse and threw on the table $30 for her share of the meal. He knew, as did she, that $30 covered the entire tab and a generous tip. Still, after a year of him paying, this was a refreshing change. He did not protest.
She got up and walked out. He did not even watch her leave. He walked over to the table with the single girls. It was going to be an amazing night.
The next morning, he entered his home, with a contented smile on his lips. He switched on the music system and un-wedged his t-shirt from under the chair.
It came loose, along with a red scarf. He lifted it and was mesmerized by the smell. It was hers alright. He sat down and began to sob.