I took a cab to Kipit waterfront. When I stepped out the greyness had disappeared. Tedious after work, it was habitual to stroll along the finely pruned hedges. A year or so had it been since I last sighed at the misty shore breezes. I stopped to look around and eased my brows at the sight of the day fading to darkness. The still waters of Bay and the abandoned steamer on my left sank in to an easy familiar picture. There was however the bench a few yards off, a glimmering red to the eye, looking all by itself.
The way it used to be, a lady took her seat often, sitting in solitude for long hours, staring straight at the dying day over the water. I wondered if she ever noticed my presence. The number of times I had seen her, it seemed nostalgic about looking at the picture of a girl waiting on the subway platform for her train home. At times when she arrived along with her friend, they would chat, stop in between, leave their seats for a while and then start bantering again. Yet of all the blarney, her friend would reluctantly depart before very long. The lady would step back and take her place in all her wonted likeliness. Not blasé, she had the looks true to a stranger – a stranger to a foreign land. Not defiance, nor acceptance – she seemed to pity others. And the thought that she enjoyed a tranquil sunset gradually faded away.
I stepped into the Antoinne’s Meet to sip coffee. The river was now glowing with the lights from the row of houses and shops facing the river. A painfully distraught swell of the strings of fiddle caught my attention from the instrument store next to Antoinne’s prime diner. The classical ambience outside had always been a definition of pleasure. The yellowness of the brightened alleys was to be enamoured with. Once or twice, the picture through the double glazing gave me the strangest feeling of having caught a glimpse of the lady sitting by the shore. I got my head straight and finished up my cup of coffee, considering to take a stroll while still trying to relax myself.
I stopped only to light a cigarette when the voice of a lady, looking in my direction with some interest, disrupted the spontaneity of my quietness. She walked up to me and to all my surprise said, “Do you remember me?” I stood wondering for a moment if she actually meant me. She got the idea from my face and answered herself, “Remember me, you paid for my ride home the last time when I forgot my handbag in another cab and lost it earlier that evening.” Still all I could think was, “She definitely means me.”
“I wanted to pay you back before but you never returned. I live a little up the street now. Here!” And she headed for her purse.
“That is not necessary. But thank you.
I am still not certain if you owe me.”
“I see; would you like to join for the evening tea then?”
I hesitated again thinking that I had just been to the coffee shop. She tried to excuse herself saying she needed to get back soon revealing an immediate familiarity from her features when she turned.
“Can I walk you home Holly?”
She looked at me this time in surprise. “So, you do remember me. Sure! If you don’t mind.” “Do you go around helping people all the time that it becomes hard for you to remember them all?”, she joked. I couldn’t help but smile, thinking whatever had happened to the melancholy loneliness, to the silence in her face. She did sound sort of outgoing and gregarious in the company of her friend. But I was glad to meet her again. The glimpse a while ago might not have been an illusion. She did come after all.