A warm March afternoon. We are somewhere in the dregs of 2011 – the world is sepia-hued and hazy, like a fading photograph from a long-forgotten album. It’s what great stories with great beginnings are made up of, ones that we could have saved on our Snapchat rolls, but sadly, that doesn’t exist yet.
I am sitting with him, at on old-school drinking hole in the suburbs. It’s full of screechy sixteen year-olds with the weight of the world on their shoulders. The restaurant reeks of college gossip, and stories of what your best friend did behind your back during Biology lab. But I am unconcerned. Three is tall, gangly and has a rather large set of ears (note to self: If this were a modern-day adaptation of Red Riding Hood, it would have been better for him to hear me with), but he has an expressive face, like a dancer’s. He’s a friend of a friend’s, and I’ve had a crush on him the whole of 2010 (in gay years, that’s a lifetime, but more on that some other time.) I don’t notice the eyebrow-piercing, or the bottled up insecurities – it’s too early, and I am too infatuated.
It’s a quarter past five, and two weeks of speed-texting and one muffled phone call later, here we are. His eyes are piercing grey, his cheekbones high and hollow, like the insides of a psychopath’s heart. He’s not unattractive to look at, him with his close cropped hair and his arched eyebrows, and on a good day, I can sulk in the dark recesses of my mind and write a haiku about him. He greets me with a cheerful high-pitched Hi. The haiku dies before its five syllables could even begin.
His face had hinted at a baritone voice, but I am clearly wrong. Now I notice that his chin is too weak, his shirt has a slight tear and his nose is off-centre. He seems socially awkward, but not the kind that is sexy. Two looks at me nervously through his grey eyes as they dart back and forth in the coffee shop, as if we are being watched by assassins. He’s an entertainment journalist who runs a celebrity gossip blog under a pseudonym, so we probably are. We call for our coffees and a brownie to share and get ourselves a table in the corner. No hired ninjas around, so we are good to go. I momentarily long to run my hand through his stubble in the private confines of our little alcove, but he would probably shriek like a girl.
A crisp November Night. The by-lanes of Juhu smell of motor oil, imitation perfume and unbound opportunities for struggling actors.
I meet him for a coffee at a second-world swanky café in the suburbs. He arrives, all nervous and a thousand apologies. I shake them off like I shake him off as soon as I meet him- stubbing my cigarette and my smile. One is slightly shorter than I would like him to be, and slightly happier too. I don’t have the heart to tell him I love my men broodier, sulking into their coffees one minute and writing dark sonnets the other. He has a free-spirited way of carrying himself and he moves around as he talks, like a trapeze artist at the circus, without the lithe seductive body. The aloofness unnerves me (the lack of said lithe, seductive body notwithstanding) and so does his choice of footwear. Crocs, dark brown, like the colour of my current mood.