‘What did she drink?’
‘Whiskey, boss. Neat. She was uppity, made a remark about premium ice, and chilled water.’
‘Held the glass as if she didn’t approve of it. But drank it down like a pro.’
So that was how she was discussed as. At bars, where she left a mark, probably how glasses without coasters do, on the table. She always sat at different tables, and always wished it was the same one, by the counter. She always had whiskey, even though sometimes wishing for a vodka or a tequila. She always missed the love, though she trained herself to believe otherwise. She was unpredictable in a predictable way. She made one think after she left. And that made her think how it was possible. She was ordinary, everyday.
Today is exactly a year after she had called Kshitij, who, as usual, returned the call in a tardiness she was used to. They had had a cold conversation. The tears had felt warmer, livelier. Moistening her pillow and deepening her eye sockets.
Today, Kshitij called her. And demanded the friendship, some sensitivity and some more attention back. Today Kshitij sounded agitated, interested and happy to blurt it all out. The voice was earnest. But she believed that all Kshitij felt was an emptiness that he didn’t know existed in him. She built it. In him and also within herself.
She is complicated, this whiskey woman. Sad, that she can’t return when she yearns to. But happy that Kshitij is a bit sad too. She doesn’t know which weighs heavier. She counts the change, adjusts her watch to just where she likes it on her wrist, and leaves.
She gets home and calls Kshitij back, as promised.
He does not speak, as promised.
Kshitij does not return.