As I was about to seat myself on the sand, she called in a rather loud voice, "Hey You!"
I looked at her and pointed at myself inquisitively, wondering what a pretty lady had to do with someone like me.
"Yeah you", she answered my unworded question; "Can you tell me the time?"
"It?s about five-thirty."
"What do you mean ?about??"
"Well, I don?t have a digital watch and mine doesn?t even the minutes marked. It?s the blank face typed, just the dials. So if you want me to be precise, I will have to put it at five-twenty seven or twenty-eight, but I won?t bet my life on it."
She smiled one of those half-smiles that people generally do to strangers, unless they are habitually half-smilers. I, too, winked at her, shrugged my shoulders and looked at the sea. I had already given her enough for the evening.
It was one those picture postcard scenes everyone talks and writes about. The crimson sky, velvet sea, setting sun, golden beach, cool breeze and lots of beautiful people around. I wondered, thought, reflected in my own peculiar way. I have this issue of reading too much into everything. You know, trying to find a deeper meaning into all that?s happening.
So some strange girl, who happens to be good looking, asks me for the time. Big deal!!! But my little fat brain won?t leave it at that, would it? It has to conjure prophecies and profess theories. I can choose to stare at the sea, but I?d rather think about that girl and maybe some other girls ? those who could have been, would have been, should have been ? but for ?..
It isn?t that my musings are going to be of any use either. Had it been that way I wouldn?t have been 32 and single. Being 32 and single, (and pretty rich, if I may add), is much more appealing when you are 16, 20 or 22. but as you watch your friends, colleagues and even juniors settling around, it?s not so much fun. Not that I didn?t try or anything. It?s what we said at the each of my break-ups: "It just didn?t work out."
So nothing sore ? but nothing very pleasing either. Finally after 5 break-ups, serious ones mind you, not counting casual affairs ? so after five break-ups in like sixteen years, I had lost the zeal to start something afresh. Now it was just me, my plasma TV (thank you), a barken lounger (thanks again), a bucket of chicken and live football. Well, being slightly affluent helps, I told you.
"Do you have anything to eat?"
Right! So now I have voices of the girl in my head asking me if I have something to eat. Well, of course, I do. What do you want girl? Pizza, chips, chicken, coke, or fruits, chocolate ??.
"Excuse me. Do you have anything to eat?"
The voice again, but it?s not in my head, its for real. I turned. Hey, she was sitting next to me. maybe I had been too engrossed with my fat brain. I looked around. The sun had almost completely set. Then I realized, I had been asked a question.
"Sorry", I replied.
"Well, that?s something I haven?t eaten for a long time. Which recipe do you use for your ?sorry?." She smiled again. Okay, she was a habitual half-smiler.
"Me? I try to keep it simple. Some chicken, bread, onions and ketchup. Here?s my sorry sandwich" I offered her a pack from my jacket pocket. Now I knew the reason why I always carried two sandwiches when I never consume more than one at a time. My little fat brain had found the meaning. It pictured the girl eating my sandwich, myself joining with the other one in my pocket. It pictured her smiling and talking to me. We were sharing jokes. If only I could be twenty five again with the courage to ask her out.
"Shit", she exclaimed. Now, I really expected something better when I offered my sandwich. What a rude way to bring you back form your dreams. But "shit" ? okay, coming from a beautiful girl, even that would do.
She continued, "I didn?t expect you to be carrying around sandwiches in your pocket. I was thinking more like, you?ll say "No", and I?ll say "Then let?s eat out!" ? and then I hoped you?d agree."
Yeah, right!!! So, the girl is asking me out. What is the meaning here? Am I supposed to say "no" and learn what happens when you turn down a nice girl? Or what?
I decided it was time to tell her the truth, whether I liked it or not.
"I lied to you", I said.
She stared at me, expecting me to continue.
"Well, you see, I told you my watch has a blank face and dials only. That?s not true."
I showed her the watch.
"Snoopy!!!" she exclaimed and laughed out loud, looking even lovelier. This must be the rewards for my good work in different lives ?? the karma you know. "So how about the three of us going for dinner?" she asked.
I pretended to think, made a grim face, waited a few seconds and said ?"Snoopy is very choosy."
And we both laughed as the sun went to sleep and the wind started singing.
So what happened next?
Let me just say that now we have been "picture postcard Happily Married" for nine years. and at least once a year we go down to that sea ? just to say "Thanks", the three of us; Her, Me and Snoopy!!!