Sitting in a tiny café, I was anxiously waiting for her to come. She was rarely late but the 300 seconds made me finger doodle on the menu. Her smile was warm as ever as she walked over and gave me hug.

She must’ve been wondering why I’d come over wearing a shirt. On any other day, I’d have waltzed into her apartment in my shorts and made coffee. Today just felt like it should be more formal. I guess I wanted this to be the story I’d write about someday.

Conversation with her was always easy. Silence was easier. As the lady waiting tables set our filter coffee down, she abruptly asked me: have you seen the Batman movie with Bane?

Obviously. We went together a few months back.

Yeah, so stop playing Hans Zimmer and raising the background pitch. I’d like you to not say what you’re about to.

I couldn’t stop laughing. Superhero movie references to convey a point was more my domain than hers. She was just making sure the message wasn’t lost in translation.

Fair enough. May I ask why?

I’ve thought about it. There’s a certain age when you’ll learn to be more cynical of the world around you. Maybe then.

The aroma of freshly baked doughy goodness and the glow from the afternoon autumn rain made it kinda hard to be glum. So I did what an allegedly non cynical person must do. Ordered two cookies and refused to share.

Autumn is beautiful. The colours supposed to scream death feel like life raising one final toast. Nearly a decade autumns later, I sat on the edge of a lake wondering if I’m cynical enough yet.

Who knows?

As a kid, I was confident that lakes and rivers flow from the sea inwards into land. The blue sea bled into the yellow land to make it green. Maps don’t lie. When you don’t know what you don’t know, you can find a way to make anything true. Realising that my mother’s whiskey on the rocks was closer to reality didn’t do any favours to reality itself.

Am I cynical enough yet? Who knows?

Since no one really reads this, it’s easier to start writing into a void. I was trying to write 300+ words where I introduce a few characters without using names. The idea was that I should feel like I know this person. In the next iteration of this, I’ll try to tell the same story from 4 viewpoints: the partner, the lady waiting tables, the mother and the cookies. Let’s see 🤞


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