I saw her enter the café in grey sweatpants, a black leather jacket half open showing off her vibrant pink sports bra and well worked out midriffs. She made a couple of heads turn as she made her way towards the counter. She smelt of a sweet fragrance, a catchy blend of vanilla and rose. There was sweat trickling down her forehead as she intently went through the menu card, and I couldn’t stop admiring her. She looked up at me sternly, but calm, smiling but assertive, distracted I took her order for a Green Tea and Blueberry Muffin. She waited for me to hand over the bill and passed her shiny gold plastic card.
She swiftly moved across the café, searching for a convenient seat, and opted for the corner table near the glass window, opening out to the bustling traffic. My eyes couldn’t stop feasting on her which was very strange because this had never happened before. I insisted on dropping her order at the table, which as a manager was not my key responsibility. My teammate stared at me puzzled, wondering how did the once haughty-bossy-authoritative-manager turn into I’m-too-concerned-about-my-staff person. But how did he know that I was stealing his opportunity of getting close to her once more, probably having a small chit chat, a little of friendly manager talk. Maybe I could ask for feedback. Maybe I could talk about the current promos, offers or even our customer loyalty card; probably anything to get to talk to her and make her come back every other day.
She looked up at me, simultaneously fiddling with her iPhone in a very fancy crystal studded case; which certainly didn’t look very wallet friendly.
“Enjoy your Tea and Muffin, ma’am.” I said and retreated. She didn’t acknowledge which did disappoint me a bit. But I let that pass, and waited till she took some generous sips of her tea. I walked towards her table and asked enquiringly, “Hi Ma’am! I hope you are enjoying the tea and muffin.”
“Could you just leave me alone? I am a regular & your tea and muffin tastes like it always does. Also, it would polite if you stop staring at me.”
I looked at her vivacious expression, actually, exasperated. I backed off apologetically, didn’t want to put her off.
Just after I had a couple stealthy glances, she was up from her seat, animatedly talking to someone over the phone. I ran towards the entrance to escort her out, to which again I was conveniently ignored, while I was getting unwanted attention from my team. I coyly moved to the back area and got my phone out, looking at the epitome of beauty staring back at me. Unethical of course, but I had to take a picture of her.
The rest of the day buzzed around me, as I went about my work absent minded. There seemed to be a hollow behind my head, like I had attained enlightenment and there was nothing more or less that I wished for from the universe.
That night was one to remember, I dreamt of her, of us, together, in a landscape full of green and a tree, with autumn leaves, shedding one by one, and we were sitting below it, sharing some intimate moments, as I looked in her eyes, touched her soft pale skin, and inhaled her sweet scent. I closed in to her face and cupped her supple cheeks and brought her closer to my lips, and in a flash of a second, she moved away, like there was some kind of magnetic force taking her away from me. But she looked happy, relieved, and ignorant to what I felt for her. I watched her, calling out for her, as she was cradled by a white light, caressing her. She was in the arms of another, whom I knew not, a man.
The brightness of the light made my vision uncomfortable, and I shifted, moved, cringed, till I fell off the cot and the dream ended. I woke up startled and disheartened; I sat up on the cot, wondering who would ever want to partner me in my difficult stride to happiness and fulfillment.
After all…I was different; some would say lunatic, or weird, or cursed. Yes. That’s it. I was cursed. A cursed man, trapped in a body of a woman.