But Alisha, your typically-cute introvert, smart texter, not-so-smart talker, was consuming the best part of my mind. I would think about her in the most random times — while eating, watching Netflix.
She always had a look on her face as if she were searching for something in everybody. Her eyes would blink many times while she listened to the stories from those who surrounded her. Those beautiful eyes would remain fixated on their faces, and then blink a number of times as if trying to absorb everything that came across her way, and then she would blink some more when it was her chance to respond. She wasn’t many words, but all expressions. Those eyes! Those blinking eyes were the ones that swept me off my feet and made me crave for her more and more.
She was sitting across the classroom when I first saw her. She sat in the last row, cross-legged and eyes fixated on her phone. Her knee-length floral dress exposed a good amount of her legs that shone with the little light that managed to creep through the partings of the window curtains. She had tied half of her shoulder-length hair up in a ponytail, while she kept running her carefully manicured hands, adorned with dainty gold rings through the rest of her hair, never looking up from the screen. She had striking features, no doubt. Her eyes, though lowered to the phone, looked large and defined enough to hold a character of their own. Her perfectly-shaped lips on her face looked like the morning dew adorning a flower, the best anyone could wish for. But nothing about her had attracted me at that moment. When I looked back at her after some time, she was keenly looking at the professor discussing idioms with us.
“Is she the new girl who just moved to the city? The one in the colourful dress,” I asked Arjun. “Yes! I guess so. I heard she got in through contacts,” he replied in his softest possible voice. I didn’t pay heed to her in the class. But after that, I would often see her sitting in the canteen, eating her food alone, or other times just nodding along to the words of those accompanying her. This happened for a long time until I got intrigued by her nature. Does she ever speak up? I found myself wondering until one day when I decided to look her up on social media.
‘Alisha Datta’ — her name popped up first as I typed her first name in the search bar. I was half asleep, lying in my bed, waiting to doze off to a good night’s sleep. Of course, she had a private profile! I sent her a follow request right away. I don’t remember when I slept off, but I let the rays of my phone screen hit my eyes first, before anything as I woke up. Only a couple of messages from the girls I had talked to last night, greeted me. I immediately thought of Alisha, I wondered if she had ignored my name from her notifications. I thought of the conversation I had with a girl last night when I told her how I liked women who initiated conversations; and there I lay wondering, how it would be to talk to a woman who was never to be seen talking. I dragged myself to the classroom that day with minimum energy to look at Alisha’s face again and to imagine and think of what she might be thinking about me or my request.
I was panting when I entered the class. The professor looked at me briefly before she proceeded to talk about the forces of the market as I tried to look for a place to sit. Alisha’s face looked radiant, illuminated with the light of her phone screen. I made way to the front row of the seats. Scrolling through the phone, as I made myself comfortable on my seat, I received a notification that Alisha had approved my follow request. I quickly jumped to her profile, my attention immediately evaporating from the classroom. To my relief, she had followed me back as well.
She had filled her profile with the pictures of hydrangea, lilies, sunflowers, peonies and what not! Her profile was as radiant as her smile and as mysterious as her conduct. Scrolling down her profile, I found a few older pictures of her as well. She wore a smile in all her pictures, though there weren’t many of them. Again! Obscure! I couldn’t resist. I had to text her. “Love how your profile looks. Fresh as a bunch of flowers! Lol” I typed, followed by a few flower emojis that I had to search for in the emoji list, as that was the first time I was using them. She replied instantly, “Thanks!” followed by the same flower emojis. How am I supposed to reply to this now? “Have you ever been to Kaas Plateau in Pune? I think you’ll totally love it!” I sent it to her in the hope of a more conversational reply. She saw my message and didn’t reply to it. This got me very pissed, so much, that I kept my phone in the bag and actually started listening to the professor. After the class, I wondered if it will be alright if I text her again. At that time, I didn’t understand the curiosity I was riding on while trying to get to know her. I took out my phone again. I thought I’ll ask if she needed some help with any subject as she had just joined the college. When I turned my screen on, I felt dumber than I ever had. She had replied to me, “Rehan! I hadn’t heard about it, so I looked it up. And it looks so gooood! I think I’m gonna go check it out someday,” she had said. I was elated.
That’s it. That was how we started texting. We connected on talking about flowers, although I had no knowledge of the blossoms she would talk about. But one thought always pestered me — she would also never text first. I didn’t mind it that much as she was an otherwise smart texter. We would sit miles apart in the classes and keep texting each other on how boring the lectures were.
Arjun would always suggest me to ask her out on a date. But I would be sceptical. I would get scared thinking that I might not like her talking personality as much I had liked her texting personality.
But Alisha, your typically-cute introvert, smart texter, not-so-smart talker, was consuming the best part of my mind. I would think about her in the most random times — while eating, watching Netflix. I knew she was a smart girl with a face that looked prettier to me each passing day; a face I wanted to touch so badly then. In the beginning, her obscurity drew me to her, but later her words were beginning to attract me. Then I started craving for a one-on-one conversation with her. I knew she would never ask me to meet, so I did. I asked her to meet for a coffee in one of the most aesthetic coffee rooms in the city.
It was a Saturday when I first met her like that. I had already spotted her, sitting in a corner in a pink dress, through the glass walls of the café. Her hair was open, as I had expected. She was looking into her phone, as usual, when I entered and greeted her. Her pink lips glinted with a rosy tint of the gloss she had applied. Her eyes stared at me with a deep-black kohl lining, blinking.
“How are you?” she asked, smiling.
“Great! How did you reach so early?” I replied.
“Well, that’s me! Things I do for love — I drink coffee and I reach early.”
“Hahahaha…I guess you’re the least dangerous Lannister out there.” She chuckled to this and suggested that we must order coffee. I must say that it was one of the warmest, most soothing cups of coffee for me till then. I came prepared with all my thoughts. I had anticipated that she would blink at me for replies. But she was surprisingly prompt. She didn’t initiate anything, but she had the coolest replies to all my questions. She laughed so cutely to all my stupid talks.
When she took pauses in between, I sipped my coffee and thought how perfect the situation was. I looked at her face when she was not talking and realised that the calm that surrounded us was divine. We did not speak for several minutes but were still so comfortable in each other’s company. This was the most special thing that had happened to me. I had never been so comfortable sitting silently with someone. And in that exact moment, I realised how special this pretty, shy girl from my class had become for me. I realised that the output of my patience was beautiful. I realised that this shy girl was the one to hold on to.