As Ayan sat there in the café, two girls sitting beside him kept on talking about some clothes design they were working on. He didn't understand anything more but the girl on the left had a sweet voice, very welcoming. Meanwhile, two suits & tie guys on his right were talking some business as well. They had a laptop opened, which they were hardly looked at but what kind of millennial sits in a café without a laptop, right? That's the new trend, everyone wants to look like they are grinding all the time.
He tried listening to them and figured this is not a business meeting. These guys seemed to be friends. They kept laughing at some internal joke. The interesting thing was that after every few minutes they would speak something in English. And Every time they spoke in English, Ayan would turn his listening focus to them and then lose it immediately. There is so much to observe in a crowded café.
He started thinking about all the different internal jokes that he has with different friends of his. Thinking of that made him smile. Probably the first time since he sat in the café.
All this time, while listening to people around him and thinking of his internal jokes with friends, he didn't realize that his girlfriend has been talking to him and he was just staring at her face in front of him. She looked beautiful in wavy hair than the usual straight hair ponytail. Then he started comparing and ranking his girlfriend's different hairstyles in his mind.
"Damn it, once again I'm getting distracted and not listening to what she wanted to talk about today." He said to himself.
He made one more effort to listen to her. He swore he would focus and nod often this time. But he also thought about how she hasn't realized yet that he hasn't been listening. She can be so dumb sometimes.
"Dude! Focus." He reminded himself.
He took a sip of his tea and thought maybe this will show that he hasn't zoned out like 5 times already. Now he was listening again but it was like starting a movie in the middle. He was sure that he was listening, but now his visual focus got distracted. His eyes kept slipping past his girlfriend and to the girl sitting on the table right behind his girlfriend.
That girl was talking to someone. There was something very different about her, it's like the air around her was filled with happiness. She was talking less with words and more with her expressions and hand gestures. The way she moved both of her arms to articulate what she was saying looked like she is conducting an orchestra. And sometime she would hit her forehead with her palm. He liked that particularly, facepalm gifs are his favourite.
She wasn't wearing much jewellery or makeup. Her nails were painted whitish red, nothing too eye-catching. She looked quite simple but had a certain classy vibe about her. Her expressions and hand gestures caught his eyes again and again. Her attraction was in her personality. He started thinking about how very few people have a unique character. And then he started thinking about how the majority of people lack a personality.
Thinking of people lacking personality, he realized he had lost focus of what his girlfriend was talking, again. So he tried to fake a nod and sip his tea again, he did both at the same time. He almost choked on that sip. He let out a half cough noise that some men do when they are trying to do clear their throat while keeping their mouth shut. Like the exhaust of an old car choking on its own toxic air.
As he tried to recover from that cough, his eyes got a little teary and his girlfriend reached for his hand and said,
"I know it might hurt but this for the best."
He had no clue what she was talking about. He figured instead of asking her it will be better if he goes to the toilet and try to recall parts from this conversation that he could, and then put the pieces together before he joins the conversation again.
He stood in front of a urinal and tried thinking hard what his girlfriend has been talking about but it was all blank. All he could think was the girl sitting behind his girlfriend. And then, one of them suits guys who sat next to him walked in and took the urinal next to him.
"I'm sorry bro!" The suits guy said, while still peeing.
He hated it when guys talk while peeing. But he stayed calm and asked, "Sorry about what?".
"The break-up. I'm sorry but I heard your conversation, you are sitting right next to me."
The suit guy zipped his pants turned towards Ayan, he didn't flush. What an ass-hole, maybe he was saving water, who knows. Suit guy was now looking directly at Ayan and said the hall of fame cliché line, "there are plenty other fish in the pond my friend".
Ayan smiled but he was fuming inside. He started thinking about fish now, how plural of fish is fish. But when talking of different species of fish together, it becomes fishes.
He went back to his girlfriend, she was waiting for him. He could see that she touched up her makeup while he was gone, who does that during a breakup? But then he recalled that he had not been listening to her all this time, she should be mad at him, not the other way around. He also, thought that he can just go in sit down, start talking and she will have no clue about him not listening anything she's said so far.
And so he did.