“Cappuccino with cream NOT froth, please…”
I remember the last time that I saw her like it was just yesterday. Her hair was loose and it flowed and danced with the autumn breeze. The sun played with the hues of brown and some gold as it shimmered and filtered through her hair. She wore a beige chiffon dress and black pumps. She looked beautiful, just as she always did. But I never got to tell her that, I never did that ever, tell her how beautiful she looked.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. Wednesdays were our only free afternoons so we usually hung out and sometimes we got something to eat at our favorite coffee shop or browsed through the aisles of our favorite book store.
That fateful day, she ate a blueberry muffin and drank a cappuccino with cream and not froth! It was senseless she’d say, to have a cappuccino with froth and not cream. She called it an incomplete drink without her cream. It was her fix and rush and she wouldn’t have her cappuccino any other way!
I stared at her flowing stream of hair lost in a world of my own thoughts. I always loved her hair. So long, so sleek and so shiny, the object of my envy! ‘I wish my hair was like hers’, I thought. Silently I wished I was her. I wished my hair would flow and dance like hers did. I wished I could drink copious amounts of cappuccino’s topped with cream and never get fat just like she never did.
Her eyes were dancing with something hidden beneath the veil that she used to hide her inner most thoughts. She always had a mischievous look beneath her shiny eyes and you could never place your finger on what she was thinking! I would ask her;
” what’s so funny!?”
And with an even brighter smile her reply would come;
” nothing at all”….
But her smile was always there taunting you, unnerving you, making you wonder what is she smiling about! And she always found something to smile about.
I remember the smell of her hair as it danced with the wind, an infusion of flowers, perfume and something that I just couldn’t quite figure out. Her smile was intoxicating and she was excited about sharing her weeks happenings and news with me. Who she saw, what she did and what she had learned. She told me that she decided to start an online Aalima course. She was beaming and glowing and happy to share all this with her best friend, with me! And for some reason ( I didn’t really know what the reason was), her happiness annoyed me! My red velvet cake threatened to come out and the sight of her smile and her flowing hair suddenly nauseated me! She made me feel angry. Jealousy and envy churned within me and everything in my tummy, in my heart and in my mind, began to rise like bile within me and it choked me!
And even though I tried to breathe my emotions away, even though I tried to will my nasty sentiments away, I just couldn’t. Before I realized what I was doing, I did it. I purged the storm within me. I broke her heart and the worst part was not that I broke her but that it made me happy…..
” Did you hear what they’re saying about you this time?” I asked her nonchalantly as I sipped my chai tea….
Her look of elation diffused, disintegrated and was replaced with confusion.
” No…” She said in a surprised almost pained tone…
“What are they saying?” She reluctantly and gently asked me….
” The talk is all around. I’m actually surprised that it hasn’t reached your ears!”
I continue sipping my tea staring at her eyes.
“what kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t tell you right!?”
Her pupils dilated just a tad. I could see her swallow her saliva with a bit of effort and the thought of hurting her almost stopped me from blurting it out…. Almost, but not quite….
” They’re saying that you cheated on your last exam! That’s how come you scored so many A’s! Sorry but that’s just the talk”…
My demons within me smiled… A pat on the back they mentally awarded me….
I was pleased! Relieved!
She wasn’t smiling anymore…..
Her face dropped and her smile momentarily blew away with the breeze flowing through her hair. Ayesha was always a bright spark and a hard worker and her hard work was always acknowledged with merits, awards and mention of her accolades by her beaming teachers. But more than this, she was a people pleaser. It sickened me how much she tried to be a goody two shoes! It nauseated me really. She was such a people’s pleaser that she even tried to please me!(Can you believe her nerve and audacity!) Here I was always trying to unsettle her and she had it in her to still be good to me! Who does that!?
To be honest, the rumor wasn’t half as bad as I’d made it out to be. I just wanted her to get of her high horse and stop!
Stop what? well stop smiling and being so damn cheerful! How could she smile and be so happy when it always felt so dark and lonely within me!! It just wasn’t fair.
And that was the last time that I saw my Ayesha….
I could see her blink away tears although she masked a fake smile, laughed it off nervously (or rather painfully) and skimmed through her phone as she quickly picked up her bag and said she had some errands to do for her mum and had to leave….
I watched her leave the coffee shop that afternoon with her oversized handbag in tow. She lowered her sunglasses to hide her pain (or was it embarrassment) that was prevalent in her beautiful, bright and sparkling eyes. And then she was gone….
I never saw her again….
There was an accident….
A horrible accident was awaiting her just fifteen minutes away. Death stood just around the corner waiting for her.
And after she left all that I did was sit there, feeling happy with myself as I finished the last of my cake and tea unaware of what was taking place just a few streets away….
She lost her life that day and I lost my one true friend. I lost my heart, my chance to redeem my slashing words and I almost lost my mind too……
I would never be able to undo what I did!
I would never be able to go back in time and erase those unnecessary words I had used on her!
I would never get to tell her that I was joking and that it was just a lie!
I would never get to band aid her heart with a warm hug, a smile and maybe an extra order of cream to finish the last of her cappuccino!
I would never get to say sorry or to make her smile…
I would never get to see her smile or to see her mischievous eyes dance ever again.
My heart sank when I heard that she died. And up until this day, I’ve never been able to get it to float or to soar long enough ever again. I guess that’s the price I had to pay for inflicting unnecessary hurt on an innocent and smiling soul. A small price this is I guess, a lifetime of regret, sorrow and shame……
To be continued…