He sipped on double espresso while the sky wasn’t yet struck by sunlight. He was dressed in a crisp white button-down paired with a pair of lightly plaid khaki pants tapered at his ankles that stayed on his waist with the help of a walnut brown leather belt. The back of his neck was plastered with droplets of cold water that fell off his washed hair. He smelt of musk flavoured cocoa – odd in theory but intriguing in practical. The one-day-old stubble brought more shadows to his jawline, bringing out its sharpness. He liked to sit outside, next to the benches, on the smoothened rocks. You could see rays bounce off the marigold here and, the wind danced to ballads in ballet.

I’d meet him as the sky turned ombre and, the coffee was just warm enough to drink. We didn’t speak except when it was time to refill our mugs. And perhaps the occasional customary greetings that were more often nods than words. I don’t know if our presence made sense to the other but the silence never pinched. Over the years, our conversations remained the same and our understanding increased. We walked beyond the hedges, and nodded more often, throwing in a smile too sometimes. We played music when peace seemed adrift and, picked up mannerisms. I’ve started recognizing some pieces of him while trying to paint the remaining from them. I’ve started the sketch but it’s the colouring where it gets tricky. There are the colours I’ve seen before and then those that I’d like to see – both fit perfectly.

And perhaps that’s when I sense your presence – when I start recognizing pieces of you in him, wondering if I should colour him in shades similar to yours; shades I know like the back of my hand. So now when the sky’s turning ombre, I turn towards him to see how the golden reflects in his brown eyes and, why he smiles. One mug at a time, I’m letting him tell me which colours to choose.


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