tagFirst TimeSweet Child 'O Mine Ch. 01

Sweet Child 'O Mine Ch. 01


If I were a betting man, my money would be stacked by heaps on the possibility that love happens on first sight. That moment when two clouds collide but in the fraction of a second before any sound or lighting is created, that is the moment when love happens.

But, as it turns out, love doesn't happen in that manner. At least that is the way it did not happen for me in that way. For me, it happened on a breezy summer day over a hot cup of coffee when I saw her swaying to the guitar riff of Guns and Roses' Sweet Child 'O Mine.

It was just another day for me at the office. Being a marketing consultant, I take immense pride in the fact that I do not have an office and mostly get to work out of cafes and restaurants and having the wait staff as friends is an added bonus. Being shy is another reason this situation helps me immensely. No interactions with people not only helps me focus more on my work but it grants me the benefit of avoiding aimless banter.

So, as I went about my work in one of my favourite open-roof cafe', I was distracted by the music playing in the background. Now I know what you might be thinking; most open-roof cafes have music playing non-stop. But on this particular occasion it was distracting to me. Maybe because the person playing the music was constantly shuffling between songs or it was the fact that that I had read and re-read the same slide of my presentation over and over again because some part of my brain was humming the songs that were playing.

Distracted from my work, I decided to take a break and ordered a cup of coffee for myself and decided to strongly rebuke the faux-DJ who seemed to be mercilessly intruding on my concentration.

That is when I saw her for the first time. Holding the music system hostage, holed in a corner, wearing a black sweater and blue jeans, trying futilely to zero down on a song of her choice that would best reflect her mood at the moment.

I quietly walked up to her with the intention of berating her for disturbing my much needed peace of mind. That is when she give a small squeak of victory, chose Sweet Child O' Mine and decided to jive to the song. I seated myself on the chair nearest to me decided to wait for the song to be over to begin my verbal assault on her. (Though, I have to admit, I am a classic rock buff myself so her taste in music earned her some brownie points in my book.)

And I have to admit, I all but lost all ability to speak when I saw the vision in front of me. She possibly had the most delicate features on a clueless albeit cute face that I had come across in 23 years of existence on earth.

But I was rudely awakened from my trance by a phone call from the client whose presentation I had been working on, who was audibly pissed because I had missed my call with him that was scheduled about fifteen minutes ago.

By the time I managed to calm his nerves over the phone and assure him that things were on track and he would receive the presentation as promised, I turned back to her and give her an earful before I headed back to my work.

Seeing her fiddling with the volume dials, I saw it as an opportune moment to make my move. So, taking long strides in her general direction, I reached out my hand and gently tapped her on her shoulder.

"Let me guess, you want the volume turned down so that you can get back to your oh-so-boring presentation?" She said to me before I could even get a word in.

"As a matter of fact, the volume is not quite bothering me. It is the rapid succession of songs that is disturbing me. I mean, if you would let a song finish, you might enjoy it just as much," I replied curtly.

"So, I guess you have never had a mood, have you?" She asked, without turning and continuing to shuffle songs on the iPod that was connected to the sound system.

"Who says I have not? I most certainly have had those. It is just that I need to get over with this presentation and if you would be kind enough to let the playlist take its logical progression rather than constantly messing with it, you would be doing me a huge favour," I said to her and turned to get back to my pending work.

"So what would you have me play for you, your highness?" She asked me, sarcasm dripping from her voice.

"Anything from The Beatles, the Foo Fighter or the Fleet Foxes would do, quite honestly," I said without turning, knowing that my simmering anger would disappear if I laid my eyes on her.

With that, I continued my walk back to my laptop and got into the zone. The cold cup of coffee by my laptop was now a reminder to me how much time had passed between my calling for a break and getting back to work.

Typing furiously on my laptop, I tried to finish all my pending work in this sitting. Having zoned out my surrounding, I failed to notice John Lenon singing Stand By Me playing on loop in the background.

I sighed deeply when I finished my presentation. An innate sense of satisfaction washed over me as an empty cup of coffee and the sent folder of my mail stared back at me as I reclined on my chair.

My attention then went to the song playing in the background. A smile crept on my face as I decided to take a few moments of much deserted shut-eye while enjoying the song.

My nap was then disturbing by the sound of a chair being dragged in my proximity. My eyes flew open to a sight of a lopsided grin and perfectly white teeth that I knew could only belong to the face of one of my few friends, Steve, the owner of the cafe'.

"So Sam, I see you met Anna," he asked me while positioning himself on the chair he had unceremoniously dragged near me.

"A hi, how are you, its good to see you, would be such a nice way to begin this discussion, would it not?" I asked him, rubbing the tiredness out of my eyes.

"On another note, who is Anna?" I asked him, his previous statement finally registering in my head.

"I just saw you a few hours ago. So no, a hi, how are you, would be uncalled for. And Anna is the poor girl you berated a few hours ago for her choice in music," he said.

"Has it been that long already?" I asked, checking my watch to see that almost three hours had passed since my last interaction with another human being.

"Yes," he said adding "You know, the only reason she did not chew your head out for rebuking her is only because you said 'some Fleet Foxes would be nice.'"

I stared into space, trying my best to recall my interaction with her.

"How do you know any of this?" I questioned him.

"A. Because it is my cafe'. I know everything that happens here. B. I have CCTV cameras installed in every corner of this cafe'." He replied, trying to be smug.

"Hey asswipe, your CCTV cameras only record video and not audio. So, there is no way you could have known what conversation transpired between us," I said, trying my best not to smile as I wiped that smugness off of his face.

"You caught that, did you? I was hoping you had not noticed," he said to me, quite visibly crestfallen.

My smirk gave him permission to continue to explain the situation to me, which was his only saving grace in this moment.

"When I came into the cafe', I almost collided a seemingly seething and pacing Anna, who gave me earful about the rude guest sitting with his feet up on these rustic chairs, who had disturbed her mood because he did not allow her to mess with the sound system as she usually does," he said, swatting my calfs, wordlessly asking me to keep my feet off his chairs.

"Okay. One, how do you know her name? Two. Why did you allow her to chew your head off? Three, I am paying top dollar for the coffee and ambiance, not to mention, I do most of your marketing free-of-charge, so I can use this place as my make-shift office. So, why do I get to hear all this?" I asked, visibly annoyed now.

"To answer your questions, I know Anna because she is a regular here. You know, getting to know your regular clientele is part of this job. That is why you get to hear all this." He said.

"So, let me guess, you have been sweet on her ever since you laid eyes on her. That is why you let her mess with the sound system and the iPod, whose playlists are my life's work in curating the best music that stays true to the rustic theme of this cafe," I said, trying my best not blow a lid because I was being told-off by one of my closest friends because of a girl.

Trying his best to hide his reddening ears by covering them with both his hands, he fended off the statement by saying: "Well, I am neither going to agree or disagree with your conclusions. However, in the two years that I have known her, she has never, not once, let someone have the last word in any argument. You seem to have achieved the impossible. She was blushing when she said she only shut up because you mentioned the Fleet Foxes. Those happen to be one of her favourite bands."

"So?" I asked, trying my best to act as nonchalant in the situation as possible.

Beneath my calm surface was a surge of emotions towards that girl, who I had only met fleetingly, all because I now realised she had pretty good taste in music and was quite the looker.

"So, now asshat, go and apologise to her before I lose one of my most loyal customers," he said continuing, "You know, human interaction. Talking to people. Emoting. Now, I know this is not your cup of tea but you will have to do this for me."

I made the cutest face I could muster with the energy left in my body in an attempt to get away with this task now allowed to me.

But Steve knew he had me at the very excuse of costing him a customer. He knew that I am loyal to a fault. Losing a customer, that too a loyal one, in this economy was not something he could afford. And he knew I would never want to be the cause of him losing one of his loyal customers.

"Alright then. Enough with the tantrums. March your ass over to her and apologise. Just a heads up, she likes honey not sugar in her coffee and has quite a soft spot for guys with stubbles," he said grinning.

"Now, why on earth would I want to know any of that?" I asked, quite bewildered by his suggestions.

Mustering the remainder of my already drained energy, I launched myself off my chair and reluctantly trotted in the direction I last saw her.

Suddenly, a thought struck me like a bolt of lightning. When I last traded words with her, Anna had asked whether I needed to get back to my presentation. Now how on earth would the know I was working on a presentation?

In my haze and confusion, I reached to her table. Stumbling through the scant vocabulary I could find at the moment, I tried my best to string together words that would make sense.

Looking down from my vantage point, I could see that she was buried behind a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Seeing that she was visibly engrossed in the book, I thought hard and fast before disturbing her.

Little did I know, that she was sneaking peeks at me and my confused face from over the book. Her giggle broke my trance and I continued to stare at her.

"Hi," she said, laying the book on the table and straightening her sweater that had gathered by her wrists.

Me? All I did was continue to stare at her.

"Hello. Earth-to-stranger. Earth-to-stranger. Come in stranger," she giggled and said to me.

And all I could say to her was: "How on earth did you know that I was working on a presentation?"

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