One of the first conversations that they had was on their farewell night while in Graduation College. She asked him if she can take a photograph with him. He nodded. That’s about it. Little did they know, at that time, that almost a year later they would be in the same city, working for the same company and deeply in love with each other! During one of their numerous non-sense conversations that they had late into the night near the ice-cream stall, over cones of ice-cream, they had shown me that photograph and told me this.
When I say conversations, it was usually he, being the chatter-box that he was, who spoke while she sat there listening to all that he had to say, following every word keenly and managing to find an old stupid joke to giggle at. He told this to me that when she laughed like a carefree child during those conversations, her laughter the only sound at that point in the night; things just appeared so perfect that it felt like a dream. She only spoke when it was necessary and on most occasions was very precise.
He wanted to be a fiction writer. She wanted to be a professional dancer. They both ended up being software engineers. They both dreamt of quitting their jobs some day and pursuing their object of interest. No doubt almost all their talks were dreamy. Most people would dismiss their talks as empty, like castles in the air. But castles they were! And beautiful ones on top of that! They usually came one after the other, never together. But they always left together. Unlike the other couples, they never walked hand-in-hand or close enough to each other. I often wished they would, just to complete the picture but they never did. Most of their conversations got carried over to the walk – he leading her, talking animatedly, and she following him, smiling coyly.
I only saw them fight on a couple of occasions. The first time when she had said something about him being very rigid on his values, sometimes stubbornly so; and the second time when they had to decide whether to continue living as they were or move away from their present jobs in pursuit of their dreams, which also meant moving away from each other if the need be. Their fights were characterized by the lack of conversation, that’s about it. They still came for the ice cream and left together after having it. But mostly, they had only one and in silence.
I did not see them after the second fight. I had grown so used to their presence at 10 o’ clock in the night that it felt weird not having them around in the beginning. With time, I have slowly accepted their absence. I do not know their names. I also do not know where they were from or where did they go to. Whatever little I know of them, I had gathered from their conversations – some that they had shared and some that I had overheard. They were like any other ordinary couple who frequent the ice cream stall. I do not know why I still remember them except that I do and every night at 10 I single out two ice-creams – a butter-scotch for her, a chocolate one for him – and keep them separate, just in case they happen to come over!
This is a work of fiction and bears no resemblance to anyone in particular. However, incidents in this story have been inspired by many love stories that I have been a witness or audience to. So, if you find a part of the story that you think belongs to you, do not be surprised. Most likely it is yours in which case you can contact me for a free ice-cream!