We got to the party late, but many were still around, chilling. I headed straight to the water, felt the sand making its way into my shoes. He followed me there.
“I love the sound of the waves,” I said. I could hear laughter and the soft music just a few metres away but where we were there was just the sound of lapping water onto sand.
I glanced sideways to him and then upwards to the star-filled sky. It was a beautiful evening and there was no other place I would rather be.
Moving towards an empty chair, I fixed my gazed onto his unreadable face as he sat next to me.
“I’m sorry for the trouble I caused today.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” he finally said. “Well, you could’ve watch more carefully where you were going but accidents do happen.” I knew it.
“I’m just glad you weren’t hurt badly.”
I dropped my gaze then, afraid to show any emotion which he could easily read on my face.
“The team and I had wanted to surprise you here, but I had to go to the hospital so that didn’t work out,” I confessed. He smiled then.
“Thanks for the thought. But I’m not seventeen, you know.”
“It’s still your birthday,” I countered, half laughing at the thought of him being a teenager. He wouldn’t be much different, surely, except for the few strands of grey in his hair.
He finally laughed, and I felt a rush of affection for this young man who made this happen for me. I turned to see one of the crew started walking towards us but then stopped when he saw me. He just smiled and turned to the opposite direction.
- – -
Mingling is something I am not very good at. Although I am better at it now, I would prefer to sit quietly at a corner and let the merry makers take the floor without me.
He was next to me at the table, and was in a chatty mood. It was the final evening and I again felt as if we were the only ones there, despite the throng of people around us.
A guy came up to us and upon seeing me, commented on the latest article written by the organiser.
“You’re the female tactician, right?” the guy asked excitedly, much to my embarrassment and explained to his girlfriend about the article, aware that I was right in front of them.
He laughed at my predicament but was serious when he spoke.
“People took notice, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You should be proud.”
We were sitting so close that I could just reach for his hand and held it in mine. But I didn’t. Instead, I just stared at the table, still embarrassed. He gave me a pat on the back.
“You did good. Just focus on improving.”
That made me feel better. Just a little bit.