A quite dinner one late evening in Stockholm. Like always, they had a deep desire for some personal gratification, but this one night things were more provoked. Everything seems to be going according to the “plan”. He’s been a bit weak at nerves, but as anxious. Just two weeks with her for this vacation which may well just be the occasion of their life. A 300 years old restaurant with authentic cuisine and antique decor. Smooth jazz and German white wine to add flavor to the ambience. Just the right amount of lighting and just the two of them, for them atleast. “Are you alright? It’s your fourth glass of wine”, she says. “Yeah, I’m good … just ….. just glad! Enjoying it!” Her dazzling aura, her vivacious charm, her hair, her words, her lips, her ignorance, her neck, the mole near her right ear – everything pushed him even closer to speak his heart out. Yet, everything seems to be going according to the “plan”. Hesitant, as if the gigantic world of 20 odd guests were gazing at him. His heart racing faster than Schumacher. But then he also knew what to do – to do for her – to let her know that he loves her more than himself – unaccountably more than he has every loved anyone in his young life. As the music lapped, the waiter walked to their table with the menu for the main course, with a deviant yet familiar gaze at him. The aroma couldn’t have been any more sizzling on that special night. With every movement of the knife and the fork, both of them were silently thinking of how their lives would have been, could have been, maybe should have been, and how it has been, together, with each other now. The thought itself brought a glow and a curbed smile on their faces – sluggishly hiding the joy of their possession’s from each other. But then, they were young and deeply in love, so who am I to interfere. He must have been waiting for this moment for the past few weeks, or maybe months, but not years – naa not years for sure. But he knew deep down that this day will come, ever since he met her two years back. And then the moment arrived – it arrived in the shape of a sweet desert – a rare Swedish delicacy called the “Colors of the Baltic Affection.” The fragrance of the old English apple’s still haunts at times. He kept his hands away from the antique dining table, giving her the space she would need. His eyes fixed on her’s, as she casually opened the lid to the ceramic bowl. But there was a hitch, for she didn’t quite expect it. “Oh dear God!”, she pronounced, “I can’t believe this!.” She was ecstatic, and the crimson on his face made it evident that he was delighted. “They’ve gifted us a beautiful ring with the desert … look how arty it is honey”, she said. Well, if you ask me, that ring sure constituted beauty as lavish as mother nature – for it may have been enveloped in Gold & Diamonds, but it was a sheer token of Love. Something to hold by, for life! Keeping the endurance, he first broke the bad news to her, “It’s not from them sweetheart”, and eventually she took her own time to embrace the good news. He had never seen her so content and delighted ever before. Gone deaf by that sight as it froze in his heart, he could only see her speak with passion. They sat there, talking for hours, until the bridge bells rung thrice, and evoked them to return to their abode. He politely asked for the cheque, thanking the attendant for his cooperation in the romantic adventure gone tasteful. The attendant returned back, just a few moments later, while he was admiring her hand. “Sir, your bill has already been paid for. We hope you had a lovely evening with us”, said the dark-suited 40-something attendant, to which he uttered with a smile, “Are you sure? We haven’t paid as yet … there must have been a mistake”. Everything seems to be going according to the “plan”. After exactly 3 seconds of silence and looking around, the attendant replied with a warm smile, “Sir, the gentleman in the white shirt, who was seated next to your table paid for the ‘Colors of the Baltic Affection’ and the rest of the evening for you two. Have a lovely night and best compliments.”
Later that night, they walked hand in hand, along the Uppsala till dawn greeted them. Commemorating the enchanting evening, the three of them knew it wouldn’t return, maybe never.
P.S. — For some strange reason this post got deleted twice, coincidence I guess, but I didn’t give up on writing it again.