THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER (PART 2)
There were protests in the streets again this morning. A lot of angry people, coming together, shouting profanities about people they don’t even know, demanding that the United States should be forever cleansed off Muslims. Do they realize just how much they sound like Hitler who they condemn for asking something particularly similar, Vance wondered, as he watched the protesters pass from the sidewalk.
“You ain’t protesting young man?”
Vance looked at the small old woman standing beside him, leaning on a crutch, staring appraisingly at the marching protesters. He vaguely wondered if she was a Berth or an Elizabeth. When he didn’t reply, she turned to him, “they should never have let them browns and Muslims infiltrate our country. Now, look what that has brought to us. Thousands of our people killed in an attack by their people. They all should be hanged” she finished glaring at Vance as if he was responsible for all this.“Their people or ours makes no difference.” He replied just to shrug the old woman off. He didn’t notice the gasp of surprise she gave but moved ahead, jostling through the crowd. Truthfully, Vance didn’t care about any of that. Right now all he cared about was getting to his work on time. He just couldn’t afford to get late for the eighth time this month. He shuddered thinking about his manager’s reaction. No, he can’t be late again. He caught his morning subway just on time, breathing a sigh of relief.
He rubbed a hand down his face, thinking about his day. No doubt it was going to be same as every other in this week. It has been like this for past five years.
Every morning is the same as every night. It terrified him how easily he has accepted the monotony of it and joined the herd that was going nowhere. He leaned back in his seat and thought about her. It has become a strange sort of habit for him. Since the day she went out of his door, he has unconsciously looked for her. On subways, at random bars or clubs, but he couldn’t seem to find that face again. It was like she was an illusion of time, an angel that swept past him like a winter breeze that he just couldn’t hold onto. He had tried the number she has left him, numerous times but he had finally realized that it was fake. Why would she do that? That was the one question that kept ringing in his mind. “why would she?”
Zakima hid her face, covering it with the scarf as she moved past the protesters. They terrified her, with their angry words and rude gestures, it scared her that they didn’t even know her and they still wanted her dead.
She moved through the street with her head down and covered face. She hated hiding, but she couldn’t risk her safety. She was a black Muslim, living in Brooklyn in a small apartment working for a small restaurant. Her life was hard, to say the least. She reached her workplace shortly avoiding the angry mob and breathing a sigh of relief as she closed the door behind her. She wished she could avoid being who she was just for a day. ‘what would it feel like,’ she wondered sometimes, ‘to be free of any prejudices, to loose yourself for just one day.’ She changed into her uniform at the back of the storerooms, mentally preparing herself for another day of work. Now and then, she thought about the stranger with grey eyes. It has become sort of a habit for her. She tried to guess his names, tried to make up stories about who he was, where he came from, unconsciously looking for his face in the thousand nameless faces she saw every day but she couldn’t find him and she knew it was better that way.
So, she cleaned her tables and took her orders, trying to avoid all the malicious glares people shot at her, their grumbles that they didn’t bother to keep low. She just wanted this day to end again.
Vance was tired of the protestors by evening. He was tired of his office people, the constant gossips, the work stress. He was hungry as he already missed his evening subway. He wanted to break the chain. He didn’t want to go home for another day pretending that he was happy and content. Having achieved all that, Vance wondered sometimes was he really happy. He was happy, he thought, just alone. He found a small restaurant at the end of the street. He decided to dine there. After all, a change of taste was what he needed right now.
The restaurant was dimly lit, with soft jazz music playing. It had the typical brown and white dinning look. He sat down on one of the tables, seeing as it was practically empty. He flicked through the menu not paying any mind to it. “ what would you like this evening sir,” Vance looked up, startled at the voice but his eyes got stuck in the face of the strange waitress. He was too shocked to react at the moment as he gazed at the brown-eyed beautiful women. ‘of all the places I have looked..’ he thought.
Zakima was positively startled as she looked at the man who has occupied her thoughts for so long. She couldn’t believe that of all the places, he would come by at her own workplace. She swallowed, remembering their last encounter. Clearing her throat, she asked again, “what can I bring you this evening?” He raised an eyebrow at her, smirking slowing, “you.” He enjoyed her eyes widened at his reply.“I have looked for you so long and now I want to meet you, properly. So what would the lady say about going out on a date with me.” She smiled, looking at the stranger,” the lady would love to go.” He grinned, “then how about you join me for dinner.” She curtsied, “ as my lord commands,” giggling, she broke out of her character, “I have to ask my manager first.” He nodded at her, sitting back down.
Zakima turned back halfway, “hey stranger, whats your name?”
“Vance” he shouted, winking at her interesting.
To Be Continued….
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