Not victorious, not lost. Just euphoric.
In the crowd, the two of them stood yelling.
In an intense match of a sport they didn't even understand well.
They met at a coffee shop and she looked like she would die if no one spoke to her today.
Stan. Stan had to go somewhere today. So he went to a coffee shop next to his workplace. The one which reminded him of the poor suburb he lived in, the dingy and dark interiors were bad enough already and then a few months back a shootout took place, leaving all the windows either cracked or smashed.
He stepped in and she was trying her best to be invisible, he noticed. The ray of light coming through the window on her right defeated her attempts. Her hair was a rich brown colour, almost like the dark chocolate he grated for his boss this morning. Long thick lashes and heavy eye bags. She adjusted her glittery gold muffler, to hide the marks from last night.
She hated her job, well who wouldn't?
The job wasn't exactly how she had grown up to think it would be. It wasn't about taking away people's sadness or making them truly happy. Instead it was just another job that had momentary and monetary benefits. No longer did she have to wait for months to buy a dress she spotted on her way back home. However this was the point where the pros of her job stopped. Too many bandaids, too many pain-killers and too much of concealers swallowed up her money and strength. Every night started dissolving into the next one and trapped her in the routine- Dress up, put on make up, put on a smile and lock the door.
Then she would meet a stranger and once he felt stronger than her, he would hurt her. Sometimes it would be her face and at times it would be her body. The bruises on her neck and shoulders from last night still burned everytime she adjusted her bra strap or muffler. The coffee she had ordered was bitter and felt good as it ran down her throat. Last night it had been no different. Ofcourse until now.
He hated his job, well who wouldn't?
Stan was eleven when he first noticed the tremors. Initially he thought it was because of an earthkwik his mom kept talking about. She always told him that if too many people did something wrong, there will be an earthkwik. He wondered what wrong did he do? Other than crossing Mr.Bram's fence once to get the ripe oranges for himself which weren't even as sweet as he thought they would be. As time passed by, earthkwik in his hands became too evident because of the things he broke. Mother's favorite crockery, father's spectacles, texttubes at school and even his superman mug. The doctor said it was temporary and medicines would make it go away. As years went by, the medication only worsened his tremors and then a real earthquake hit their home.
Stan now lived with his uncle, a man who never thought of him as a nephew. Just another boy that he had hired to lessen his work at his patisserie. Coloured in mint green and powder pink, the colours of the patisserie reflected nothing about his uncle. In contrast the walls should be painted black or red or grey he always felt. As his boss, he made Stan grate cheese, chocolate and vegetables in huge quantities. Silently hoping that someday his hands will give up. Everyday blood would ooze out little by little and Stan would cringe in pain when his uncle wasn't looking. Today had been no different. Ofcourse until now.
He sat next to her and waited patiently for her to notice him. She looked at him only when he asked the waiter to bring him the same coffee that she was drinking. He smiled at her, it wasn't the kind of smile she was used to getting from men. It was earnest and harmless, just like her dad's. She couldn't help but smile back. A few minutes of talking and they were walking out of the cafe and hailing a cab. The driver suggested a place and they agreed without hesitating. And boy! was he right.
In the crowd, the two of them stood yelling.
In an intense match of a sport they didn't even understand well. The man in blue shorts had just been punched in the jaw. He spat fresh red blood and his bloodshot eyes were welled up with tears. As his blood fell on the ground, the two of them screamed and cheered at the top of their voices. Then there was the sound of a bone breaking somewhere, the thud of the loser's head hitting the ground and blowing of a whistle.
The two of them stood there covered in sweat and sore throats-not victorious, not lost.
And for once they were the spectators of pain, not the receivers.