I didn’t expect her to open up to me . I was still the outsider, after all. I often blamed myself for that. I was not like them . But then again , i was from a different culture , a different country , so i was supposed to be different . I didn’t go out of my way to blend in . I was happy to be “me”, happy to not change . And i paid for it .For instance, it doesn’t feel good to be eating one’s lunch in the staff room, all alone , for sure. Oh , i had forgotten ! This post is not about me . It is about Jessica . Jessica , my colleague, with hair the colour of gold and eyes the colour of emeralds.
“Hey! do you want to grab a coffee ?” she asked enthusiastically. I was startled.”Was she referring to me?” My eyes took a 360 degree quick stroll around my cubicle . Indeed , there was noone but me. I didn’t know how to respond since i wasn’t used to these kind of questions. No one at my workplace had shown any inclination to be informal or to socialise with me and i did nothing to change their behavioural pattern towards me . Jessica’s question had come as a positive hope and how could one possibly say “no” to hope!So , we went to the adjacent coffee shop after work . Both Arielle and Becky, Jessica’s good friends, had called in sick. It was destiny. Jessica and I were meant to be more than just acquaintances.
There was an odd silence around our table in that dimly-lit coffee shop. The green frappuccino was synonymous with happy feelings for me. I smiled to myself , as i felt the gush of paradise envelope my taste buds.
“It must be difficult for you to be continents away from your country.” Jessica asked in an earnest tone, breaking the silence and the discomfort.
“I miss home but i like it here”,I replied succinctly. And then i spotted a bright, beautiful solitaire on her ring finger. We had just started talking. “Would it be impolite to ask her if she was married”?, I thought to myself . “Thats a gorgeous ring”, I complimented .
“Thanks”, Jessica said.
She might have been in her early- twenties, i speculated. In my country, educated career women in cities hardly married before 25. Like a mind reader absorbing my thoughts ,Jessica said “Ed was my fiancé and the father of my children.I shouldn’t really be wearing this ring anymore,”Jessica said with a pale smile and i could see a cloud of despair cloaking her emerald green eyes.
She was a mother to two boys, i gathered from our conversation . I was wondering as how Jessica managed to pay her bills and support her children , single-handedly , when she filled in the space between us with a few more words.”Ed visits , once in a while . The children are so happy when he is around”, Jessica said. The way Jessica pronounced his name, the affection with which she uttered the few sentences about “Ed”,the emptiness in her eyes when she implied a “break-up” and the engagement ring told me that she ardently hoped for him to return.
She was willing to forgive him . She was willing to begin again. She was willing to suffer alone till it was truly meaningful for her to be wearing that bright and beautiful diamond solitaire in her ring finger.