Episode 3 – The First Date

The big day had finally arrived.

Jane woke up with a big smile on her face. Though the date was not supposed to happen till five in the evening (thanks to the monstrous time difference), Jane couldn’t help but feel excited. For her, it was like getting back to those teenage days : when you are sixteen, and have a crush, and they smile at you for the first time and maybe you get to say your first hello – the heart starts beating faster, the butterflies start twirling in the stomach, the cheeks turn red because you are blushing oh-so-hard!  So many feelings, it’s almost like a rush. It had been quite a while that Jane felt all of this and she was largely surprised that a person sitting five thousand miles away could do this to her. What was happening?

The day progressed at snail’s pace but Jane took full benefit of it. Who cares if it was a virtual date! It was a date after all and someone who was evoking such vibrant feelings sure was worth the complete date experience. So she took her time to decide on the dress to wear, on the way to make her hair, about which room would have the perfect light, the list could go on for sometime.

After a long, long time the clock struck five.

Jane sent a text to Sam and logged into her Skype. And she waited.  The clock kept ticking away the minutes and Jane kept waiting. She was getting fidgety now. It was almost half an hour past five. What the hell happened, she thought.  As the minutes rolled by, her anxiousness turned to disappointment and slowly it was on the verge of turning to anger. An hour had rolled by.

Just when Jane had decided she would give up, Sam’s text came in. It said, he was overworked, thus had overslept and would be there in fifteen minutes. Also that he was extremely sorry for making her wait. Jane was not impressed. Being on time was one thing that was very important for her (you can’t really blame her, being in Germany does that to you and if you already had that bug, it gets worse) and this was supposed to be the first date. Whatever the reason, she felt, at least she could have been informed about the change in time.  But because this was the first date, she decided to let it slide but also decided on giving a piece of her mind to Sam.

Another twenty minutes later, Sam was online. It was not the ideal situation. Jane was already quite angry. And again the ‘first-time-meeting anxiety’ had kicked in. The Skype call was making its presence felt, with its continuous loud rings. Finally, Jane calmed herself down, took a deep breath and answered the call.

There he was! SAM!

Sitting on the other side of the screen, smiling, saying a hello and apologising profusely for being so late. Jane could’t resist smiling at him. It was such a surreal feeling to see him. The handsome face. The innocent mellow eyes. The charming smile. This was the guy who had appeared in her life from nowhere. This was the guy with who she felt that unexplainable connection. This was the stranger guy who was so far but still felt so close to her. Jane was almost beaming now.

They talked for a while, exchanging pleasantries and discussing life in the last one week. Jane made sure she put in the fact that what happened today was not really fair. The point was clearly understood and accepted. Everyone was happy.

Their conversation rolled on. It was almost thirty minutes. Finally it was Sam who brought up the unavoidable topic on the table. He clearly asked, “So how is this going to work?”. Both of them knew that the logistics were not the most favourable for them. Leaving aside the time and distance, there were more difficult factors like how Sam was looking for someone to settle down with and on the other side was Jane who was just starting her PhD in Berlin. So even if they decided to be together, there was no way they would be in the same place for the next three or four years. And neither of them was ready for a long-distance relationship of that kind. There was no visible horizon to make things work.

True, it was just a week and too early for a question of this sort but it was pragmatic. Why go further into an abyss when you know you won’t see the end of it, no matter how alluring and beautiful it is!

So when the question was asked, Jane didn’t have much to say, because she didn’t really have a right answer. But she said what she felt in her heart, ‘If it has to work out, it will – I don’t know the how but someway’.

Sam was slightly baffled by her conviction but also felt better. He was the logical, solution-seeking kind but somehow Jane’s reply had brought him a certain calm. He decided to not coax the discussion further.   Moreover, it was almost forty minutes of enjoyable and very easy-going first-time Skype with a stranger. Though Sam was a very social person, Skype is a completely different game and this hadn’t happened before. This time it was his turn to think, ‘This is not something to be taken too lightly’.

It had been just a week but a flame was kindled and it was starting to shine. Neither of them was ready to douse it yet. Maybe it had to be done soon, but now was not the time.

You are a mystery to me, yet so familiar. Like a song I’ve never heard before, and a tune I’ve known my entire life.

                                                                 – Pavana

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