Zoe took another swig of her warm beer and tried to focus on the road ahead, but his words reverberated in her mind. The sapphire flashed for that hint of a moment in the glare of oncoming traffic, before settling back to its murky blue depths.
“We should call it off.”
“Call it off.” Brief and precise. Just like he was. No explanations, no justifications, no drama. It was that simple to call the ‘it’ that had been riding her life for six years now, ‘off’, in a matter of few words, one scalding hot coffee and strains of Billy Joel in the background. The coffee shop she realized was perfect for breakups. There was no alcohol, so no chances of a scene happening. Plus there was a certain civility that cloaked you, the moment you walked into a coffee shop. Coffee shops reminded you, that you were a genteel and sensible species. Dirty business could be transacted gracefully here, without fuss, without drama.
She had tried to ask him and reason it out. But he seemed impassive, indifferent even. And while she was suddenly seized by an overwhelming urge to wail and rip off his pretentious Tom Ford shirt, all she mustered was a polite ok.
They sat like that for a few moments as if condoling the death of a pet hamster, she, too choked to speak and he dying to get away from the situation, away from her. It made her uncomfortable, embarrassed even. So Zoe had picked up her fake D&G bag, mumbled a fake ‘take care’ and left, her tears fast clouding up her vision.
She wondered if the fact that she had been sacked a week back had any bearing on this sudden realization. After all being fired from a prominent law firm was a big deal. But she had not been at fault, she maintained that. An innocent remark about a client during a totally incongruous conversation with an industry friend had found its way up the grape wine. But in her defense, she was drunk and talking to a friend, who apparently turned out to be not so friendly after all. Which her boss pointed out was even dumber.
And while she was slugging out as a dumb temp, Mr. Kabir Anand, the cool IIM pass-out boyfriend of hers, was steadily rising up the career graph. He had recently been made partner in his firm and was aiming to get featured next on a business daily. And now given the changed circumstances, a fired temp as a girlfriend was a bad liability. Bad for his image, bad for his business.
So at 26, in the prime of her life, she was jobless and oh yes, boyfriend less. And to top it all she had warm beer, 3 months of severance pay and a whopping credit card bill, earned by spending on clothes she didn't need and gym memberships she couldn't afford anymore. Life had reached rock bottom and now was looking for a shovel to dig.