She stared vacantly at the contacts list on her I-Phone. Scrolling through the names listed in alphabetical order, she paused at a few, pondered and then moved on again swiftly to find that one name, that one person, that one friend to reach out for. Who was that one? Anika herself wasn’t sure of.

“Will Olive be free to meet up? Can Bani manage to come over to see me? Would Mona have any other commitments already? Nah, not Pammy, she is such a bore. Nitya will keep yapping about her sorry state of affairs and seeing the single, vibrant, glamorous, globe trekking Tina was something she was not ready for.

What she needed was someone to listen to her, understand her fears, know her dreams, talk about latest movies, books, current affairs or even Football world cup too…. anything but home, children, work and family.

None of the names on her contact list fit the bill. She couldn’t be herself with any of them without sounding grey. She felt exhausted and had enough of the monotonous events of her life. The glorious picture of a Stay at Home Mom was no longer appealing as it used to be. She missed her corporate work life, her colleagues; she even missed those long tiresome meetings.

“Maybe I just need some retail therapy or will indulging in some sinful desserts do the trick and pep me up?” She let out a deep sigh.

Anika was still going through the list, deciding on her “distress call” friend, when she saw a name which made her heart skip a beat.

Daksh….. “Yes, I could always depend on him. He has been my best friend since we were kids and as teenagers in love too. Daksh would know my despair and do just the right thing to cheer me up”.

She toyed around the bright green call button of her cell phone. “Should I call him?”

Anika decided against it. She accessed her Facebook through her I-Phone and created an Event:

Name: Coffee??
Details: Need my Best Friend for a Day.
Where: Barista
Privacy: Invite Only Daksh Khanna

Event created and posted, Anika was immediately anxious of what Daksh might think of her invite.

“Will he judge me for wanting time out from our family, will he laugh at me for being such a drama queen, will he want to spare his Saturday to meet his friend, will he…?”

Questioning thought’s stopped the moment she saw a notification pop up on her Facebook page.

“That will be nice. It’s been ages since an exclusive coffee with you. Wifey will be Jealous so let’s just keep it a secret between us?”

What will her “husband” think of it? She pondered.

“Yes, let’s make it our Secret Coffee date” Anika replied back.

“So long then” Daksh signed off

When Saturday arrived, Anika was a nervous lot. She fretted finalizing on what to wear for her date with her best friend, whilst worrying whether her son will miss her too much when she won’t be around. She decided to push the envelope by painting her nails and applying a dash of makeup but had this nagging feeling that her mother in law was eyeing her suspiciously. She had told Maaji that she was meeting her girlfriends.

“Does she sense something fishy?” Anika’s conscience was taking a dig at her.

Finally, when her 1 year old son went to bed for an afternoon nap, she felt relaxed leaving him in Mother-in-law’s care. Her husband who had been witnessing her anxiousness and madness since morning smiled at his beautiful wife.

“Do you want a drop in the car since we are going the same route?”

“Oh, Thanks, but I will take a taxi” she said aimlessly looking for something in her purse thus avoiding his eyes

“As you wish. Have a nice day.”

“You too” Still fidgeting with her clutch, she finally met his glance and smiled back.

All the way to her date, Anika kept thinking about what to say when she sees him first.

“He used to always hug me as friends. Would he still do that? Will I feel awkward? Will he find it weird? Will he think I look pretty? We always enjoyed watching movies in the theater….would he want to see one with me today? ”

“God, I am fantasizing about watching movies with Daksh whilst my unsuspecting, needy, little boy must be wondering where his mamma is” Anika felt sheepish and kept herself in check.

She reached Barista and looked around. As always he was never on time. She hated waiting. It made her feel conscious and privy to strangers’ eyes passing by.

“I should have reminded him to be there before me, I should have…”

Her thoughts stopped whilst her heart did a somersault. There he was walking towards her. She smiled foolishly and took a few steps forward. Standing in front of her, she looked into his geeky but handsome face. He came forward and hugged her, she hugged him right back.

“You look gorgeous. Sorry you had to wait, but I have something for you.” He showed flashed two movie tickets

“The fault in our stars?” She had read the book last month and wanted to see the movie since then. Daksh was an Iron Man and Resident Evil kind of a guy. Anika was left with misty eyes.

“We love watching movies don’t we?”

Yes, we do” her smile reached her eyes replacing the shiny silver tear drops.

“Coffee then? She happily nodded.

It was a perfect date over coffee with pies and choice of red velvet and dark fantasy cake. The talks were healing.

During the movie, when Daksh held her hand, she felt awkward for a minute but soon was comforted in his warmth. When she cried watching one of the scenes he smiled and gentle wiped her tears. The movie was brilliant and so was her company. She felt guilty for enjoying her time away from her son.

Anika didn’t want the date to end but soon it was time to go back home, to her family, her son, her husband.

“We will meet soon again? For a date”

“I would like that very much” she said shyly

“Let me take you home”

“No, Mother-in-law might not be happy to see us come together”

“Well, Anika Khanna, my mother will just have to get used to her son and daughter-in-law going out on Coffee Dates once in a while”

She smiled. He took her hands. The two best friends drove back home together, happy and blissfully in Love as married couples can be.

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