The Birthday Boy
"So this will be your room, right next to mine", she said, stopping at door. "Well thanks!" I smiled. "Do you snore?" "No ma'am." "Good. And don't call me ma'am." "I'm sorry." "Don't be sorry!" "Okay."
And with that, she was gone. I opened the door and walked in.
It was a beautiful room. Quite comfortable. Wooden floors and walls just like the rest of the pub, a few paintings, a bed in one corner, with a small table and a lamp. The two large windows let ample light into the room. A small chandelier in the middle of the room gave it an aristocratic feeling. A door on the right corner led to a small washroom.
I walked to the window and peeked outside. The pub was on a hill that overlooked the city suburbs. It was breathtaking.
I unpacked my bags and went into the shower. The warm water was an instant relief to my sore muscles. A moment later, I heard a bang on the door. "Who's there?" "It's Claire!" "Just a minute!" I wrapped myself in a towel and opened the door. "Yes?" She pointed at the tray on the table. "I brought you some food. It's vegetarian." "Thanks! I'm starving!" "Right," she turned to leave.
"Umm, Claire?" "What?" "It's my birthday today." "Oh!" her face softened and a smile lit up her face. "Well happy birthday!" "Thanks!" "How old are you?" "28 now. And you?" "Me? Hun, it ain't my birthday." She closed the door behind her.
I went back into the shower, spent a few more minutes scrubbing away, then rinsed off.
The meal was prepacked. Paneer sabji and naan, rice, dahl and an apple pie. Interesting! Had she ordered it from an Indian restaurant? I wondered. As I ate, I couldn't help but think that there was more to this woman than the tough front she put on. She was thoughtful. Was she single? Oh no! There I go again! I rebuked myself.
My mind wandered off to Kyle. He seemed to know me. But I had no recollection of ever seeing him before.
The sound of laughter emanated from downstairs. My curiosity led me to see what was happening. I'd stop by the kitchen to see what Claire was up to, and survey the pub on the way back.
Someone was playing music in the booth. The pub was bustling with patrons. I looked at the clock. Lunch time.
"Hey! Krsnah! Over here!" I looked over to see Kyle sitting with Abacus and a new fella. "Gentlemen," I shook hands. "This is stargazer." "It's a pleasure." "I saw you in Nuremberg a few weeks ago." "Really?! What a pleasant surprise! It's a small world after all!" "Only in these parts," he laughed. "You guys hang out here often?" I inquired. "Yep! Best place in town," stargazer said. The others nodded. "Great! We should catch up sometime!" "Sure! Anytime you're free!" Kyle said. "Okay then! Thanks gentlemen!"
I hurried back toward the kitchen. No sight of Claire. In any case, she'd be busy at this time. I went back upstairs.
I sat on my bed and turned on my laptop. So Stargazer had seen me too. I looked up the profiles of Kyle, Abacus and Stargazer on the pub site. Interesting individuals. I sensed a depth of wisdom in Abacus and Stargazer. They'd seen the world from more perspectives than I had. Kyle was the less intimidating of the three, but I hoped to develop camaraderie with them all in the near future.
I checked the IRC for any messages. I'd mentioned my birthday but hadn't received any attention. Now there were messages from at least 5 people. Perhaps I wasn't as lonely as I'd thought. Clearly there were people who still appreciated my presence there. I was getting emotional.
I lay back in bed, exhausted. It was time for a good nap. Perhaps I'd see the others in the evening.
I drifted off to sleep.
Write a reply
~kyle wrote (thread):
Hey Krsnah, happy Birthday (somewhat late, sorry)
~stargazer wrote (thread):
Happy B-Day Krsnah! I wouldn't say that I am intimidating, strange and a little forward maybe LOL :)
~zymotux wrote (thread):
Happy Birthday Krsnah! Pull up a bar stool and let me buy you a birthday drink...
I've just made it to the pub too, and have a capsule down the corridor, up the stairs, first right, second left... no wait, third left? Where's my map gone - this is a deceptively large place!