I was just turning around the corner in my rush to get to the ladies room. He had just come out the "boys room" and came around the corner at the exact moment. With me just about to go to the restroom and him just out of it, standing in front of the bathrooms, wasn't exactly the most romantic of first meetings. But then you couldn't really call it a meeting. A hastily mumbled sorry, a quick almost non-look in each others direction and we were on our way. His face didn't even register then. The only reason I know it was him, was because of the horrendous, fright of colors shirt he was wearing. My first thought was that people seemed to be taking this casual Friday dress code a little too far. My second was that he must be seeing someone, for no matter how brave a man is, he wouldn't wear a shirt like that unless it was a gift worn coz of a very compelling need. These thoughts passed through my mind in a couple of seconds and I forgot about him. The only thing that stuck somewhere in my subconscious was that shirt.
The second time we met, he was in the same shirt again. I mean it couldn't have been someone else wearing a similar shirt could it? At which point I should have walked away. A man who thinks that that was a shirt to be worn repeatedly was not to be pursued, I mean business networked with. But would I listen to my rare sensible thoughts? No. So I stuck around, as he waited for his mug to fill up at the coffee machine. He seemed to staring fixedly at the oddly dark brown, semi translucent liquid that seemed to be dropping into his mug. As the stream stopped, he picked up his mug and as he walked away he peered inside and only then did he realized that there was no milk in his coffee. He turned around and looked straight at me. "I guess, the machine's run out of milk powder", I offered in the away of a lame excuse (worst first line ever?). He smiled a very rueful smile, walked back, holding my glance (drooling stare?) and proceeded to empty the contents of his mug into the basin.
Then followed the usual, which business unit/ practice/ project do you work with, questions that must be followed according to "The 7 Rules of Highly Effective first time coffee machine conversations". Once the said questions from the script were gone through, we made some inane remarks about the absent coffee and after an uncomfortable 0.6 min which I spent wondering how someone this good looking, I mean with such in depth knowledge of the business, can wear such a shirt (I really need to get another line of thought! …ummmm…no! no! no! this is office! Let's just think about the shirt. ), we went back to our respective seats.
So then of course we'd run into each other often. I mean on a floor seating 100 odd, you are bound to, aren't you? So we finally reached the stage in our relationship (sporadic 15 second "accidental" encounters), when we could start asking certain questions to each other. So with shivering temerity, I popped the question. "So, what's with the shirt?" Really Nandita, a man's salary, his golf handicap and his choice of shirts are his own business. Or are they?? He had the gall to reply, "What shirt?". As if there were loads of shirts he owned, that needed to discussed. I shudder to think of the world if that were true. "The shirt you where every Friday!", trying to keep the emphasis out of "every". And I realized a little too late that me noticing what he wears every Friday, became very obvious.
However, apparently men do not get these subtle hints, and he proceeded to tell me, the story of the shirt. To cut a long story short…
This was the shirt he had worn, when he had his one and only kiss.
I know I should have walked away, when I saw that shirt.
Disclaimer: For any women from my workplace, reading this, this is a work of fiction and bears no resemblance to any man, alive or dead. There are no such good looking men in our workplace, with or without shirts, I mean with or without bad shirts.
Note to Self: The situation is in serious need of correction if your fiction is also full of losers.