She was utterly disappointed when a Ping-Pong table was installed in the office opposite to her apartment. She felt distracted in her thoughts and sometimes felt uneasy when they glanced at her while she sipped away at her coffee or when she stared at the sky searching for something.
She knew that they knew that she knows that they see her and that she sees them.
She began to observe them. They were always well-dressed. They always came in pairs. Of course! They would, one cannot play alone. That was silly. They came during their breaks. They had 10 minutes timer set on their phones. They always came in the same pairs and she knew who was comfortable with whom. Some of them were about the same age as her and some were about 10 years older than her. They were much more animated when they knew that she was a spectator of their game. They would jump and they would laugh. Sometimes, she laughed too without making it obvious.
A habit of creature she eventually got used to them and got back to her daily activities without getting distracted. She stopped observing them consciously.
One day when she thought that they were gone away for the holidays and in that assumption made herself extra comfortable by taking her canvas out to paint in the balcony. Two of them appeared in casual clothing and beer bottles in their hands. It must be their last day. She left her canvas and went to get a cup of coffee.
She took exactly 10 minutes to prepare her coffee. All she wanted was to get back to her painting and to her mind frame before they broke her concentration.
When she returned, only one of them was there. The other was on the phone in a room adjacent to the Ping-Pong room. By the looks of it, this one person was waiting for the other person to get back from his phone call.
Her eyes lingered for a second longer and in that instance, this person looked straight at her. He waved and mouthed a “Hi”. She waved back and said a “Hi” too. He smiled. She smiled.
Break it. It is getting awkward.
He pointed at her canvas and tried to gesture that it is beautiful. She signed, “thank you”.
He said something but she was unable to understand. She blankly stared at him and he figured out that she did not understand. He signalled at her to wait and left. A couple of minutes later he came back with a couple of blank sheets and a black marker.
He wrote, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” and displayed.
She signed, “thank you” again.
He bent on the table again and wrote, “See you next year?”
She nodded in agreement.
“Take care”, he wrote again.
She signalled to him to wait. She went inside and wrote, “you too” on a blank piece of paper and showed it to him.
He signed, “thank you” and smiled.
At that moment, the other person walked in and said something and they made their way out. As he left the room, he turned back and waved at her. She waved back and he was gone.
She smiled to herself and went back to her painting.