“Now, now, be careful,” I said, trying to sound mild. It still came out as a disapproving mom, whose every (or every other) sentence is an injunction to her children. “Don’t spill my coffee”, as if it mattered. The coffee was not hot enough and was a watered down version of the strong brew I liked at home.
She smiled sweetly, but not appeasingly, I noted. Ah, the confidence of youth. I was not much older myself; just a decade separating us but in wisdom, I had reams to tell her.
“I think you would appreciate the fact that we could meet over coffee, so as to talk about the things you could expect to happen in life over the next ten years.” The younger me took a small bite of the pasta daintily. Her table manners were good.
“See, the thing you have to guard against the most is your melancholia. Try to get your moodiness under control. Think in a stable manner. You are very logical, I know and reason does win hands down as opposed to emotional outbursts, yet take care that you do not overburden your thinking mechanism. Otherwise, you have a full blown depression coming along”, I said dramatically.
My younger self jerked up her head, a few wisps of hair waving about in her still black head. I fingered my greying mane surreptitiously. She was surprised; her eyes widened. She gulped down her fancy milk shake a little too quickly.
“Now that the worst thing about your future is out of the way we can talk about more cheerful things.” I felt relaxed and realised that I liked meeting a younger self of myself over coffee. Not only to impart some wisdom but to be reminded in flesh and blood what I had been like, ten years before.
“There would be many rewards for your hard work”, I smiled, thinking I sounded like a mysterious fortune teller. “For one”, I plunged in, “you would be the entrepreneur you have always wanted to be and worked towards.” She looked SO taken-aback. I felt a surge of love for her. “In fact”, I continued, “you would be a serial entrepreneur. Lots of challenges, stretching myself, umm.. yourself every day and sleeping content at night.”
“Wow”, my younger self breathed. I felt positively happy. How I had wanted so much for someone to tell me at that point of time about how things would turn out.
“You know how much I loved pasta at your age”, I said, changing tacks. Her smile was lovely. “Yes, I know”, she said. “After all, you were me at this age. And you know, with all due respect, for you are much experienced, I must say..”, she hesitated. Then it came out in a torrent but with a lot of love and concern. “Stay true to your passions, take care of yourself, do not let yourself go. Cherish yourself.”
My eyes grew misty. Here she was, taking care of older me just when I thought I had to do all the caring for others-spouse, growing children, ageing parents, the community-because I had an obligation to give back to my society. Yes, I mattered, not only to the younger version of me, but to myself also. I glanced at our reflection in the coffee shop glass; opening to a street vista. Here we were, apart and alike. There were so many colours of us just the same but with different hues.
“I think I would like to taste the pasta you ordered”, I said. “Mmm”. “And now for the fun part. Life is a series of fun events and fun times. You would enjoy getting married, having kids, forging new friendships and unlikely relationships. You would have fun travelling all you wanted and some more and collect souvenirs from all the places you visit. The more delicate ones should be kept out of reach of the little ones”, I added thoughtfully.
The younger me laughed. And I joined in, in sheer relief. This was also fun, meeting across the chasm of time. “We must do coffee more often”, we chimed at almost the same time.
This piece about an older me meeting a ten years younger me over coffee was written in response to the Daily Prompt at the WordPress Daily Post.