Walking ahead, they came across a vendor selling flowers on the side. They both were observing him and also looking at the flowers as they moved closer to the shack like stall. He latched onto another conversation starter, “Flowers are also a big business on this day, right?” “Yeah and I think I will end up eating some of them if we don’t find any food soon!” she replied. They halted right in front of the stall and gazed at the colourful scented display. She started off soon enough and he tried to keep up. But his looks lingered on the stall. His thoughts were racing, Damn! I should have bought some flowers for her! What was I thinking? In fact, why wasn't I thinking! He contemplated turning around and getting some. But then he feared it would be too deliberate. Perhaps even awkward? Send unintentionally strong signals? It would certainly be incongruous with his on going projection of being a guy who is not the ‘mushy-romantic’ types. While the debate raged on, they were moving farther and farther away from the stall. He wished that time would stand still for a moment and permit him the leisure to decide. Alas, he felt they were too far away now and he could only rue the missed opportunity. He vehemently and silently cursed his absence of mind. It’s no easy task to be all normal and attentive with the girl and, at the same time, come up with ideas and make these instantaneous decisions, he complained in his thoughts, justifying his inaction.
They tried a few more restaurants, mostly Chinese, as they went along. From every one of them, they were quickly thrown out, not literally of course, politely rather, intermingled with some pity sometimes. Finally they found one which seemed to have vacant tables. As they entered, they were greeted by a gust of perfume. The restaurant was going for some kind of a pink decor, everything was pink, various hues of pink. She was sure she even noticed a few pink heart-shaped balloons floating around! An overly grinning waitress came up to them and offered to show them to a table. He looked hesitant. Detecting some uneasiness in him, she asked, "Do you want to eat here?" "Err, can we go somewhere else?" he asked, in almost a pleading tone. She wasn't sure why but they left the restaurant anyway. Once outside, he took a deep breath and explained, "The scents were just too strong in there, almost suffocating!" She laughed and approved the observation, "It was a bit too tacky." "There should be some more on the street ahead," he told her. They continued their search. Meanwhile, she mentally replayed the incident, particularly his discomfort in there. It was amusing. But it also made him more real, and endearing. She barely knew anything about him, apart from what her friend had told her. From her, she had gathered that he was the nice guy types, but would he make interesting company? She hadn't managed to learn much about him on the few occasions they met previously either. Today might be different, she felt.
They were now onto a busy road with a few cars and even a couple of buses passing by. There were a lot more people on the street as well-- mostly couples. He wondered whether they did the right thing by leaving the previous restaurant. This quest for food was just taking too long. He glanced at her, maybe for the millionth time that evening. The cold had made the tip of her nose reddish, reminding him of Christmas and making her look cute at the same time. He tried to remember if he was ever out with anyone prettier than her in vain. They were walking along silently. He had to say something. He always found sustained periods of silence, absence of a continuing conversation, awkward, especially when with a girl. To remedy the situation, he began, "So, did you do anything special on previous few Valentine's?" She paused to think. He was surprised at himself, pleased too, for having veered the conversation towards her and her life rather than general inanity. "I don't know, nothing special last year, before that also, mostly at home," she answered before adding, "And you?" "Nothing spectacular with me either, generally stayed at home like a good sulking single," he answered with a sheepish grin. She smiled and continued, "Yeah, it's not a good day if one is single, like us." He agreed, "All these couply people make us singles feel awkward!" After a few paces, he resumed, "In fact, this might be the first occasion that I am having dinner outside on this day!" She laughed and then reminded him, "But only if we do manage to find some place!"