His words were hiding beneath his unquiet eyes. Unable to decide whether to set those words free or hold them a little longer, he took a hurried sip of the calming hot coffee. His eyes, which were trained to radiate confidence, feared that he might seem weak if he had revealed his hope. His humane hope was visibly shadowed by his logical fear. That hope won for the first time in nearly five decades, after an extraordinary battle that required him to swallow his own pride along with the last sip of the coffee.

The delight of making a decision, without using Excel sheets and frameworks, brewed a childlike joy in him and wiped away the veneer of plastic confidence. He looked relaxed in his vulnerability.

“I need a partner. I feel lonely.” He spoke as though he protested. The world in his eyeballs—shadowed by uneven eyelashes—seemed intentionally unfair towards him.

Why all of a sudden? I asked.

There was a tough silence in the room. His pride was inappropriately touched.

He spoke with a sudden clarity.

“A few months back, I bought a blue bird. Every day, before leaving for work, I would personally prepare her food and place it inside her nest.”

Nice.

“But she wouldn’t eat much. I couldn’t understand why.”

Oh.

“Then, one morning, I waited after placing the food in front of her. I whistled. She gently looked at me and started eating. Occasionally she raised her eyes, flaunted her beautiful beak and tail, and continued eating.”

That’s beautiful.

“You see, she needed someone to witness her life.”

Witness? As in?

“I could see myself in her. The desire to be seen and heard. At the end of the day, when I return home, I feel a strong urge to share my fame and name, my little wins, and my minor disappointments with someone—with a person. Not with Netflix. I need someone to witness my life.”

Moisture glittered in his eyes and radiated warmth. Those words were finally released. Finally spoken.

Sans the trained confidence, the CEO was truly confident.

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