(fiction) The Cafe

The boy enters the coffee shop clutching his jacket, its cold outside and the warmth in here is welcome. He looks around expectantly, are there people here he knows? No? He grimaces and then  looks up at the counter.

‘Hey, how’s it going’

‘Umm, great, Tall Café Latte please’

‘Coming right up!’

The boy pays and spots an empty table by the window. He looks outside and shuffles in his bag for a copy of the New Yorker and a sketchpad. He made a decision two days ago that he would learn how to sketch. He looks at this work thus far, it’s not great. Still, he opens up a random cartoon from the magazine and starts practicing. His mind is not on it though. He is distracted. He thinks he has a complicated life.

He looks up occasionally, couples chatting, laughing, holding hands; a group of students in the next table are being a little loud, someone in the table behind him is describing her new shoes to her friend. The boy couldn’t care less. He takes out his earplugs and listens to some music. He likes the it here now. Its a silent movie in my head he says to himself. He decides he likes the coffee shop.

He looks out the window and there is this girl talking on the phone. She is dressed all in black but for a pink scarf and hat covering her auburn hair. She is very animated and she wears horn rimmed glasses. She spins around as she laughs and the boy looks away, but even as he does he makes a mental note that she was very pretty. 

He quickly looks for something to distract himself with. He decides it best to read the magazine. The sketching is not going too well anyway. His coffee arrives. He thanks the waitress and starts reading a piece about the budget deficit in Washington. He is reading the words, and he knows he understands them, but nothing is making sense. He looks up, the girl has gone. He sighs.

He looks around the shop and there she is! She is with some friends now. He decides he had better change the music track. He sips his coffee and looks around, but his eyes keep getting drawn to this one girl with auburn hair and black horn rimmed glasses.

He checks his messages on the phone and returns to the article. There is a lot in here about the unemployment rate and its comparision with the post war period. its depressing. He closes the magazine and decides he should finish his coffee and leave. He looks at the girl at the same moment that she is looking around and their gazes lock. The boy nods and smiles. The girl is looking at him, but seems to have dismissed him a few moments later.

The boy looks at his watch. Its 5:30. He finishes his coffee and starts packing up his things. As he heads out, he glances over to the girls table. Now all her friends are looking at him and smiling. Was he that obvious? He smiles at the girl and she smiles back. He exits the coffee shop and chuckles. Its cold. He puts his palms in his coat jacket and walks home.


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