**A short story I wrote in the summer and wanted to share with a wider audience. Comments are appreciated. All rights reserved to Emerald Naylor. Enjoy.**
I was sitting in the small cafe on the corner of Still Avenue and Park Drive when she walked in. I was a regular here, and had never seen her before. I watched as she stumbled to the front counter, tugging on her winter hat. The smell of the fresh baked sugar cookies distracted her from her order. She wandered away from the cashier to look at the display of fresh goods. I was sitting in the corner between the display and hallway to the restrooms. She pointed to a sugar cookie and continued to place her order. As she stood waiting, her green eyes danced around the cafe with wonder.
I had never seen her here before and I could tell she was new in town. I desperately wanted to introduce myself; I desperately wanted to know her, but instead I held back. I already knew I wasn’t her type.
She was about to look back at the cashier, when her eyes landed on me. I quickly looked back at my own plate, but noticed she tucked her auburn hair behind her ear before grabbing her to-go cup. She was leaving already.
I kept my eye on her as she made her way to the door. She was struggling to open the door against the winter wind and I ran up to help her. I pushed the door open and watched as she walked away without a word.
I had been making my way around town, trying to get used to the foreign place I was now living. While trying to find my way back to my sister’s apartment I passed the little cafe on the corner of Still Avenue and Park Drive twice! I decided I might as well go in for a hot chocolate and wait until my sister could come pick me up.
When I walked through the door I saw the same cute boy who had ignored me yesterday after helping me out the door. I tried to avoid eye contact as I
ordered my hot chocolate and called Kate. She told me she’d be there in a couple minutes and to just stay inside until she came by.
I walked over to an arm chair opposite the blonde boy. He hadn’t noticed me come in yet and was still deep into his book. He sipped his coffee and didn’t even glance up as the door chimed and the ovens in the back beeped. He was oddly quiet in a world that never seemed to shut up.
After I stared at him for a couple minutes he looked up and smiled. I sent him a questioning glare before making my way to the door where Kate had just walked in. I didn’t look back, but I knew he had watched me go. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a misunderstanding yesterday when I said, “Thanks, I’ve been a little flustered today,” and got no response.
I got off late from work today, and didn’t make it to the cafe until just before closing time. I hurried in to make sure the manager would still be working when I got to the front of the line. While I waited I noticed the pretty girl with the dancing eyes sitting in the same armchair as yesterday. She seemed to be looking for someone- her neck was stretched to look around the group of people in front of her and her eyes were squinted in concentration.
I chuckled at the thought that I wouldn’t be this cafe’s only regular if she kept showing up here. Looking defeated, she began to gather her things just as I got to the front of the line. The manager saw me standing at the cash register and ran up to take over. I signed to her that I would like a large green tea, two sugars. Her eyes travelled slightly away from me before she signed back what my total would be. I followed to where her eyes were just in time to see the pretty girl beside me blush and leave the cafe with her head down.
I felt so ashamed when I had got home last night! I had no idea. The cute blonde boy wasn’t being rude, he simply hadn’t heard me. I was walking out the door when I spoke to him that first day, completely oblivious to the fact that I was turned away from him and we didn’t communicate in the same way.
I had spent all afternoon in that cafe yesterday, waiting to see him again. When I finally spotted him and worked up the nerve to go introduce myself, I saw him in line signing his order. Signing it! How could I have been so ignorant and selfish? I was so embarrassed about being rude to him on Monday that I had refrained from walking past the cafe. Besides, my daily routine didn’t require me to go to that side of town anyway.
She didn’t come in yesterday.
I was here at my regular time and she never once walked through the door. When I came today I decided to actually take some work. I was behind on a couple reports and my boss made it clear that if they weren’t in on time, I would lose my raise.
I sat in her armchair today. It was comfier than my regular spot, and had a side table for my drink and muffin so I could work away on my laptop. I was completely oblivious to my surroundings- the changing smells and drop in temperature- until someone sat directly beside me. I looked over and there was the pretty girl, her eyes sparkling as she wrote something on a pad of paper. She smiled when I looked over at her, and held a hand up to tell me to wait a second. I quickly saved my document and shut my laptop. When I looked back at her she had the notebook in front of her face, in swirly purple writing it read:
“Hi, I’m Eternity, what’s your name?”
I gestured to the paper. She handed it over and took a bite of her sugar cookie while she waited.
“I’m Hunter. And I think you have the prettiest eyes. Can I buy you another cookie?” I added as she took the last bite of hers and laughed.
“Sure!” She wrote back.
I woke up to the sound of my phone chiming and I squinted at the screen. It was Hunter asking if I’d be back around the cafe again tonight. I smiled and told him that I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
After I introduced myself to Hunter, we didn’t stop talking- or rather writing- until the baristas told us they were closed and we had to leave. I had given Hunter my number and mentioned how happy I was to have met someone new in the town that I was now living in. He promised to show me more than just the inside of the cafe and I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before yawning and walking towards Kate’s apartment.
It had been a great first week so far and I was looking forward to our daily cafe date again tonight.
I had been meeting with Eternity in the cafe for a couple days now. She had a beautiful smile and although I couldn’t hear her laugh, I loved telling jokes just to see her enjoying herself. She had admitted to me that she was scared to be living in a new town so different from the big city she grew up in, but that she was glad that her sister found her a journalism opening here.
I was sitting facing the door with both of our orders on the table in front of me when Eternity came barging through the door. She had her notebook
and a thick library book in her hands. She quickly waved to the manager- who was ecstatic to see me so happy- before sliding the plate of baked goods into my lap. She put the book facedown and scribbled a note on her paper:
“Will you help me learn sign language? Notebooks are expensive.”