Day Eight: Death to Adverbs
Today’s Prompt: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.
I had a lot of fun with this one! I got to drink coffee & people watch. Kind of a dream.
I like people who can be alone easily.
It’s 4:20pm. I skipped out of work early to enjoy the sun, a coffee and some me time. The Library Cafe is my favourite getaway – I almost always come here alone.
I was tossing up a mochaccino or a hot chocolate as I stood in line.
“Can I please have one of your fresh juices?” a petite, short-haired woman asks in a polite voice. The waitress smiles, pivots on her heels and peers through the kitchen door. “Is there any juice left?” she calls. There’s a murmuring beyond the door. Tired kitchen hands. She turns on her heels again.
“Um, the juice machine is broken, apparently!” She laughs, nervous. Her blonde ponytail sways.
The other woman sweeps her light black hair back, long on one side, short on the other. Fringe razor sharp across her forehead. “I’ll just have a peppermint tea.” It was the way she said peppermint tea that got me. The lilt in her voice. Like that peppermint tea was going to be the best thing that ever touched her lips. That the fresh juice really was not meant to be. Her plan B, was really plan A.
I order my less delicate mochaccino and rich American brownie, placing myself down at one of their many small, wooden tables. As a sawmiller, my father would have admired their tree trunk table tops. My phone (currently on 1% battery), paper, pen and French phrasebook lay out in front of me. I put pen to paper.
The more I look at the woman, the younger she gets. Standing in line to order, 35, wrinkles around her green eyes. Sitting a few meters away from me on the bench seating, 28. She holds her peppermint tea in her hands, and gazes out over the ground floor of the Wellington City Library.
She’s delicate. But her body language shows she’s anything but. Legs crossed gracefully, but her chin up, her hand stroking her chin in contemplation. She wouldn’t be the kind to back down from an argument, her body said. A literary kind, book in hand; she’d be well read in Tolstoy and perhaps Zadie Smith. She’d know exactly what she was saying when she said it. Quiet, but when she talked, there would be quality.
Oh, to talk to her. The stories she would tell!
She lightly touches a wet forefinger to the sugar in the saucer.
I then realise. She’s the epitome of Wellington. A personified version of our city. Quirky, original, sexy & intelligent.
To her left, the hippy in a business suit sits smiling at the video playing on his laptop, his long blonde hair covering his face. To her back, my old English Literature lecturer sits, brow furrowed, lost in a book (see, small world!). To her right, a travelling family of 3. The doting parents gaze at their 7 year old daughter. Their world revolves around her.
To her further right, me, blue pen to white paper, marshmallows melting in hot milk, coffee and chocolate, scarf around my neck, thick rimmed glasses.
She’s alone with her peppermint tea. I can see a slight smile at the corner of her lips.
I can’t speak for her, but to me, she’s alone but not lonely.