Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sheepishly he looked over and again she appeared to be looking right at him. Or perhaps looking through him. Again he had to avert his eyes. The look was too strong for him and he looked at his feet. He was unsure what the look meant, it was impossible to distinguish any emotion from it. Another quick look up. Yes, she was still looking. With each second he was becoming more self conscious. What was wrong? Was there something about his appearance, something about the way he was skulking in the corner. He wasn't sure. He looked over to her, but this time she was chatting with the person next to her. He felt a little better, or was it worse. Unable to determine the meaning of the look and now denied the possibility of more. He put it to one side, and allowed his focus to return to his book. He read a few lines but they did not absorb, his concentration drifting back to the look, to the eyes, to interpretations and possibilities. He closed the book in frustration. Now the curiosity burned. He looked over at her again, still chatting to her friend. He watched her flick her hair with a laugh and turn towards the friend, reaching out to touch her knee.

Was she interested in him, unlikely. He certainly wasn't what he considered to be an attractive person. So what was it then? He thought about going to the bathroom, to check his appearance and make sure there wasn't a stain, or smudge on his clothes, or breakfast crumbs in the corners of his mouth. Maybe his eyes looked bad, or his hair dishevelled. He couldn't stand though, it would make it obvious. Stay cool he thought to himself. Stay cool and approach her, talk to her. An internal struggle began. A fear to move, a fear to approach but a desire to know, a desire to have the opportunity to speak to her. He imagined that she looked over at him again, perhaps looking somewhere else. He rose to his feet, putting the book on the table, and went to the bar.

"Can I have another coffee please?" he asked
"Sure thing honey" replied the lady.

While he was waiting, he turned to look across at the table where she was sitting. This time there was no doubt, yes she was looking at him. Suddenly self conscious again he turned back to wait for his coffee. The lady put it down in front of him, and he took the hot mug with care and walked back to his table. His eyes concentrated on the cup to make sure he did not spill. Once back at the table, he sat down, and then took another look across the cafe. Her friend was leaving, putting on her scarf and coat. They hugged and then the friend walked between the tables, passing him and then on to the door. He heard the chimes on the door ring as the door was opened, and then again as it slowly closed. The cafe suddenly seemed to go silent, so silent that he could hear the thud of his heart inside his chest. He picked his book back up and opened it, not even remembering which page he was on he filed through the pages looking for something familiar. Anything to distract him from how awkward he felt. Page 98, half way down. He started reading again, slowly relaxing as he became involved with the imaginary world of the novel. His coffee started to cool and without looking up he felt for the mug and once grasping it, took it to his lips and gulped it down. He put the mug back on the table, and then looked over at the girl. She had a book in her hand, but was looking at him. The same eyes, messageless, without an indication of emotion. She was beautiful, natural and for some reason there was a ripple of warmth. He smiled, unconciously. A slight nod of her head towards him. A smile. The eyes seemed to sparkle with it and in a moment he was transfixed. Held by the light within them. The look between them passed and the humdrum echo of clientele returned to his ears. She returned to her book, he returned to his. He felt warm, felt noticed. An affirmation of existence in the mind of another.

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