She came again today. The girl with the brown shoulder-length hair. The girl with the green eyes and killer smile. The girl who I spoke with only a handful of times. She often came to this coffee shop. She always wore a silver charm bracelet on her left wrist. She hardly ever wore her hair in any other fashion apart from a ponytail. She tore through books like a hurricanes tore through villages. I wished I knew what she was thinking every time she bit her lower lip and looked off to the side. Was she self-conscious? Was she annoyed? Did she wish she was somewhere else? Was she thinking about her past? I didn’t know nor could I find out. Not easily anyway.
I first spoke to her when she came that first day to order coffee. Caramel latte with just a drizzle of chocolate syrup over a small mountain of whipped cream. I would never forget. The little things about her were branded in my memory. She and I had spoken about the most innocent topic - weather. That day, the rain was coming down hard on the town. Her car was a few streets over and getting there had appeared to be no easy task. She had no umbrella and wore nothing but the clothes on her back which seemed to be damp at best.
“Stay until the rain stops,” I told her.
“When do you think that will be?” she wondered absent-mindedly as she stared out the window.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “But today, I’m in charge of closing. Stay as long as you’d like.”
“I’d really hate to put you out,” she said, shaking her head.
“Really. I’m going to be tidying up this area anyway. Take a load off. Read a magazine. The rain’ll stop soon.”
She smiled, took her latte and sat down on one of the lounge chairs. I used a checkered cloth to wipe down the counter that was slightly sticky - evidence of the coffees I had to prepare for the day. She looked up at me periodically as if part of her mind was keeping track of my work. I put the cloth away and took off my apron.
A glance toward the window told me that the cats and dogs reference could apply. “So… What brings you out here?” I asked her. “It’s almost 11.”
“Oh nothing much. I just prefer spending time outside.”
“Cool,” I replied lamely. We didn’t talk much that night. I didn’t want to bug her. But the air inside was charged with a similar electricity that caused the lightning flashes outside.
She came in a few times after that. But always with company. A girl friend or two. Once even a guy friend. If I caught her eye, I’d smile. And she’d smile back. That was it. That was us.
A love story that would never reach a happy ending because the Once Upon a Time hadn’t even been said yet.