Monday, May 26, 2008

No Conversation Over Coffee

The sky was blue without a cloud. We were seated on the metal weave of wrought iron chairs. I sipped my coffee non-fat; The Partner took his light and sweet.

In the clear air I wondered what he was thinking. Blue tinted sunglasses masked hazel clues. I looked away quickly because it bothered me that I couldn’t tell if he was returning my gaze. I wouldn’t want him to catch me staring.

Next to us, four bicyclists were breaking. “When I called him up to tell him, there was complete silence for almost a minute,” I heard a rider say. “He didn’t even ask if I was okay.” It was the one with his back toward me. I tuned out his companions’ responses. I wouldn’t want them to catch me listening.

The wind carried voices, but not much else. There was barely a rustle to the startling brightness of new leaves, where the green was almost as undiluted as the blue above. The sun covered us like a lightweight blanket.

A girl twirled in dress without sleeves near a bench across the sidewalk. A father beamed at her. Earlier, the same man had let me cut in front of him at the coffee counter. Amidst the roar of the espresso machine and the electronic hum of the register, his accented voice sounded like it might have been Austrian. Now I marveled at his vivid smile atop a beard that was thick and dark like the halo of curls on his head. The girl’s dress spun out around her knees. They were both quiet and carefree.

My own child gurgled at me, then. I looked down. White bubbles of breastmilk frothed at his lips. “My little cappuccino,” I trilled. “My sweet little cappuccino!” When I grinned up at The Partner, I still couldn’t see his eyes. The corners of his mouth turned up only slightly.

I sat back. The ideal weight of the late May heat was not, after all, a comfortable blanket around us, but a veil between.


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6 comments:

Will & Kate said...

I like the word painting, I could feel the humidity and the whole scene... but so sad.

zellmer said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing.

jen said...

this feels heavy and maybe a bit lost, or perhaps better said unsettled. these roads we travel are long indeed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stranger,
Truly beautiful writing...like a painting and poetry intertwined.

The subject and the emotion in it...so so so sad. By the end of the post I felt an enormous heaviness in my solar plexus. Wondered was that mine or yours or both mixed together?

iheartchocolate said...

Wow, what lovely writing. I can feel it!

iheartchocolate said...

Wow, what lovely writing. I can feel it!