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            There were several people to choose from, and they could have all been doing the same thing, but I knew they weren’t. Most of them had laptops in front of them and something to drink. Some ordered a meal, some brought overloaded backpacks, some were less than halfway into a decent book. But he typed away, and away, and away, nodding instead of a thanks to dismiss the server who brought a steaming cup to his corner of this café.

            A writer, no doubt, and a crazed one at that. Sweatshirt, hood up, with sunglasses on inside. A full pack of cigarettes sat beside his drink – he paused his incessant typing to open the box and sniff them hard, then close it right back up. There he went, away and away and away on that keyboard while people filed in and out of the shop.

            Were the sunglasses to hide his eyes as he picked a stranger from the crowd to focus on? Did he stare so intensely at the dolled-up blonde at the counter to get the details of her neckline precise that he didn’t want her thinking he’d been staring at her chest? But in that, he’d definitely been staring at her chest, but respectfully according to him. No matter – he’d be someone she’d avoid anyway.

            If those were his cigarettes, I wondered how old they were. A full pack, purely for the scent. Were they a reward? Did the smell keep him going throughout his day’s work? I bet this is the only time when holding them for a friend was a true statement. They couldn’t be his. He wanted to study them, to know the details of the packaging, the aroma, potentially the way one would hold in his hand. I think he’d hold them like a newbie. He’d try to hold a cigarette between two fingers, his thumb absent, then try it a different way, embarrassing himself with a Spock-hold. I wouldn’t see him glance around to see who saw, but I wouldn’t have to; those sunglasses were there to hide it all.

            He never relaxed to taste his coffee, and its steam had dissipated minutes ago. He wishes he were the type of guy to order his coffee black. However, I couldn’t imagine him with two creams and two sugars either. Perhaps a mocha – no, that wasn’t right. I bet he just ordered a hot water and asked for it to be served in that short, fat mug. If he’s a regular at this café, the baristas just serve that to him to make him feel welcome, or to make others perceive him as normal. Who would walk over close enough to see that it was just water in his dark brown mug? The color helped it look like black coffee, so no one would ever ask about it.

            I don’t think he had any shoes on. I couldn’t tell from where I viewed him, but he didn’t look like the type to wear shoes in public. I thought about all the crumbs he’d feel beneath his feet on the floor, but if this was his reserved spot, then there probably weren’t any crumbs. I don’t imagine he’d eat food. I wondered how he’d survived on chewed bubblegum and salt packets for so long, but then again, he looked to be either twenty-seven in a movie, or forty in real time. Either way, he was young. But was he attractive? I’d have to think about that. It would be expected of me.

            I wondered who he’d choose to write about in that café, and I wondered if he’d ever choose a person like me. I stayed home that day, poured a coffee for my husband and we spent the afternoon out on our patio counting the birds that flew by. I don’t enjoy coffee. It’s bad for my heart.

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Christina Giacalone

Christina Giacalone is a senior psychology major with a minor in creative writing. She has always had an interest in the field of mental health, but writing is her true passion. Christina enjoys writing deep emotional pieces of fiction that leave a bittersweet aftertaste. One day, she hopes to be able to hold a physical copy of her first published novel in her hands

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