To pass the time (II)

15 Apr 2001

He had seen her whilst collecting dead cups, some forty minutes after she had come into the shop. She had struck him and his twenty-year-old hormones as pretty, but - distracted, the ominous, archaic meaning. Someone else served her and, after looking uncomfortable by the capuccino machine, she went to sit alone, letting swathes of misery drape themselves over her table.

His shift was almost over, and she was still there, untouchable on all the pretexts he had used to try to approach her, sliding off at the last minute, a physical repulsion. He wondered what was on her mind, and naively decided it must be romance. An affair gone wrong. Cheating on her, or by her? He lost interest a little then; he would be the last thing she wanted. Maybe. He didn't know how this bit was played and, resigned to a confused but uneventful end to his shift, he left the shop with his head spinning. He did not notice, but wondered later, if she saw him going past her window.