This is a short story I wrote just over a year ago....enjoy.
Double Non-Fat Latte.
They came in, a little hesitant, him stumbling over himself as he wondered whether it would be okay to pull out her chair for her. She didn’t seem like the damsel-in-distress type, or the overly romantic kind. So he sat straight down. It would have been too late to get her chair for her anyway. Any move towards that end at this point would have seemed confused, and clumsy. He sat across the little table, directly opposite her, and their knees touched.
Her voice was loud. Too loud, in my opinion, as I could hear everything she was saying as though she was speaking directly to me. They would have been better placed in a booth, but the booths were all taken. I was in one, by myself, their table closest to me, but I needed it. It had an electrical outlet. And I needed that to power my computer, so that I could use all up the free wireless internet I could get.
She spoke firmly. And spoke she did. She could not and would not stop talking. She wasn’t irritating, though. She was very engaging. At least, I thought so. Not that I was eavesdropping. No. I was just listening in on a conversation that I had no choice but to listen to. And he listened intently. Throwing in the occasional, not-so-funny joke that she laughed at with gusto. A little too much. But you could see her eyes crinkling at the corners. Genuine laughter. And he genuinely couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. Her presence was strong. And he didn’t seem to mind that he was the one doing all the listening. He looked as though he was thankful just to have been granted the rendezvous.
He was trying to come off all cool and nonchalant, but he wasn’t faring very well, from what I could see. But she didn’t seem to notice. She was ‘Oh-my-god’ ing and ‘That’s-so-sweet’ ing everything he had to say, albeit not much, and cracking up at his every joke. And non jokes. He seemed very pleased with himself. He’d scored a date with the girl, and she thought he was funny. ‘Who’s the man?’, he thought to himself. I think that must be what he was thinking.
I listened as she placed her order, a double non-fat latte. And he asked for a tropical milkshake. She threw a glance at me. I pretended to be engrossed in something on the laptop. I was on someone’s Facebook page. I don’t remember whose. They continued talking. Or rather, she continued on with her chatter. And he continued with his subtle adoration. I t was sweet to watch. Entertaining.
They went on to their second order. By this time, their fingers were touching. Grazing. Their hands not so sure if they wanted to hold. A booth had just freed up so they quickly jumped into it, glad for the heightened intimacy. As soon as they had sat down, their hands were only too quick to begin touching again. Holding on, with conviction. And they held on as if their lives depended on it.
Her chatter now slowed down to a more subtle cooing. Their eyes were locked onto each others and the intensity was brimming. She was smiling, his mouth was twitching. A lady passed by with a baby in her arms and Betty, which is what I have decided her name was, couldn’t help staring at them. Her gaze lingered on the baby for a while, and then she began a torrent of ‘babies are so cute and I would love to have a dozen of them someday’! He was quiet. Speechless, stumbling over yeah and uh huh with a slightly uncomfortable, what did I get myself into look on his face. I chuckled.
I got bored, and Facebook was proving to be a tad more entertaining, all those ’25 things about me’ notes were amusing, to say the least. And I really didn’t have much to do that day. All the gossip about celebrities also kept me engrossed for a while. I must’ve been submerged into the world of high fashion hullaballoo for at least twenty minutes before I looked up and mercy me, there they were, Betty and, for lack of a more fitting name, Archie, (who by this time had moved to Betty’s side of the booth), deeply engrossed in vigorous tongue wrestling. The kind you see in the old TCM movies when the rich viscount and the young, hauntingly beautiful, nubile servant first get a chance to satisfy their treacherous, forbidden desires. I was blatantly staring. Unashamedly, I might add.
They didn’t stop. For a while. A long while. His hand was skimming, or rather squeezing her thigh, and she was squirming with delight, I hope, for his sake. They were oblivious to the many stares which had by now joined mine and they seemed perfectly happy to continue.
A few more minutes and I was sure they would need to come up for air, which they did. The silence between them was awkward, as I’m sure they both pondered about whether to delve right back into their no doubt, exciting foray into each others mouths. Their hands were still intertwined but their gazes were now fixed on obscure things around and above them. The paintings on the walls, the lampshades hanging from the ceiling, the saltshakers, the menus, the finishing on their seats. And the silence persisted. Archie then suddenly got up, and suggested they take their leave. Which they did.
Hand in hand.
I’ll have a double non-fat latte.
And a chilli mango.