February 16, 2018 at 12:02 am #346804
The harsh but sweet scent of brewed coffee proliferates throughout the cozy little coffee shop. I love this place, even when I am not writing. So many unfamiliar faces going about the day ignorant of the miracle of this little social spot.
Each day, everyone lines up in their own time. They make an order for something hot or something cold and be on their way. Each time they pass total strangers who may have similar stories or vastly different. Either way I like to imagine what it might be like to share our adventures in stories in passing. What would the world be like if each of us could easily share what makes them unique with people they pass. Imagine a world where strangers are only people we have not met yet.
Of course that’s what makes me a writer, I share my stories and people enjoy them. Every once in a while though, I feel it’s important to just listen. On days like that, where I just listen, I find a friendly stranger and encourage them to talk. Today was one of those days.
I have chosen to sit and listen to a girl I routinely see here sipping her mocha with extra topping. Every time I come she seems to stare at me like she knows me better than I know myself. Maybe she does, maybe I will find out today.
“I see you here often, but I have never taken the time to hear about who you are.” I begin.
“Oh, I am not all that interesting. Definitely not as interesting as you Mr. Writer.” She replies shyly.
“Taylor, my name is Taylor. So your a woman with secrets and like to keep them that way.” I propose the idea hoping to get a reaction.
“Well, Taylor, I am Eve. Everyone has secrets. If I go around telling everyone my silly little secrets then they would not be secrets. Then who will take the time to get to know me if they know all my secrets.”
“Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.” I reply remembering something I once heard.
“That’s actually quite profound.”
“It’s not mine if your wondering, an author and doctor named Paul Tournier said it first. It seems to apply here.” It is profoundly true in most cases. When we keep secrets from those who want to be close to us we close them out.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an author is well read. That said, I really am profoundly plain and ordinary.”
“Alright, so let’s say that I believe you are as plain and ordinary as you proclaim like a banner of mediocrity. In my experience the everyday ordinary people are exceptionally capable of great things when in the right circumstance. If you don’t mind I am fascinated by people and what makes them tick. If I learn about you then maybe someday I will write about someone like you doing something you never dreamed you could do.”
“You want to write about someone like me? I suppose I can try but I will probably disappoint you.”
“Many stories start with someone who is not unlike anyone else who through trials and challenges becomes something more. So let’s start with why you choose this coffee shop.”
“Oh, this place is incredible, the atmosphere reminds me of a family gathering and it smells of chocolate so I get my fix without having too much. Don’t want to let this figure go until at least I have a kid or two.” she begins excitedly as though the timid girl had suddenly left and I was speaking to a whole new girl.
“So you like chocolate?”
“Nope, I am not a fan. Are you of the habit of answering questions with questions?”
“Huh? Oh I did too didn’t I? Sorry about that. Are all writers as observant as you?”
“I like to believe that writers observe well because they are used to explaining in detail what would be seen from different perspectives. So about chocolate, what draws you to it?”
“It is the single most satisfying part of any single day. I always want it like I am addicted to it or something. I even dream about it.”
“Yet for all that chocolate you still look good.” the thinly veiled compliment will hopefully help encourage this revealing banter.
“Thank you, I never understood why I am so drawn to chocolate but it is irresistible that’s for sure.”
“So you come here because of the chocolate?”
“Can’t you smell that delicious aroma of cocoa and sugar?”
“Actually I am beginning to see that this love of chocolate makes you exceptional and unique, not at all ordinary and certainly not plain. I, for example come here because I love the atmosphere and the harshly sweet scent of fresh brewed coffee. I have come here so often I can tell by the smell of the coffee what brew they have on today.”
“Liking chocolate does not make me unique, but that was a very nice try.”
“Oh but it does. You see your love of cafes and chocolate could draw you to the wrong shop at the wrong time. As a result of visiting that shop and cramming chocolate into your pretty face you happen to over hear about a terrorist plot. You instantly call your best friend who tells you to calm down and relax you probably didn’t hear what you think you heard. Then within the hour when you finally think your friend is right you get the feeling your being followed. Just as you are certain you are being followed a second person grabs you and drags you into an alley and kidnaps you. Now you not only have to escape, but you also need to find a way to warn someone before the terrorists make their attack, and maybe pick better friends.”
I make a mental note of the story idea for a later entry in my notebook. I kinda like where that one could lead me.
She looks at me for a long moment both shocked and amused by the brief tale I just gave her. “So, how well does that line work for you normally?”
Her curious response confuses me. I fail to understand how a story prompt like that could be viewed as a pickup line. “Hmm well I have never tried to use writing as a pickup line, I had no intention to flirt. In reality relationships don’t end well for me because of my writing. I am sure a pretty girl like you won’t have any trouble finding someone if you really are looking.”
“Wait, your rejecting me already? After that fascinating story?”
“Okay, I feel like I am digging myself into a hole. I simply wanted to illustrate something many writers realize eventually. The most exciting stories happen to normal people suddenly propelled into extraordinary situations”
“You are actually kinda cute when you do that.”
“When I do what?” I ask blushing. It is pretty rare for me to attract a woman, especially since I am not a published writer or anything. At best I am a dreamer who works dead end jobs to pay the bills. That said a girl like her, with her beautiful features would make for a beautiful Muse.
“Obviously I set you up to dig a hole. I wanted to see something from you and I got exactly what I hoped for.” she presses a card into my hand as she stands.
The soft touch of her hand sparks a sudden flash of a memory that I know instantly cannot be mine. The memory brings me to a tropical oasis, somewhere warm and arid. Behind me I seem to know my wife is hiding from the people ahead of me. The people are there for her, calling her a witch. We argue with them, tell them they are wrong, that she cannot be, but they refuse to hear my plea.
A glint of steel is all the warning I get. One of the front members of the crowd lunges into me and I feel my strength give out. As my life fades from my body I watch as the group drags her away screaming. Remarkably, the girl in the ’memory’ looks a lot like Eve.
“So I will see you in two days same place, same time?” She asks, oblivious to the strange memory triggered by her touch. Reality spins as she walks away. This sweet angel has inspired me twice, I have work to do.
April 18, 2018 at 9:23 pm #655577
An interesting read.
The aroma of coffee is neither harsh nor sweet – to me. Most readers probably would not believe any aroma proliferates – perhaps a simpler term, such as “spreads” would be more effective?
Needs some personal proof reading. One example is spelling “you’re” (you are) as “your”. Spell checkers won’t pick up on those mishaps.
Dialogue feels stilted so doesn’t flow as a natural conversation. Can’t really put a finger on it, but I stumbled over most of it. Maybe it just didn’t put any images in my head?
One of my personal bugaboos is what I call “lazy speak”. One example in this piece is “kinda”. It’s not a real word (I use Merriam-Webster.com as my go-to dictionary) but most of us, including me, use it in our every day speech. Writers should be correct and precise with their usage. “Lazy-speak” seems to pander to the writer’s own desires instead of writing for an audience. Just my opinion that many will disagree with – but I wouldn’t buy the book. 🙂
The ending has a lot of impact; it’s unexpected, pretty darn good, and reveals a fertile mind.
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