She was a regular at the Me Java’s coffee shop.
She didn’t look up when she placed her order.
Her voice was soft.
He saw her there every day.
And every day he made her a Café Isle Mocha. Medium. Reduced heat. No cream. No sugar. Nothing to eat. Just the drink.
She would carry it to her table with such care. As if the coffee itself were made out of glass ice that could cut and slice her.
He didn’t know her name.
She never offered it.
He didn’t know if she ever laughed.
She was always so solemn.
He wanted to know her. He wanted to know what happened to her to make her so hand-shy about the world around her.
She drank her coffee in timid sips as if it hurt.
Every single time.
He wanted to know why. Could he help her? Could he bring confidence back into her life?
Did she need to be rescued from a bad situation?
Another customer came up.
He smiled and laughed and chatted.
She looked over at him through bangs that were too long and too uneven.
He was lovely.
He was kind.
He was off limits.
He had made that clear.
She sipped her coffee, making it last as long as she could.
It was nice here.
It was safe here.
He was here.
Here she could dream what ifs and maybes and delirious possibilities.
Because he wasn’t here.