Upon my entry to the local cafe I was greeted with the scent of brewing coffee. The lights were bright and the walls were dark, which gave it a beautiful contrast. The black and white tiled floors were freshly polished and the windows wiped clean. I walked up to the counter where an elderly woman with a green and white striped apron, collared shirt, and a green hat stood typing something into a computer. She looked up at me and smiled. Her teeth were white, almost as though they weren’t real. She asked me what I would like. I told her: a blueberry scone with a mocha cappuccino. I was handed a small strip of paper with the number twelve written on it. I walked over to an empty table by a window looking out on the town and sat down. I opened my bag, pulled out my laptop and signed into my email. Nothing. I closed out my browser and opened up a new text document, starting on my paper for work.
After about five minutes, the elderly woman behind the counter called for number twelve. I closed my laptop and walked up to the counter. Just as I did, the bell above the door rang. I turned and saw a girl in a bright yellow sundress enter. She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to comb it. Her face was flawless and smooth. Her hair, once straightened, fell over her shoulders like a blanket. I found myself staring and turned back to the counter. The woman handed me a paper cup with a plastic lid from which steam arose and what was my scone wrapped in paper with the cafe’s name on it. I gave her a “thank you” smile and retreated back to my table. I set the cup and scone down beside my laptop and went back up to the counter for some jam. I stood behind the girl who had entered, waiting as she read over the menu board. After a few seconds, she decided what she wanted.
“Orange iced-tea with lemon, please,” she said. Her voice was as smooth as melted butter on toast. It suited her. For some strange reason, I felt like she belonged to that voice, rather than the voice belonging to her. The woman behind the counter returned quickly with an iced tea with an orange tint. A lemon slice was fitted over the edge of the cup. The girl grabbed it and took a sip. She let out a slight ‘mmmm’ of satisfaction. She thanked the woman and left. I stepped up to the counter and grabbed a small cup of strawberry jam.
After I sat down and started on my coffee, I noticed the girl staring at me from a few tables away. I looked up from my laptop, making her blush and give a slight wave. I smiled at her and returned to my work. I heard some footsteps, but didn’t look up. A chair scraped on the floor and a figure sat down. Then I looked up. She was sitting down and sipping her tea. I closed my laptop, as to not be rude, and introduced myself. She smiled, which made me feel good.
“I’m Sloane,” she said. It was another thing that suited her perfectly. She told me that she was new in town and didn’t know anybody. I asked what brought her to town, not only being polite and striking conversation, but for my own knowledge. Not many people come to this town from anywhere else unless they’re passing through to go to Chicago. She told me she was looking for a new place in a small town. Well, welcome to Small Town, U.S.A., I thought. I welcomed her here, though. She asked if I was doing anything on Saturday. Although it was a bit quick, I was relieved she asked. I told her I wasn’t busy, so she suggested that we go and see the one movie playing in the one movie theater in town. It sounded great. She wrote down her number on a napkin and handed it to me. I stuffed it into my pocket as she said goodbye to me and left me to my coffee and scone. I smiled as she exited the cafe, thinking back.
The night air smacked me in the face with a chilled hand as I exited the taxi cab. I turned up the collar of my coat and breathed into my palms. Several couples and families entered the movie theater behind me, full of enthusiasm. To pass the time, I took my phone out of my pocket, unlocked it and opened up a game. After about five minutes, I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat, trying to gain someone’s attention…my attention. I looked up.
She was standing in front of me. The yellow street lights created the same angelic glow that introduced her in the cafe. She smiled at me, her pearly white teeth illuminating surrounding darkness. I gave her a smile back. Holding out my elbow so that she could hold on to it, we entered the theater. We were greeted with the smell of buttery popcorn and salt. There were kids in the corner room playing arcade games and a few scattered people eating in the cafe area. We walked up to the counter and ordered a large popcorn and two sodas, along with out tickets.
The hallway to the theater was dark, except for the lighted signs displaying the names of the movies. We entered the last theater on the left and started up the aisle. Choosing a seat in the middle, we sat down and watched the celebrity games. After about ten minutes, the lights dimmed and the movie started
After the movie ended, we bid each other farewell and went out separate ways. I was almost hopping when I got back to my apartment. The smile on my face never faded, even when I went to bed. I stared up at the ceiling’s rough pattern, not wanting to go to sleep, not wanting the night to end. It must have been around two o’clock by the time I fell asleep, but the image of her never left my mind.
Sloane and I had been seeing each other for a few weeks. We were so serious that I almost asked her to move in with me, but my apartment was way too small. All was well, though, and we were going out for our 1 month anniversary.
We were walking down Main Street, talking, wondering what we were going to do for the day. We hadn’t gotten each other presents yet, and the day was fading away fast. I stopped outside of a book shop and suggested going in, as we both shared a love for books. She agreed, but told me she was going to go to the cafe across the street and get a beverage. She asked if I wanted anything, to which I declined. She gave me a little wave as she crossed the street.
Inside the book shop, the smell of books hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of the best smells on earth, in my opinion. Paper and ink collided like soldiers on the battlefield and charged towards your nostrils, infiltrating your senses. I wandered over to the poetry section. I knew Sloane loved poetry and that she would adore a book of poems by Edgar Allen Poe, Shel Silvertein, Maya Angelou, whoever wove words together in a god-like way.
I was lost in the endless sea of books that surrounded me, I didn’t notice the ambulance wailing on the street outside. That is, until, someone in the shop exclaimed something. I turned and saw a crowd forming around the road, traffic standing still. I rushed outside to have a look at what happened. People were muttering under their breath, saying prayers or simply saying “What a shame, what a shame”. When I pushed my way to the front, I saw paramedics loading someone into the back. A large bus was stopped next to the ambulance. A dark red liquid was painted onto the front bumper and windshield and on the asphalt below. Beside a large puddle was a plastic cup with its contents running down the road. A neat print on the side read out: Orange Iced-Tea w/ Lemon.