In a cafe, coffee floats to the surface of an unknown telephone number, hovering above as the steam escalates its rise, shocking even the skin I’d worn on a date last week to the cafe off Englewood; the French vanilla lingers the distance between my body and the barista.
Chrissy makes eye contact with customers, then not. With me, she looks away. Either way, any way, but my direction
I’d staple these subtle inflections to a voice of self-confidence; if I could find it.
The coffee and its black grains, flushing warm breath through a cascade of lies.
Chrissy holds a cup to her lips, and a bland white coffee cup did the talking.
Unpolished and discarded like a crushed can in a recycling bin, originality is jaded.
I’d bought the wrong coffee and met the wrong girl three weeks ago after midnight.
The drink—it tastes like a French mint or her perfume (should I be lucky enough to taste it). I couldn’t tell which.
Waiting in a line, trying to find the spine deep within my bones. Chrissy’s radiant skin tied my tongue in knots. Beautiful women are the kryptonite to my weakness. I’d fall apart at the seams to pull myself together again.
I scan the room, watching her, waiting for her to walk by me. This time I was going to do it. I was going to ask for her number (as if). Instead of my slack jaw motioning, her eyes pulled at mine, and I tongued my teeth to swallow loose words, crawling out of my comfort zone. My phone number escapes my memory—as I descend further into an hourglass of shyness.
I ask her for a calendar and correct myself — her phone number. Chrissy says she thought I’d never ask.
(© 2020 by Andrew Cyr)