image courtesy of lostateminor.com
“I saw you, right away, when I came through the door. It was raining, big fat greasy drops and I shook my umbrella like a wet dog before squeezing it into the jam packed cornflower blue bucket. The cafe was a warm cocoon, a refuge filled with the aroma of coffee and brightly adorned with enticing pastries on their streamlined silver platters.
You were sitting at a corner table, crouched almost, in an enormous black mackintosh pale blond hair plastered to your face. You looked up as I nudged past your seat and your eyes were red and swollen, I thought you might have been crying. There was such a feeling of despair on your face. I wanted to cuddle you and say it would be alright but I heard my John’s voice in my head going on about minding my business.
The polka dot tablecloth was speckled with sugar and I dusted it off onto the floor. The daisies looked a bit tired too I thought so I fluffed them up, just a bit. Now where was Madge? By now I’d have usually had my tea and crumpets – Earl Grey, posh the girls called me.
Then you got up, the chair screeched across the floor – your head swung around, were you waiting for somebody to yell at you? Don’t worry, I thought, there’ll be nobody hearing that over all this hubbub. I rolled the word on my tongue, hubbub, heard that on the telly last night.
You turned to leave and for the briefest of moments the mackintosh swung open and the grey drab light silhouetted your belly and the strident curve of new life. You hunched down into yourself and moved slowly out the door. The bell tinkled merrily as you left, head bowed against the relentless rain.
Here you go, Mrs P – tea and crumpets.
And you were gone.”