STRANGERS IN A CAFE
Two men entered Latte Caffeine. One wore a baseball cap announcing his favorite baseball team to the public with an oversized brown sweatshirt. His jeans were baggy with a few rips and tears down his legs. His sneakers were dirty, his left shoe missing a lace. His head was bent down as he looked at his smart phone, both thumbs dancing across the touch screen.
The other man wore a pressed baby blue button-down shirt that was tucked into what looked like brand new jeans. His black shoes shined brightly as though they were brand new. His hands were stuffed into his jeans pockets as he swayed in line looking at the back of the person’s head in front of him.
It was easy to guess which one cared more about what was going on.
“So my wife just texted me asking what I want for dinner tonight,” the disheveled man stated, “what do I want?”
The other man stood in front of him shrugging his shoulders. He didn’t bother to turn his head to look back.
“Josh, stop thinking. You know that’s just going to make you feel worse.” His friend put his phone into his sweatshirt pocket.
“I’m thinking about what drink I want to order.” Josh scoffed looking over his shoulder. “I am not nervous.”
“You seem pretty nervous to me; especially since you order the exact same drink every time we come here.”
“Maybe I want to switch things up this time.” Josh scratched the back of his ear. He took a step forward in the line once someone ordered their drink and stepped out of line.
“Randy…” Josh scowled.
“I’m just saying.” Randy smirked and chuckled.
They waited in line in silence after that. Randy looked all around the café with a smile on his face soaking in his surroundings. Josh was fixated on the menu studying it even though he knew what he was going to order.
When the lady in front of Josh started ordering her drink, Josh turned his head to look at all the people sitting in the café. An older couple was sitting on the couch by the fire sipping on their coffee while sharing a cupcake. A woman was sitting at a nearby table with a large coffee typing away on her Dell computer. Two women and a man were sitting at another table having breakfast and catching up with one another.
There were two empty tables one in front of the other that Josh eyed. He turned around and opened his mouth to say something to Randy, but a voice interrupted him.
Josh turned around and gaped at the cashier in front of him.
“You’re next. What can I get for you?” he asked.
“Oh, uh,” Josh could hear Randy snickering behind him, but Josh did his best to ignore his friend. “I’ll just have a small peppermint mocha, please.”
He handed the cashier a five dollar bill, took his change and stepped out of line.
“Medium mocha frap, please,” Randy stated immediately once Josh stepped out of line.
Josh received his drink and waited for Randy to get his.
“Are you ready? You seem to be really distracted.” Randy questioned in all seriousness. He took his drink winking at the barista.
“I’m fine,” Josh sighed. “Where do you want to sit?”
Randy glanced back and forth between the two tables, both sitting next to a window. Each table had one chair at the ends seating two people to a table. He shrugged his shoulders and finally pointed to the left one.
Josh nodded and sat down at the table on their right. He sat in the chair facing the door of the café. Randy sat down at the left table facing Josh at the other table.
Without another word, Randy took out his phone and started playing a game. Josh held his coffee in both hands gazing out the window. His foot tapped nervously on the ground. After a few minutes, he heard the door to the café open. He straightened his back and stared at the door.
A blonde woman entered. She was petite, but tall with her black high-heeled boots on. Her jeans were dark with a bright yellow blouse. She clutched her handbag tightly as she looked around the café. She stepped in line and ordered her drink right away, as there was no one in line anymore.
“Small peppermint mocha, please,” she ordered.
She grabbed her drink and scanned the café with her eyes once more.
“Uh, Gabrielle?” Josh slowly stood up from his chair and raised his hand a little above his head.
“Joshua?” The woman walked towards him.
“Josh,” he nodded sticking out his hand.
“Gabby,” she smiled shaking his hand.
Randy looked up and put away his phone in his pocket. He smiled and gave Josh a thumb-up from behind Gabby’s back as she sat down at Josh’s table. Gabby was good looking and Randy approved so far. Josh tried not to look at him.
“It’s nice to meet you.” Gabby’s voice shook as she spoke.
“My pleasure,” Josh chuckled. He scratched the back of his head and glanced out the window.
“Are you as nervous as I am?” Gabby wondered.
“Is it that obvious?” Josh blushed.
“A little, but I think it’s cute.” Gabby took a sip of her coffee and tapped her fingers on the side of the cup.
“So,” Josh cleared his throat, “according to your profile you like to read?”
“Fantasy all the way.” Gabby nodded with a smile.
“I read a little bit of everything, but fantasy is my favorite too. What is your favorite book?” Josh leaned forward intrigued.
Gabby laughed out loud. “Ask me what my least favorite is. That is a much shorter list.”
Josh laughed at her joke while Randy rolled his eyes. He took another swig of his coffee and peeked inside it. He should have gotten a large.