Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Comfortable Yen for the Infinitely Unattainable

Jonathan Marks, lazy, timid, pessimistic, quietly hopeful, approached the cafe. He hoped she would be there. He walked past the window, glimpsing into the dim interior to check. She was there. He realised this at the last moment as he walked past. He continued walking for a moment then paused, counted to 20, and then walked back and went inside. Goddamn he hoped she hadn't seen him peering in a second ago.
He ordered white coffee (last time he had ordered just a cup of coffee and she had brought it to him black and he had been too shy to request milk or sugar). Sit in or takeaway she wanted to know. Sit in. She told him to sit down, she would bring it over. Exact same ritual as before.
He sat near a couple drinking wine and eating salads. They were of different nationalities from each other and were conversing in english as a common language, or so it seemed. Actually the guy may have been Scottish.
Here came the coffee. He thanked her and smiled warmly and she smiled back.
There was a wee biscuit with the coffee this time. A wee caramalised biscuit in a cellophane wrapper. Jonathan turned it over in his hand and then pocketed it. He would consume it later. He briefly considered gifting it to the waitress and then quickly recognised the inanity and absurdity inherent in such an act.
He sipped on his coffee. It tasted good. Even without sugar. He glanced about but couldn't see where it was kept. He was reluctant to go and seek it; too self-conscious.
Christ, what a pitiful state of affairs. A man of 26, too timid to assert himself. Too pessimistic to long for anything other than what was safely impossible to acquire.
Things could be helluva worse though. That was the thing, despite his caution, negativity, acute bouts of despair he was by and large a cheerful and enthusiastic sort of a fellow.

The cafe was almost deserted. He finished his coffee and returned the mug and saucer to the counter. The waitress was adding two scoops of ice cream to two large glasses of Coca Cola. He stood waiting at the counter to pay her his £1.95 for the coffee.

Outside it had darkened suddenly and the streets were damp from a brief shower that had occurred unnoticed by Jonathan whilst he was in the cafe.
He walked briskly, feeling the caffeine surge through him, feeling acutely thrilled and enthused by life.

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