by Marlene DeVere
She sat alone in a corner of the café, toying with her pearlescent necklace that for fifty years held a special place in her jewelry box. Her gray hair curled around the collar of her well-worn sweater. She was always cold these days, even in the middle of summer.
She kept fussing with the items on the table—moving the sugar and cream about and sweeping unseen crumbs to the floor—all the while her thoughts were on the young man who seemed to be deliberately walking toward her.
He came from across the huge expanse of age and logic. The smile in his eyes almost won her over right then and there. His thighs, sheathed in khaki shorts, rubbed together slightly as he picked up his stride towards her, becoming more attractive with each step.
Yes, he’d do for a one and done, she thought. Foolish girl; rein it in. One never knows what lurks…I’d like to find out, though.
The noise in the café grew louder as the college crowd placed their orders for mocha coffees and sweet teas. He had to sidestep a couple who weren’t looking where they were walking and ended up knocking over a chair. The upheaval didn’t distract his concentration.
We’d go to the opera together, she imagined, and make up words to La Traviata that only we would understand. We’d giggle conspiratorially all the while fantasizing what would come next.
They’d fall in lust and lose control, she hoped. She could almost taste him as she savored her coffee. Fittingly, he doesn’t suspect or even care that a friendly word would be all that was needed to edge her to the dark side.
He seemed contemplative as he continued to stroll in her direction. His head bopped rhythmically as though he was listening to “Moves Like Jagger,” but his eyes remained on her.
Or, we’d go dancing.
As he came closer to her table, she saw his slim build and muscled shoulders under his t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Dance Like No One’s Watching.” She smiled. Maybe he could read her mind?
Her thoughts returned to the music of her youth as she imagined being swept off her feet and twirled and whirled around and round until she collapsed from the sheer excitement of it all and he carried her to his lair.
Then, at the most inconvenient moment, her daydream was interrupted. “Excuse me, Ma’am, if you’re not using the cream, could I have it? My girlfriend drinks it with a dash of coffee,” he added chuckling.
“Yes, of course.”
So, no dancing then?
She handed him the unused cream pitcher with a smile. She’s been there before— thankful, at least, for the brief flights of fancy. She sighed as he departed and resumed sipping her cold cup of black caffeine.