She sat in the same booth every day, staring at her computer screen. It was my favorite, but I never tried to take it if I arrived first. I let her sit closest to the fire because I didn’t want her to get cold. I watched her type away at the keys and wondered what was going through her mind. I didn’t know what she was working on, but she always seemed so focused, so intent. In my mind, she had to be a writer. The way she laughed to herself and sometimes even cried.
I wanted to read her words and know her every thought. She was so graceful in her chaos – disorganized but serene. Sometimes her hair was up in a messy bun, and others it hung loosely past her shoulders, like cascading waves of sunshine. She didn’t look up often, but when her sparkling eyes met mine it felt like she could see right through my soul. Her smile made me smile back, no matter what kind of day I was having, but her laugh could turn my whole day around.
She didn’t know my name as we had never spoken. To her, I was a stranger, barely registering to her as she went about her day. Someone who randomly happened to enjoy the same café. She would never know that I planned my day around this, around her. That upon accidentally crossing her path, I kept returning to this place hoping to catch a glimpse of her. I had to be careful to space out my visits so that she didn’t catch on.
I had to master the art of looking without looking because I didn’t want to creep her out. I just wanted to bask in the radiance of her presence as often as I could. Each time I had my lunch break there, I made up a different name for her. Could it be Diana, Melody, or Saphire? There didn’t seem to be a name that could equal such beauty.
I sipped my coffee and wondered if I would ever have the courage to say hello —to introduce myself and maybe shake her hand. I imagined what her voice would sound like, and the way she would say my name. I finished my last sip and smiled to myself as I walked away. I wasn’t brave enough today, but maybe another day…