It was last Friday. I was walking near home, just visiting the neighborhood and I had the fourth cigarette of the day on my left hand, which was almost over and I felt the burning heat of the ashes making their way to my middle and index fingers. The sky was getting dark, but because of an incoming storm, as it was actually early for a sunset to be taking place. I was getting tired from all the walking, but I was determined to keep on going until the lights on the streets were starting to get lit. So I continued.
I finished my cigarette and threw what was left to a smelly puddle on the sidewalk. I stopped to hear the small “psss” of the contact of the cigarette against the water and suddenly, as if he came from a dream, he was there walking towards me, smiling and waving his right had while his left one was in his pocket, as he usually walks. I stood there, in awe, trying to figure out if he was actually waving at me and if it was actually HIM waving, not someone who looked like him. I looked behind me to see if, perhaps, there was someone else he was waving at, but oooooh no, it was me. Crap, nowhere to hide.
So of course, as a natural respond to my decency impulses, I said hi and kissed him on the cheek (which gave me an abnormal amount of goose bumps) and proceeded with the common greeting ritual. He had a very strange look on his face, like I was the last person on earth he expected to find that day. Or perhaps he was just reflecting the expression of my face, just for fun. Either way, after an uncomfortable silence, we eventually found a way to invite each other for a cup of coffee, to get rid of that annoying little urge of not wanting to be standing in the middle of nowhere and not doing anything. And of course, after all my daydreams, it seemed as good time as any to actually have that so craved cup of coffee, alors I took my shot.
The truth was that neither he nor I really wanted to be there. I wanted a lonely afternoon before I ran into him; and as a girly girl I am, in all my daydreams about him, I was looking better I was showered, I was prepared. That day just wasn’t supposed to be the one.
We got to a small place with a terrace, where we could both smoke and not be bothered. After another portion of non-conversational moments, he decided to star with the usual “getting to know you” questions, the “what-do-you-do’s”, “where-do-you-live’s” and all that jazz. But that I feared the most was the “what’s you age?”. It’s never been pleasant for me answering that question, merely because I either get surprised reactions in a good way or amazed reactions in a bad very bad way. When he got there and I finally answered with sweaty hands, dry throat and a nervous voice; he smiled, whispered a laugh and drank another sip from his excessively sweet cappuccino. He remained silent and blew a couple of puffs before he said he had to go. I replied it was ok and I hoped to see him soon.
– You’ll never see me again. This is preposterous. Here I thought I was asking a woman for a coffee when I actually picked up a sad little girl who tries to be a woman. Forget about this. Stop smoking and grow up. No wonder we couldn’t have a conversation; you have nothing to say to me. Silly little person. You.
I remained silent and smiled. He left me some money (much more than needed, I guess he left it as some sort of “guilt tax”) and stormed out with an expression of “she’s catchy, I’d better go home and wash myself”. The waitress came and asked me if I was ok.
I had never been better. I smoked silently the sixth cigarette of the day, while I finished my sugarless cappuccino.
All of that never happened, he was never walking by while I hear the silent “psss”, and neither did he drink that horribly sweetened cappuccino. This is the kind of stuff I make up to avoid the real deal: he’ll never be in my life. We’ll never share the same terrace for smokers. But thinking we’ll be disappointing is much better than actually knowing that he’s not and that he’ll never be mine.
Soundtrack: Suicide By Star, Remembrance Day, Dust and Echoes, When Everything Dies, Radau (God is an Astronaut).