I watch through two way glass as she glides from cookie counter to espresso machine on beat with my headphones—shuffling between tracks from The XX and Beach House. When The XX plays, her and I are stuck in a fog of post devotion re-enchantment. Will the urgency of lust ever return?
‘No need to come to me
When I can make it all the way to you’
And while I’m pulling for re-enchantment, she rarely gives hints of lasting inclination. By the time she does, in the form of an ‘I’m ready for rapture’ smile, the song ends and Beach House takes over. Like a waking dream we find ourselves sitting indian style on a dandelion before breeze sets us in the gentle hands of a softly rocking ocean.
‘Oasis child, born and so wild
Don’t I know you better than the rest’
She looks at me like a complete stranger as we float right back to when I first handed her the note. I watch through two way glass as she glides . . . Today I’ll finally talk to her. More than to say, “One small vanilla latte please.”
“One small vanilla latte please,” And I reclaim my position on the patio—safely outside the looking glass. Every time she disappears to the back a tsunami of urgency furrows my spine. But my latte’s still warm so I take another baby sip—The XX and Beach House playing in stereo. Lunch hour is over, but a large group customers require staff reinforcements from the back. I’d rather do this alone, I’ll wait. I’ll listen a little longer.
‘I can give it all on the first date
I don’t have to exist outside this place’
With my final sip of cold latte, the only remaining patrons exit outside. Before the door can close behind and just before I can change my mind, I’m inside. I’m on my way. But as I meander towards her register a young male—who must have snuck in the other door—inquires about a dessert I’ve never heard of. Of course she knows exactly what he wants, “Sure, I’ll have that right out for you.” Apparently at this point our two person queue warrants another barista and I’m greeted by some guy with a goatee. “How can I help you?”
“No thanks. I’m good.” And I wait in line.
The customer in front of me pays for his chanteirre charlotusse or whatever and stops blocking her smile. “Hi, I’m Drew, I just wanted to say hello before I left.”
“Hi, I’m _____,” _____ says. My nerves censor her name.
And then I reach in my pocket and say, “I just wanted to give you this.”
I like your hair and your freckles.
I really don’t even like coffee. Much.
512 971 5551
I go immediately…
I’m awkward too
I would normally avoid such a trite titling pun (a pun already utilized by such classic film sequels as, “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Teen Wolf Too”) but it happens to be a direct quote. In the form of an overdue text message from her…
“My name is _____ , I make you small vanilla lattes. I’m awkward too.” Exactly one week after delivering my original note, long enough for me to abandon all hope, she responds.
So just like that, alone at work listening to Emily Haines radio, I’m given every reason to believe she wants to know me—to know everything. There can be no moderation at onset. My poster of a girl is real and interested and open. I mean, I knew she would be.
After a calculated interlude, I reply, careful not to act too eager. “Let’s hang out this afternoon.” And we do, but only in moderation. I meet her after she gets off work and we talk about bikes, crafts, writing, female vocalists, baking and only once does the conversation pause. “You’re funny,” she says brushing jagged bangs from her forehead and offering full eye contact. Without a clever response I’m left lingering maybe a moment too long. She finally tilts her head down and short dirty blonde hairs fall back in place over her left eye. Soon after, I decide to leave on my terms, “I better get back to work,” and I go.
Shortly after walking back to the office, I come to a startling realization. As our brief rendezvous plays on mental loop, all signs indicate it went well. Watching with sounds mute, I focus all attention to body language—the only language. A close up of her lips split smiling, our knees almost brushing, bashful blinking accompanies silent speech, shoulders shimmying as she laughs and near the end, her leaning forward to place hands on the table—palms open.
More than satisfied with my findings, I revisit her cataclysmic text that started my day. Like everything, her three lines are carefully chosen. 1. her name: typical way to start a conversation. 2. “small vanilla lattes”: an insightful line, an allusion to my usual order, but strikingly similar to a line repeated in the story about her. 3. “I’m awkward too”: this one seals it, she’s directly referencing the title of my story scribed to her. A story that manages to cover the gambit of our relationship in a few short paragraphs. A story that could be viewed by the subject as either flattering, or seriously creepy. So it would seem, she is flattered.
To go a step further, it’s likely the story bears sole responsibility for her deciding to finally text me. These words spoke to her and changed her mind. That’s a powerful proposition, gratifying for sure and certainly bringing gravitas to everything I decide to say next. She’s listening and she hears.
The fact that I’m writing this should be a pretty strong indicator that we haven’t begun dating, we haven’t begun hanging out, we haven’t even begun. Anything. Yet.
There is no rationale behind feelings for you, only unrequited speculation. But this speculation abounds in beauty and nothing can surpass except fruition. Rarely does known reality compare to prospecting the unknown but it may one time. Whenever possible, I’d like to find out.
Despite what I said earlier, this is not an attempt to instill feelings in a person genuinely not afflicted. I seek simultaneous and equal affliction.
Back to the night after our original conversation . . .
I bike home blaring songs on my iPod from the last Metric album.
‘Help I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train’
I go home that night and make a mix-tape leading with Emily Haines‘ entire rare first album, followed by a selection of my favorite songs from her career. This shares mutual significance because during our brief meeting she mentions having lost that particular album and not being able to locate a new copy.
“I found the album we were talking about,” when I return to the coffee shop for the first time in weeks and hand her the disc.
“Awww, thanks,” she shakes her now brown hair with believable excitement.
And I go.