The Daily Prompt is Miniature
I dodged a woman pushing a pram, another one with a trolley, then nearly tripped over a kid that was somehow attached to the woman pushing the trolley. Jeez, was that a leash? Did people do that? A closer look revealed a cute plush backpack on the kid with a short strap leading to, what I assumed was, the mother. Huh, a safety device. I got out of the way of another trolley and wondered what the hell I was thinking?
I wanted a coffee and my coffee place was here, that’s what I was thinking. Crowds be damned, and they were Saturday morning huge, I needed my caffeine fix. I passed a shoe shop and an image flashed into my mind. A gorgeous woman with long dark hair and a killer smile. I hadn’t thought of her for weeks? No months. The first and only time I’d seen her had been nearly 6 months ago, then I’d spent two months looking for her, waiting for her. Thinking she’d revisit the coffee shop at some stage. Looking back, I didn’t really understand it. Why had I become obsessed? And that was the only word for it really.
Putting thoughts of the mystery woman from my mind. I pushed open the door of the coffee shop and made my way to the counter. Gary looked up with his customer service smile in place then saw it was me and grinned.
“Hey Ryan, wasn’t expecting to see you today,” he called and the woman he was serving turned to glare at me.
I got it, I was interrupting her coffee fix, but Gary could multi-task, so I just smiled and gave her a little nod of acknowledgement. She was cute, blonde hair in a pony tail, dressed athletically like maybe she was heading to the gym. What did woman call it? Active wear?
“Morning Gary,” I said as the blonde’s glare turned into a smile and a hair toss. “I have a serious need, late night,” I admitted as I handed money to the cashier. No need to place an order, Gary knew my drink of choice.
“Hot date?” Gary sounded hopeful on my behalf. We’d gotten to know each other fairly well over the last six months and I don’t know who was more desperate to break my dry spell, him or me?
“Just dinner with friends.” I tried not to notice the once over the blonde was giving me. For the third time. Tried to ignore how uncomfortable it made me. This was the reason for the dry spell. I might have stopped thinking about her and looking for her but something of her remained. It was that feeling of connection, when she’d looked at me the same way the blonde was. The sense of ‘right’ as we’d sat staring at each other over coffee. That was what I wanted now, not just a physical attraction, but a deeper, visceral connection.
Gary finished up the blonde’s coffee and handed it over with a smile. That put me at T minus 3 minutes to coffee. Not that I was counting. I watched Gary grind and tamp, the rich aroma almost making me groan in anticipation.
“How about tonight?”
The question floated in the air until Gary cleared his throat and tilted his head to one side and I realised the blonde didn’t take her coffee and run.
“I’m sorry, what?” I looked down at her in surprise.
“I said – ” her words are drowned out by a burst of laughter and her eyes narrow in annoyance, focused beyond my shoulder. “How about tonight?” The blonde smiled at me and she’s very pretty and six months ago I would be saying something like: “Why wait until tonight?”
“Ah that’s very flattering,” I said while Gary jerked his head at me. I’m not entirely sure what he’s trying to convey which I try to communicate with my eyes.
“So, can I be your hot date?” The blonde woman placed her hand on my chest, drawing my attention back to her.
“Sorry no. I have plans already.” It’s a lie but people usually accept rejection better if there’s even a flimsy ‘why’ attached to it.
“Maybe some other time?”
Behind her Gary is still jerking his head and is staring at something behind me.
“Coffee’s ready,” he calls, his eyes so wide I worry they might pop out.
“I’ve gotta … ” I ease by the blonde to get my coffee, ready to worship at the caffeine altar.
“Caramel mocha with whipped cream!” The cashier calls the next order and Gary nods and gets to it. Something about that sounds so familiar, makes my heart thud hard and heavy in my chest. I freeze, my eyes locked on Gary who gives me a slow nod of encouragement.
I turn my head and there she is. Her long hair doesn’t have the blue and purple streaks I remember but it’s her. She’s looking down, hasn’t noticed me staring at her yet and I take the opportunity to really stare. She’s as gorgeous as I remember. No active wear for her, blue jeans hug her curves nicely, as does her hot pink t-shirt. I want her to look at me, want to see if her eyes are golden brown or if I made that up. I open my mouth to say something, when the whole picture sinks in.
She’s looking down at a child, has a tiny hand in her own. The child, girl, I realise taking in her long hair and clothing is probably around three or four. She must feel the weight of my stare as she turns to look at me and I realise she’s a miniature version of my mystery woman. Big blue eyes lock with mine for a moment then she lunges and wraps her arms around the leg of my mystery woman.
“Mama, the man’s staring,” she said in her sweet little girl voice.
Her head turns and I can tell she recognises me and she’s not surprised to see me. “It’s okay baby,” she assured her child, running her hand over the dark head pressed so tightly against her.
I’m vaguely aware that the blonde woman is still standing beside me, see her eyes dart to the side and one of her brows arch, one side of her mouth lifts in a little smirk.
“Coffee’s ready,” Gary calls and she looks away from me to smile at Gary.
“Thanks Gary,” she says as he passes it over.
The little girl lets go of her leg and they turn to leave. I’m torn between wanting to stop her and letting her go. I remind myself that she left, that first time, and I was very likely looking at the reason why. Turns out, I’m a selfish bastard. I didn’t want to let her go.
I took a step and reached out to touch her shoulder. She stopped and looked back at me, a question in her eyes. I answered it with my own question.
“Are you going to run away from me again?”