She sits across from me sipping and slurping her fat free french vanilla.
While I'm pacing myself with cappuccino imitation.
"All I'm saying is, that if he starts calling me baby, I might wanna keep him!"
She says it with that cajoling tone.
But I can notice the glimmer in her eyes that tells me she longs for that.
That sweet pet name that would mean she's special to him, in her mind...
I never could get comfortable around those things...pet names.
Cutesy little endearments reserved for a child's affection.
What is wrong with me?
She's vibrating with unmasked giddiness, glancing at her phone.
They've been dating for only months but she is lost in him.
With his once a week date nights
and clean shaven face
and joking interaction with her friends.
She's full of soft embrace and warm affection and vulnerable interest.
Wanting never looked so form fitting on a person.
Like a cup waiting for a refill...
"If you want, I could see if his friend is up for dinner next week? You know it's been months for you..."
I hope she doesn't choke on her millionth slurp with the glare of indignation leveled at her cherub-like face.
"Ah thanks, but no thanks." races out of my mouth before I even hesitate to pretend to consider her obvious proposal.
How is it that easy to just offer companionship like that? Do I give off a "desperate for love" vibe?
And what the hell makes her think I can't find someone on my own **** time?
"Okay, okay. It's just...I hate seeing you alone. Don't you want to not be alone anymore?"
I know she loves me but those kind of questions from her caring heart, make me contemplate knocking her in the head.
My alone-ness she says.
My singular existence.
I'd laugh at her if I didn't know it would hurt her feelings.
To disregard her feeble attempts at pairing me up with whatever half-assed man candy she could sway my way.
I'm staring at the ring left from my coffee,
wondering if I should just give in this one time for her,
for the over used batteries at home.
"I'm not lonely you know. I just, haven't felt that connection yet."
Looking pitifully back at me she wonders aloud, "You're always waiting on that connection but have you ever felt it before? I mean, how do you know it's even real, that body, mind, spirit...magnet pull you believe so fiercely?"
It's the first time I've given her a genuine smile today as I tell her yes I have felt it before.
I just never got his last name.
It might have been years ago but I can still recall with clarity that electric tornado that seemed to have surrounded us.
We had only been gifted ten hours together but it left a mark on me for over fourteen years.
His face is definitely matured I imagine and his body shaped differently.
But I'll never mistake those sea green eyes, haloed by dusty blue cloud rings.
The only boy who has ever made me want to get lost and never be found.
"Well...good luck with that. But until mystery man crashes back into your life, for god's sake live a little huh!"
She means well I'm sure but like an eager pup I just tsk at her goofily plastered expression and finish off the grainy remains of my only afternoon delight. She's in a hurry to make her "honey bunny" a homemade dinner anyway so it's not hard to cut things short on our weekly coffee shop vent session.
She's floating out the door before I even get my coat above my elbows but I can't feel offended.
Mulling over the uncomfortable idea of boring interaction with another stranger I decide to grab one more drink for the ride home.
Oh, wonderful...now she's planted that seed.
Shaking it off, I order my vice and move benignly to wait and resolve to not think about anything related to that anymore either.
"Seems outrageous they charge so much for imitation don't you think?"
The question's asked to me but I pretend I can't hear it. A guy hitting on me today is not what I want to deal with.
And he seems to be standing right behind me
making goosebumps scatter across my neck.
He tries again, "So I guess you like buying bottom of the barrel cappuccino?"
This time I've gotten a little itchy from his voice and want him to just stop in his tracks.
So I turn to tell him where, in fact, he can go...
But I'm the one stopped short and a bit flabbergasted.
No way do things happen to me like this.
Those coincidental, lucky, fated things...
I almost wish I was a liar right now with the things I just spilled to my loyally, encouraging friend.
Because there is no way the universe would be this cruel.
Finally I exhale and word *****,
"They're the only place that taste just like the ones at my grandmas' house every summer when I was a girl. I waited a long time to find that connection again, even if it is just coffee..."
The smirking face and broad shoulders that greet me aren't the cause of my temporary delirium.
Not even the wild hair and black rimmed glasses.
It's the sea green, haloed dusty blue eyes centering all the rest that shallow my breaths
Of all the places.....
Like a falling satin sheet his face morphs into a query riddled expression.
I hear the barista call out a name and he reluctantly steps away, never taking his eyes off mine whispering,
"I'll...be right back. Don't move...please?"
I'm nodding like an awkward parrot and he turns to grab his imitation coffee.
The same kind I'm waiting on.
And I start smiling after a second.
Not because of the similar drink order, which could be anyone...
But because of something I haven't known until this moment for over fourteen years.
All thanks to fate, or destiny...
Or perhaps the oblivious barista.
His last name...