Perhaps I am impatient. Perhaps I am a fool. (Perhaps I just want more to blog about). But I want something to HAPPEN.
She is there again this morning. Looking annoyed until she sees me and her face opens into that huge smile, like she’s genuinely pleased that I’m there. And even though she hasn’t made me a coffee in quite a while, she remembers just how I like it, doesn’t even have to check.
“Hey!” she says
“Hey, how are you?”
There is a queue and she’s handling several orders, she doesn’t have time to chat. When she goes back to steaming the milk, her smile leaves her. And I think, hmmm, what now? Should I do something? Should I take this forward? What happens now?
But, but, here’s the thing(s):
- She might be resolutely straight. I had a conversation with my mother recently: “I don’t know how you can tell”, she said, I never know when a woman is gay”. “Welcome to my world!” I said. “I never know either. It’s a bloody nightmare!”.
- We might have bugger all in common.
- Am I just being a total idiot about this and I should just leave it alone and stop poking it with a stick just because people like reading about it and her smile makes me smile and I get a bit excited every time I go to get a coffee and my heart sinks a little whenever she’s not there?
- How on earth, if I was to actually, er, I dunno…ask her out or something, would I do that? HOW?
- Again, am I being a total idiot etc…?
So. I need your help, Dear Reader. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Over to you.
She sees me before I see her. “Hey!” she says and smiles.
“Hey!” I say and smile back.
I have just emerged from the lift and I look like shit. Of course I do – four hours sleep, messy hair, no make-up and I am wearing an old grey cagoule that my mother bought at a jumble sale for 99p.
She was on ‘holiday’ she says, finishing her dissertation, doing job placements. There is no coffee counter between us. She isn’t in uniform and my lanyard is hidden. Here we are, in a small frustrated crowd of folks waiting for the lift, chatting like normal people, like acquaintances, like two old friends.
She is tired. I am tired. We compare tiredness. Perhaps I should tell her I am so tired, I need a lie down and would she care to join me (here, let’s get you out of those wet clothes…)?
I don’t, of course.
Her lift arrives, others get in, but she keeps chatting. This happens at least three times. As if she’s in no hurry to leave.
She’s back. She. Is. Back.
I get in the longest queue to see her, readying myself by pressing my hair and straightening my posture, practising what to say. Do not, I tell myself, scream “I missed you!!”. Relax. Relax!
The queue gradually gets smaller.
Finally, she sees me and her face breaks into a big smile. And the other girl, the one on the coffee machine asks what I want, but I don’t even have to say because she remembers.
“Hey”, she says.
“Hey” I smile. “Where you been?”
“Oh, night shifts”, she says and makes a face.
“Oh, that’s rough”
“You cut your hair”
“Yep”, I say and turn my head so she can see how short it is at the back. (It was really long until I had it all chopped off at the brilliant Barberette a couple of weeks ago. I bloody love it).
“But why?” she says. My heart sinks a little.
“It was time”.
“Oh. I really love long hair” she says, indicating the length of hers.
I pay and when I take my coffee and say thank you, she’s already onto the next customer, her smile gone.
Reader, you’ve waited long enough. It’s time to update you on what’s been happening. So, here goes…
Nowt, nothing, nada, zilch, bugger all.
That’s right – my Latte Lady has disappeared and I haven’t seen her for over two weeks. Every morning I go down there with my heart beating a little faster in anticipation and then…nothing. Just an overly-hot coffee from a bored barista. I get back to the office, look at my colleague L and say three sad words – She wasn’t there . Then L gives me the sympathy look and says Oh, maybe next time and smiles encouragingly. I try and drink my coffee, but I can’t because it’s too damn hot.
She is not there. She was not there on Friday either. My coffee is too hot and laced with disappointment.
Last week, the following happens:
- She remembers my coffee order before I even say anything. She remembers me.
- I ask if she’s studying as well as working here. She is, for a Masters. We have an entire conversation about non-caffeine-related things.
- The next day, when I see her, she smiles (that smile!) and instead of saying “Hello, what can I get you?” she says “Hey”. Hey. As if we know each other now. As if I’m not just a customer.
- We begin to ask each other how the other is doing, what kind of day we’re having, how we feel about our jobs, the other stuff we’re doing. After each encounter I return to my office grinning.
But today she is not there. And she wasn’t there Friday either.
I shall need more coffee tomorrow, though.