She sat at the corner table in the busy cafe, alone. Her waiter forgot her water, her napkin, and most noticeably, her. She was too quiet and alone. She demanded nothing and faded into the background.
She was annoyed at being forgotten but didn’t think it important enough to complain about. In no hurry, she knew it didn’t matter how long it took him to come back to her table. She stared at the bright screen of her phone and pretended she had something more important to do than look around for her errant waiter.
Used to being alone, she became an expert in looking preoccupied to avoid attention – or avoid noticing the lack of attention. She blended in to the background, often forgotten by the people around her. Average in appearance at first glance, she had a smile that could light up a room.
She hadn’t smiled in quite a while, though. Her friends and coworkers had become used to her pale skin and her sad eyes. They had forgotten how her smile could transform her face once it hit her eyes. They had almost forgotten the sound of her laugh when she giggled in delight; the harsh laughter that could sometimes be pulled from her sounded normal to them.
She didn’t remember what it felt like anymore. She didn’t remember having an easy smile or laugh. This was who she was, and she accepted it.
She forced herself out of the house tonight. Tired of the quiet, she thought that a night out among people might give her energy and give her something to do. She found it draining instead. The empty seat across from her screamed, “Lonely and alone!” to her. And now she couldn’t even get another glass of water.
Where in the hell was he?
Anger began to build within her. She tamped it down immediately. It did no good to get angry, it would solve nothing. She sighed and sat back in her chair, looking around the cafe for the first time. She saw a young couple holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes. A wave of jealousy coursed through her body, and she looked away.
Her eyes darted to another spot in the room. An elderly couple sat next to one another in a booth, heads bent close, seeing only each other. She bit her lip and looked down at the table in front of her.
Why had she decided to come out tonight?
She refused to let herself get dragged down into a bad habit of dwelling on what she couldn’t change. Clearly, she was meant to be alone, so why rail against it? Better to accept the inevitable than to bemoan the circumstances of her life.
Turning slightly in her chair, she scanned the room for her waiter. Instead of more water, she just wanted her bill so she could go home.
Her eyes rested on a table across the room, in the opposite corner. Apparently, she wasn’t the only single diner tonight. He was engrossed in his newspaper, so she took the opportunity to look at him unobserved…
I just started randomly writing…I don’t know what happens next in this scene…any suggestions?
This is good. Maybe he catches her looking at him and comes to her table to say hi.
Maybe so…she’s not very sure of herself…it would probably be painfully awkward…lol
I love the atmosphere, the setting and how “she” is presented to the reader. Let’s see, she is observing him and then he notices her. For a brief time they talk with their eyes until a man comes and sits at his table; a friend, a business relative maybe.
Yet he occasionally searches her eyes.
She notices how he scribbles something on a napkin. They leave an unnoticed to the other people he drops it in her table. On it his cell phone number, an email address…
Maybe so…the addition of a friend would intimidate her…maybe that’s a good thing…
I want them to make eye contact and have a connection.
I think serendipity has to come into play. They make eye contact. There is a connection. And then it’s interrupted when a male work college joins the man. She leaves the cafe… wanders into a shop next door… a book store perhaps. And when she walks out to hail a taxi, he’s on the corner trying to flag one down too. Then in the confined space of the shared taxi the first words between them are spoken. Just a thought. ; )
So says a natural writer… 🙂 I can almost see it in my head…
We shall see…not sure where I’ll pick up with it or where it will go…
I like where this is going. 🙂
Good luck writing the rest…
Thanks…I’m getting ideas from everyone…we’ll see…I’ll probably just start writing and see where they take me…
I read… They been pretty good. 🙂
(A lovely story and setting here) She could always go over to him and ask if she could borrow a part of the newspaper, and perhaps take the initiative to say would you mind if I joined you, we seem to be the only ones dining alone here tonight. And that opens up the rest of their evening and perhaps more…. It also establishes a strong character for a “woman” who is willing to take a gamble and the lead in her life……
Ahh, but did I mention she’s a submissive woman? Thank you for the idea…I’m not sure what will happen next…
The real life version? He is a shy but reasonably attractive, intelligent guy, hiding from the world behind his newspaper, just as you are hiding behind your phone. Nothing else happens.
More fun: The cafe fills up even more; people are queueing. You are both holding on to tables for 4. Your waiter appears and asks if you would mind sharing a table as they are very busy. You nod. He tells you the customer with the newspaper has already agreed to move, is it ok if he comes over? You look over at him and make eye contact, finding he is already watching you (thank you, Marian). Your insides turn inside out, but you manage to nod agreement. While you have the waiter’s attention, you ask ‘Can I have some water, too, please?’.
You are now on a roll, even though somebody else took the first step. The gods have chosen, so don’t drop the ball. Be brave. Rubenesque women can do that:-)
Wow, I like that. I’m still thinking on it. I’ve written his perspective and left them making eye contact. We shall see…
Yeah, I don’t love the real life version because that happens to me every single day. 🙂
Thank you for your kind words.
My apologies; I had not quite caught up to date and hadn’t realised you had also written his perspective until about 10 minutes ago. A case of premature blog commenting if ever there were one!
I agree with you about the ‘real life’ version. But what exciting days you have if its ‘every single day’. I only get to regret hiding behind a newspaper once a week at most;-)
You could continue it as…
The dumb waiter brings him a Sprite and the desert menu…he listened even less than expected. And it gets crowded…
And how come I’m telling a writer like you how to pull a story together? Ok, maybe you are just a bit distracted these last few weeks.
This one writes itself…when I feel like working on it, I start a new blog post and I let it drift where it wants to go…it’s nice to have a few ideas in mind.
I think I want them to connect in some way…but I always see it ending badly…and I don’t want to write something that ends badly…that’s way too much like real life…
Premature blog commenting – I like that. 🙂
Sadly, I suspect you are too wound up in your own possibilities of unhappy endings just now to let your characters discover sunshine and rainbows (another Marian misquote?) in their lives. To write a happy-ever-after ending (ok, 18 months?) I think you need to be able to imagine it is possible and sustain that view for at least as long as it takes to write the story. Too much to ask at present? But soon, I hope.
Strangely, there are moments when I believe very strongly in happily ever afters…even now…the past few days haven’t been one of those moments, I guess…so I guess you’re right…when I loop back around on this crazy roller coaster I’ve kept myself on, I’ll get back to that spot of hope and patience and a belief that I can have the happy ending, and I guess that’s when I’ll write more of the story…
I, and I’m certain all the other good people on these comment pages, hope to read the happy-ending story very soon. For both stories:-)
Thank you…I hope so, too… 🙂