This was a character piece, the first task submitted in my portfolio before Like-Minded, which is soon to follow. I think it is a good example of how my writing has been, while I’m currently trying to set about showing how it is right now.
The rich smell of caffeine pervaded the young woman’s senses as she pushed the ornate glass door inward. She was greeted by a wall of familiar noises, and the sudden warm air fogged up her red, square-rimmed glasses. Inhaling deeply as she always did, the girl took in the delicious aromas before spying that the corner booth, her usual perch, was currently occupied. Taking her eyes away in resigned disappointment, she noted that a table by the window was free, situated between two old ladies, and a man on a laptop. That would do; anything for the daily fix.
Her black pumps squeaked slightly as she approached the counter and reached for the customary blueberry muffin. She scanned the menu above the barista’s head, already knowing that her pick would be the usual; a large caramel macchiato with extra cream. The barista looked up with recognition, offering a polite smile as he took the girl’s order. Her lip quirked shyly in response.
The coffee machine behind the counter hissed to life, shrieking as it filled a porcelain cup with the frothy liquid. Moving to wait behind the last customer, the girl’s fingers tapped impatiently along as her eyes tracked the cup’s journey towards the pickup point, already mentally taking the first wonderful sip. Her other hand picked at the initials embroidered onto her bag; C. F. Finally just as the other person walked away with their own gingerly held tea, the macchiato was placed before her on a saucer. Carefully taking the coffee and muffin over to her designated table, she put it down before lifting her messenger bag over her head and shrugging the Asda jacket from her lean shoulders.
It had been a long shift, she thought, and bringing the steaming cup to her lips the first taste of liquid heaven spread instant warmth through her. Her square-rimmed glasses steamed up again and she received a cream moustache for her trouble, but it was totally worth it.
Smiling in contentment, the girl wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, tucked her dark hair behind an ear and leaned back in her chair, wincing at the obnoxious squeal the movement produced. She looked around, expecting to see accusing eyes upon her – ‘how dare you disturb the peace’ – but found none. Slightly relieved she shifted a little, getting more comfortable.
The soft tapping of keys behind her, and the contented chatter of the ladies were oddly calming sounds. Looking out of the window, the girl seemed to watch the people outside walking by. Her reflection was pensive, thoughtful now that what she had been waiting for all day was sat before her on the table.
The eyes of her reflection looked tired, she thought, helped little by the muddy brown of her irises, which gave them a long, soulful look.
It had begun to pour down outside before the girl realised she had been staring at the same spot for a while, lost to the point after which the ecstasy is barely still there, caffeine high nearly forgotten. With a disgruntled look out the window, to which a passer-by scowled right back, the girl quickly returned to her rapidly cooling beverage, cupping the mug in her palms and taking a sip.
Later, she would have to slog back home through the rain, by which time it would have gotten so bad that no umbrella could save her from the cold and wet. Her mood sank further at the thought.
Replacing the mug she took a consoling bite of the blueberry muffin, munching slowly as she regarded the angry sky. Hearing a ticking, she glanced down the room past the old ladies and spotted a large clock; twenty past four. There was time yet before she must head back home, to the apartment she shared with three other girls, and the cat. They wouldn’t miss her much for now.
With this in mind, the young woman finished her muffin, reached into her bag and brought out her most prized possession – her iPod. Plugging the earphones in on both sides, she flipped to her favourite playlist and tapped the play icon, allowing the sweet melody of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1 to surround her.
The world was immediately transformed. People outside dashing past seemed to slow right down on their quest for shelter against the rain; boot splashes rising with every step, coats flapping behind. Cars drove a wave of water over flinching pedestrians in slow motion. Each rain drop against the window, the young woman imagined she could see it just before it landed, reaching above the rest, desperate to be counted amongst the rest.
She rested her chin against one hand, the other wrapped around the cooling coffee.
A vibration against her side brought the phone in her pocket to attention. Unplugging from the iPod, the young woman quickly took out her bright blue phone and answered it.
The voice on the other end crackled slightly. ‘Camille?’
‘We’ve got a situation here, can you come home?’ answered her flatmate, Veronica. ‘Mitty got out and won’t come back in… and you’re the only one she comes for.’
Camille’s heart sank at the thought of the cat out in the rain. She sighed quietly. ‘Ok, I’ll be back soon. Got to catch the bus.’
‘Yeah,’ Camille hung up and threw back the last of her coffee. She put her jacket on, grabbed her bag and waved at the barista, who waved back, before disappearing through the café door, into the wet, oncoming darkness. All disgust for the weather forgotten, even while trudging through it, Camille just hoped Mitty would be fine where she was until she got there.
So, What did you think? While I did read over it before putting it up, nothing was changed. Don’t forget to leave a comment below.
P.S. If you are wondering about the cup, the story was not set in Bahrain – the picture was just sent to me from there.
P.P.S. I was just informed that this cup took a dive off a table. A moment of silence, please, for the cup lost to the floor.