On occasion I enjoy writing flash fiction.
I wrote this story back in 2014 (and edited a little tonight). Hope you enjoy it!
The Coffee House
I love those pictures of Paris—you know, the ones with the little tables outside of the bistro. It just looks so… European. And that probably explains my fascination with the Coffee House. It’s become my Saturday morning ritual. I sit at a little bistro table, nibble on a croissant, sip my coffee and watch the town-folk.
It’s amazing really—the things a person can see. Just this morning, Bill (he looks like a Bill to me) ordered a latte and flirted shamelessly with the barista. He leaned across the counter, lowered his voice, and slid a five dollar tip underneath her fingers. The barista giggled, he laughed and I stifled the urge to clear my throat.
I walked to my favorite table and I noticed Bill was seated close by. As was my custom, I decided to invent a life for Bill. I imagined he was a successful surgeon, who at any moment would receive an urgent call, prompting him to abandon his morning coffee and hurry to the hospital. Of course, being a world renowned surgeon left little time for a social life, which in turn, explained his attraction to the young barista. Surrounded by such intense pressure, pulling patients back from the brink of death—the barista’s youth must have been intoxicating…
Except that wasn’t the truth.
I watched as she approached Bill’s table, pushing a stroller. I couldn’t hear what she said as she bent down, placing a quick kiss on his check but Bill looked resigned. Hmmm. Obviously, she was his wife. I decided to call her Natalie. Natalie could use a fashion pointer or two—like the importance of brushing her hair.
I glanced back at Bill. Gone was the flirt. He was deflated, slumped in his chair, a hand on the stroller. It’s sad really, the things you can learn by watching the people around you. Very sad indeed. I looked at Bill and wondered if he wished he was a surgeon.