What’s going on here then?
Good question… I’m afraid I’ve never been altogether sure! Broadly speaking, I’m not one for standing still and change isn’t something that particularly bothers me – consequently I feel that my blog should reflect that and be capable of accommodating a degree of diversity and change.
This page is an attempt to capture that feeling. It’s very much experimental and isn’t terribly structured or formulaic I’m afraid – think of it as a sort of scrapbook. You will find it a little grubby and unwashed behind the ears at times.
What goes here? – Stuff that doesn’t fit so easily within the main bloggage… writing that’s unrelated to sl or, for that matter, rl – perhaps a touch of rampant fiction. Short stories, maybe even just random notes intended to provoke the imagination – often a little more edgy or darker than what you might be used to from the everyday sweet and innocent me.
The truth is, this is an unstructured and evolving space that will change on a whim, and if you like it, hate it or want to add your own critique, thoughts or observations, please feel free.
Only the most recent addition will feature on this page. To see previous works, please visit the Alt. life: Archive page.
16th October 2017
The Girl in the Coffee Shop
The girl in the coffee shop was average-ish. That’s not too say she was plain or unremarkable – she was certainly attractive, and you could tell, just by looking at her, that she wasn’t just a pretty face, there was a strong character behind those eyes, but there were other girls that would probably catch your eye first.
It was hard to say what she did with her time when she wasn’t spending it in the coffee shop – sometimes she’d turn up in a smart business suit, sometimes something more casual, occasionally something a little more bohemian and hippy, perhaps what you’d expect an artist or sculptor to wear. Any enquiries about her profession were invariably gently deflected.
She preferred her coffee strong and black – one sugar – and would usually opt for the house specials, ideally organic and single-estate, (this wasn’t one of those places that write your name on a corporate paper cup), although it wasn’t unknown for her to have the odd large mocha, complete with whipped cream and cocoa dusting. She’d frequently order an extra cup, and maybe a panini, which she’d send out to the homeless guy who’d set up camp on the street outside the shop.
The girl in the coffee shop was easy to talk to. She’d happily share her table if it was crowded, and she didn’t mind being disturbed if you fancied a chat. The staff – with whom she was on first-name terms – would joke that she was the unofficial store counsellor, since it seemed that complete strangers would happily open up to her about their problems and difficulties. She’d chat about anything, from politics to personal problems, and whilst she would often refrain from giving an opinion, the advice she’d offer was always insightful and seemed to feel right.
On quieter days, she’d simply enjoy her coffee alone, taking an interest in the daily papers and relaxing. She was the sort of person who could radiate peace and tranquillity. Sat quietly at a table, coffee to one side and newspaper open in front of her, she was the very model of chilled, and you couldn’t help but wonder what might be running through her mind.
It’s a harsh and ugly world though. Every day, the burden weighed heavily on the shoulders of the girl in the coffee shop. With each tale of anger and pain, the relationship breakdowns, the doubt and despair, the broken hearts and souls that were related to her over those coffee cups were slowly taking their toll. The news and pictures of war and famine, hatred and pain unfolding daily with every turn of the newspaper page were not without their price. Even the homeless guy on the street outside pricked her conscience… A coffee and hot panini wouldn’t turn his life around.
Day after day, week after week, the girl in the coffee shop watched, and listened, and pondered. She began to doubt whether the world could ever be more than it had become, and with every coffee grew a stronger conviction that things could no longer go on as they were.
The staff were the first to notice – the smile they’d been used to seeing no longer came as easily, she looked tense and uneasy, and even at the busiest times, the spare chair at her table seemed somehow less welcoming.
Then, one morning in early November, she came to a decision. Appalled by the words she was reading, she gently placed the newspaper on the table and pulled out her phone.
“Gabriel, it’s time. Tell the Horsemen to saddle up.”
She sighed, slipping the phone back into her purse before standing and walking up to the counter.
Then God ordered her final cup of coffee.