I’m sitting at my usual booth in the back of the cafe, I always sit here when I’m writing because it’s isolated. Not many people sit back here, which is great because when I’m writing, well writing or not, I need my space. I hate when people (strangers) sit or stand too close to me.
Personal space protects me from being judgmental, making decisions or coming to conclusions about people I don’t know, simply based on their appearance. I know it’s not fair-it’s an idiosyncracy I’m not proud of. Take the time at the gym when I’d found a corner far removed from the vain, skinny posers and perfectly sculpted show-offs who come to the gym to be looked at-when this woman starts walking towards me. I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath but loud enough for her to hear, ‘are you kidding me? with all this space, you have to lift your weights right here, next to me?’ She looked offended as she skulked away. After the incident, when I’d see her at the gym, she’d return my dirty looks. And, if she was working out with someone, (she was quite the social butterfly) that person would ice-grill me too. Thing is, by this time, I was ready to be friendly.
Truth be told, I know she was trying to be friendly, trying to strike up polite conversation, maybe exchange some exercise tips or advice (which I might need, but don’t want.) I probably scared off a woman who could have become a friend. I regretted it immediately. I always do.
But, this is who I am. This is what I do. It’s a defense mechanism. I avoid developing relationships for obvious reasons. It’s why I keep to myself, stay in the background whenever I go anywhere. I can be “there” without being there.
So you can imagine how annoyed I was when Mr. Golden-Eyes entered the cafe, and with all the space up front, he decides to sit at the table directly in front of me. So, I do what I do-give menacing looks, huff and puff, mutter under my breath. I know. It’s not right. How dare I act as though I have some kind of monopoly on cafe seats-people can sit wherever they like. It’s a free country. I know that. But why does he have to sit sit right in front of me?
Because he wants me to notice him. He wants me to look. Another thing I’m good at-in addition to being judgmental, I am good at noticing people without making it obvious I’m noticing them. I’ll give some credit to the screen on my laptop today; he definitely can’t tell I’m watching him take stupid, tiny-bird-like sips of his latte (he looks like the latte type; the blazer he’s wearing suggests he thinks he’s too good for regular ‘coffee’) and that I’m wondering why it’s necessary to blow on the latte between those stupid, tiny sips. It’s annoying the way his lips pucker when he blows.
Why not wait until the coffee cools and sip the dang thing like a normal person, I think to myself, shaking my head in annoyance. Hoping he’ll see me and notice how ridiculous (I think) he looks.
Of course, I can’t help notice his striking, golden-colored eyes. They’re uncomfortably familiar. Also, I can’t help noticing him because he won’t stop staring at me. The intensity with which he stares is making me (for lack of a better word at the moment) hot. I’m serious. It’s getting hot in here.
And, much to my chagrin, he’s not bad looking. Gorgeous actually. There is something to-0r something in-his eyes. I stop typing for a minute. I inconspicuously peek at him (again) over my laptop. He’s still staring. Now, he’s smiling.
I look again. He lifts his cup as if to say, ‘here’s to you’…
What. Is. Happening?
I stop typing, which is unlike me. When I’m writing, I don’t stop until I’m forced to-meaning-cafe is closing, building’s on fire (although, even then I’d probably have to literally be on fire). Anyway, I’m having some kind of scary out-of-body experience. I’ve shut down my laptop. I’m completely vulnerable. The way he’s staring. The way he’s smiling and nodding like he knows me.
I get up from the booth, grab my laptop. See what I mean about people getting to close?
Time to go.
I pretend not to notice he’s putting his mug down. I try to hurry past his table, but Mr. Golden-Eyes gets a hold of my hand. How? He gestures for me to sit.
“Don’t you remember me?”
I nod and whisper, “yes.” His gaze strikes like electroshock therapy. I’m in some kind of trance. I’m terrified and unable to move.
“If you remember, why are you frightened? Don’t you remember what we accomplished? Together?”
Again, I whisper. “Yes.”
He takes my trembling hand into his. “Don’t you want to do it again?”
He drops my hand. He is disappointed. He shakes his beautiful head back and forth.
“Pity. You have no idea what an incredible force you are. What you can do. You have the potential to conquer the world. My beauty, close your eyes and remember…”
The tears stream down my face-hot and heavy. I’m standing in the middle of a tornado of fire and wind. As the wind becomes stronger, the flames rise and flicker, sweeping me up and soon I’m floating through the sky like a blazing cloud, wherever I set my gaze erupts into flames.
I see nothing through the black fog of smoke except his golden-eyes, which when they meet mine…destruction. Death.