He looks up from his newspaper and, two tables away, she looks up from her magazine. He smiles and nods, friendly, perhaps embarrassed that she might have thought he was staring, and starts to look back down.
She does not.
He pauses. His eyes meet hers again and they … look.
Her face is relaxed, eyes open. Not blank, so much as receptive. Aware.
His hands open on the table, neck inclines, chin forward. His eyes are steady, seeing only her face.
Her fingers spread against her magazine, head tilts to the left, earring dangles.
He sits up straighter, lips part.
She leans back, blinks. Smiles with her eyes, lips together. A question in her eyebrows.
He smiles back without grinning. An answer.
She grins, white teeth and red lips in golden morning sun.
He takes a breath, about to speak. Leans forward, toes down.
Her eyes widen. Lips part. Feet flat. She wants to hear him.
“Number 12?” comes the call from the barista.
He glances at his ticket. She glances at hers.
But it’s my order. I must walk between them when I go to claim it, and both of them appear flustered as they first look toward me, realize they have been observed, then look away again. I can feel their eyes on me as I pass.
Moments later, drink in hand, I head for the door, and they are reading again, or pretending to. I do not look back, preferring to imagine that they will look up after the door closes behind me, see each other once more and, having no one there this time to break the spell, speak.
But I drink decaf these days. I have few illusions.
(c) 2009 by Tony Simmons
"T Minus 46" in the 366 Days recovery program
(Edited 6/10/09 to correct spacing and also countdown number)