True Love Waits

A Cafe Postcard Story


He is tall with bad hair. His knapsack blocks your view of the muffins. He orders slowly, quietly, flirting with the redhead behind the counter. She smiles perkily and slides him an espresso and a nanaimo bar. Nice breakfast. He walks away to find a seat.

“Um, I’ll have… an Americano,” you say, stepping forward, “and one of those.” You point to the banana nut muffins. Red grunts and plops the muffin onto a plate before turning to get your drink. You smile, and the lines of a Tori Amos song come into your head:

“Boys all think she’s living kindness/
Ask a fellow waitress.”

When your coffee arrives, you turn to find that the only empty spot is an overstuffed chair across from Knapsack Flirt. Nuts. You take the seat quietly and pull off a crusty bit of your muffin. Not bad.

Then you hear it, just above the gurgle of the other customers: humming. Faint. Familiar. It’s Radiohead: True Love Waits.

You look up. It’s KF. He’s reading Tom Robbins’ Skinny Legs and All. Sensing your attention, his eyes come off the page and find you: your face, your hair, your lips. He’s not looking at you, he’s tasting you. And when he settles into your eyes, it’s as though a Christmas cracker has gone off, and you are each holding an end.

The humming stops. His mouth opens, then shuts, and he gives you a crooked, closed-lipped smile. He closes the book and puts it down on the table between you. “It’s haunted all my days,” he says, red-faced, and you recognize the line from the song. You smile and he looks startled.

Several hours later, Red comes out from behind the counter and asks if you guys are gonna order anything for lunch or what.

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