A Shade of Pink
I had only been living in this small town for a few months. I’d gotten a small apartment in the downtown area near local shops and quaint cafes. My new job as an HR for a small local staffing agency was serving me nicely. I had developed quite a routine for myself.
Get up. Shower. Go down to a coffee house at the end of the block for breakfast. Work for a few hours. Go for a run. Eat at a local restaurant. Go home. Repeat.
I was beginning to recognize the faces of frequenters of my morning coffee spot. The old man with a long thinning beard, the deep wrinkles in his face and the calluses on his hands, I assumed he work hard labor for a very long time. The barista, Gina, told me his name is Lucifer, but he is much more of a saint.
The coffee shop is cozy, but wide open. The large windows in the front opened up to an outdoor patio area with weathered green umbrellas. The rod iron tables had seen better days. The small street in this rather small town than what I’m accustomed to saw it’s fair amount of traffic, but for that amount of traffic, it stays pretty quiet.
I sat each morning, people watching, drinking my vanilla latte that Gina has surely perfected. I was getting used to seeing the same faces each day, learning peoples’ routines and getting to know a couple people who live in the area, until her.
A soft shade of pink caught my eye. Her smile shone wide and brightly across her face. Bouncy auburn curls circled her face and accentuated her features. She ordered a chai frap and sat outside on the patio just a few tables from my usual spot. This girl, with a soft shade of pink across her lips held my gaze for longer than I care to admit. She put off a happy sort of vibe, but something in her eyes didn’t seem quite right.
As she sat, her body relaxing into the chair, her smile began to fade as she looked at her phone. She crossed her legs and scrolled through the screen of her phone. She wasn’t really looking at anything, she was far off in her own mind, pondering the troubles of her life.
Gina brought her frap over and the girl with the pink lips smiled, “Thanks!” she spoke with a soft sweet voice. “No problem, Jess.” Gina replied.
I tried to act like I wasn’t staring, I knew I was being a complete creeper. I was waiting for her to run away, in fact. She had to know that I was staring. Instead she continued to look down at her phone.
A short while passed on and Jess, got up to leave. I hesitated, she was out the door before I could get out of my seat.
The next morning started slowly, I was tired from a busy week at work. I sauntered down to the coffee shop, Gina had my vanilla latte ready to go already.
“Good morning, Dean, slow start today?” Gina greeted me,
“Gina, how is it that you know so many people in this area?” I asked abruptly.
With a deep sigh she replied, “I grew up here. I’ve been making coffee here since I was no more than 15 years old. In fact, I actually own this place now. I see people come and go, and after making so many coffees for so many usuals, I got good at remembering so many names.”
“Well that’s quite a talent.” I replied.
And just like she read my mind she answered the question I was too scared to ask.
“Her name is Jessica Anders. She lives in the next county over. We used to both play vollyball for high school, so that’s how I know her. She comes here every once an awhile to escape her troubles. Not a lot of people know her over on this side. So it’s a nice break from the country club stay at home moms on her side.”