Lonely man at coffee shop

2:47. Where could she be? Surely this was a bad sign. Right? She picked up on his nervousness over the phone, was able to discern his true intention. Not wanting to be rude to him over the phone, as sweet as she was, she opted to let him down easy by not showing up for coffee.

One more check on the phone to see if there were any missed texts. None. Yet he kept checking just in case he was somehow blind just seconds before. Perhaps she was in an accident? Perhaps she, smart as she was, saw through his attempt to be calm and was overjoyed. Perhaps she harbored similar feelings of love toward him and now, with the chance for the two of them to express their feelings openly, was driving in a hazy cloud of gladness, daydreaming, and didn’t see the large truck coming toward her car. Oh, if he had only not told her how he felt, she might still be alive. Guilt washed over him. He stirred his coffee.

2:48. Still no sign of her. Still no text from her. Perhaps she was sitting around the corner, talking to someone with more charm, more confident. His uncertainty was so much, so hesitant, that perhaps she didn’t understand his intention to tell her that he loved her deeply. What if he just came across as a wishy washy guy. Why would she hurry to meet such a guy? Because she was sweet and kind. But on her way over she stopped for some chewing gum and the guy behind her in line struck up a conversation. All the right jokes, smooth, confident, able to hold a conversation easily. Its natural to be interested in such a guy and to lose track of time. Not like she could with him, weird as he was. Shame filled his body. He stopped stirring the coffee.

He just sat there. Shoulders slumped, face slack, arms drooping over his lap. He didn’t know he was holding the spoon in his hand. The emotion of shame filled his body, its elixir knowing all the secret valves to all the nooks and crannies of his body. This feeling was like a familiar coat, hanging onto his frame as if it were custom tailored. A small bird lit onto the ground nearby, looking for fallen crumbs. It was small and delicate and beautiful, a witness to the shortcomings of his own self. He became aware of other people in the cafe around him, happy people, couples, all of whom were better looking, younger, more accomplished, better dressed, more individualistic, more everything. What he saw reaffirmed his feelings, it was all a witness to the prosecution in his heart.

2:50. The young man stood up slowly, still holding on to the spoon. He pushed the chair under the table, at least he could do one good thing in life, and he walked out of the patio onto the sidewalk. If there is a Fate, he thought, and she is meant to be with him, he’ll turn his head and see her walking hurriedly toward him, apologizing for her lateness with a story of how she stopped to help someone in need. Fate, he hoped with a delicate, quivering heart, was on his side this one time. All of the loneliness of the past had lead up to this moment and the realization of love. Frozen, afraid to look, the moment had the faintest breeze of possibility. Longing crept into his heart, ever so small, but enough for him to turn his head and gaze down the sidewalk…

It was empty. She was nowhere to be seen. The delicate flame of hope was snuffed out, despair clamped down with a suddenness, and the certainty of Fate that offered the possibility of happiness mere heartbeats before, now reprised its evidence as proof that he will always be alone.

Despair, hopelessness, and loneliness soaking him to his bones, the young man turned and walked away.

Nearby, a small child giggles at a bright red balloon.

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