Thursday, 10 November 2011

Transient Ambience

She looked like she'd stepped out of the silver screen; she had clearly just left a 1960's French film about a failed student rebellion in a leafy suburb where the middle classes walked past and tutted in an iconic French manner.  She was even wearing a beret with little revolutionary-sloganed badge pinned to it on the left-side only, so as to indicate the more clearly her political leanings.  As I saw her, through the windows of a Starbucks, music came on in the background that reminded me of either the Cocteau Twins or Still Corners; I couldn't remember which and neither was hip enough for Starbucks.  I leaned forwards, tilting my venti black americano dangerously forwards, craning my neck and straining my eyes to see where she was going.
I swear she disappeared just as she stepped off the pavement to cross the street.
Behind the counter there was an odd popping noise and the espresso machine, the huge steel cased behemoth, started leaking steam from rivets I'd not suspected.  With an almost musical ping both of the filter coffee jugs exploded, and thereafter was a the gentle rain of shatter-proof glass failing to live up to its reputation.  Someone screamed.
The she walked by my window, reappearing at the corner as though she'd never been away, her fingers trailing along the glass and leaving a tiny smear of red behind; as though she'd cut herself and was wiping away the blood from her fingertips.
I seized my cup and ran out.  The barristae, unwitting muses of a caffeinated god, started to cry out, a chorus of disapproval and dismay, but the sudden incendiarisation of the egg-and-cress sandwiches in the display cabinets distracted them and I was able to run on, and catch up with her.
She turned at my touch, my fingers brushing across her shoulder.
"Don't you dare fall in love with her," she said, her words breathy and ethereal.
"With who?" I said, confused.
"With her."
And then she was gone once more, and a punch on my shoulder turned me around to face an angry barrista.  She brushed the hair back from her face, her fist still balled and ready to punch, and suddenly I knew who the strange girl meant.
"Uh," said the barrista, staring at me.  "Uh, I mean, that's my cup.  Our cup."
"I think I've been warned about you," I said.
"Oh really?"  She winked and slipped her arms through mine.  "Tell me about it while we return that cup."

No comments: