Roberta sat in the cafe stiring her coffee. Staring at the patchwork of stains on the off-white table cloth. It had been one hell of a day. This was not the sort of place she would normally frequent but the artificial strip lighting had seemed an oasis on a gloomy day. The drizzle had been non stop all day coupled with the early nightfall was not a great combo. Picking up a sachet of sugar Roberta shook it gently before tearing the end. The sugar cascading down into the swirling drink. Once it had dissolved Roberta took a sip. The sweetness balancing out the bitterness of the strong coffee. Sitting back in her chair Roberta laced her fingers together around the mug. The warmth seeping into her as she was finally able to relax. Watching the passing glow of headlights Roberta became lost in her own world. So much so that she must have missed the clinking of the bell that signified the entrance of another stranger.
He was not handsome in the conventional sense but there was something about him. An air of confidence, he moved with what in the pictures they called a deadly grace. Roberta felt her heart skip when he met her eyes. She had never seen such green eyes. Emeralds could not compete with such beauty. He did not head to the counter but with a smile that turned him into the most desirable man she had ever seen, he walked over.
He gestured to the seat opposite and she nodded yes. She was not used to feeling like this and did not trust her voice. She felt herself flushing as the silence lengthened. He calmly sat opposite with a small smile playing on his lips. Roberta racked her brains for something to say, anything to break this silence. Nothing came to mind and so she sat there feeling foolish.
Why did he not order a drink, talk to her? Just sitting there looking so damn good. Roberta felt herself growing angry. This stranger was having a very profound affect. Why did this silence matter so much? There was something she could not put her finger on. With her anger Roberta found a reservoir of strength and determined she would not be the first to speak. In this battle of wills she would be the victor.
Making herself appear relaxed she slouched into her chair a little more. The cold hard plastic not making it very comfortable. Taking a long sip of the coffee Roberta studied him more over the rim of the mug. He was looking directly into her eyes and that look spoke more than words. Another sip of coffee and she really was not having to pretend to be relaxed.
In silence they held their conversation. Roberta letting go the angst of the day as he patiently sat there. His gaze conveying compassion. He truly understood, the weight of the day was gone and she knew her eyes were shining with new hope. Feeling better than she had in days, the joy shining from his eyes at her happiness moved her to tears.
Had any man ever understood her in this way? Roberta wondered if she would ever hear his voice or if she would ever need to. Without words he had healed what was broken. She wished she could do the same for him. Sorrow was in his gaze now. Emeralds glistening as moisture welled in them. She felt his pain and surprise at his own reaction to her.
His pain was almost unbearable, tears streamed down her face. If only she could help. Roberta looked on conveying hope and counselling patience. A look of sheer panic crossed his face. He moved for the first time his hands reaching across the table. Roberta place her mug on the table. And her hand was just about to intercept his when she was distracted.
The man who had served her the coffee early had come over. He looked concerned as he studied her face. Roberta realised how this must look and she was touched that he would take the time to come over. He said something to her and as she started to reply but stopped mid sentence. What was it he had said?
“A young woman like you should not be sitting all alone, crying.....”