H. M. L. Swann
Day 33: The Café
300 Days of Writing
Day 33 The Café:
The café was full of people, tourists mostly, but the barista watched as the regular came in.
The regular made themselves easy to spot. They wore an eggplant purple coat every day with clothes that never matched. Today’s ensemble was canary yellow pants and a red and black plaid shirt, like a lumberjack that got dressed in the dark. The regular always wore sunglasses indoors, and never took them off, the dark shades made their narrow face look insect like. Their hair was black with a grey sweep in the front that looked intentionally dyed, and they wore white gloves. They hid every possible way to indicate their age, and the barista would guess old only because of the bravery in which they conducted themselves.
The regular always ordered a decaf almond milk latte with four shots. On Tuesdays, and only on Tuesdays, they ordered a plain bagel with cream cheese. They only ate the top half, always leaving the bottom untouched.
The regular always came alone. Every day for the past three years, the barista had never seen the regular speak to anyone. They sat in silence, writing in notebooks that were small and black.
That day, a Tuesday, when the regular approached the counter, the barista already had their order ready and rung up in the till. They smiled at them, trying to make conversation about the lovely day they were having, but the regular nodded, a solemn nod, before gliding back to their seat without a word. The barista smiled to themselves, because the stoic nature of the regular was a constant a bit of the world.
In the midst of making a triple shot macchiato, the barista heard something that made them look up with freight. A voice, high and chill, earie even, it cut across the din of chatter and clattering of dishes.
It was the regular.
Deep in conversation with a plain looking woman wearing overalls and a baggy sweater, her blonde hair in a messy bun. The woman rested an arm on the regular’s thigh, laughing at what was said and then reached to take the bottom half of the bagel.
Jealousy flushed across the barista’s face. They had been serving the regular for three years, always with a smile and cheer, even on their worst days, and they gave them nothing. Yet here was a woman who strolled in, off the street, sat down, and started a conversation with them.
And they even shared their bagel with her.
The barista was left wondering, who are they?