She blinked, confused. Her eyelids curtained her sight, showering her with visions of the corners of a low-lit cafe. It was not that she was unsure that this large space in front of her is a cafe, she knew right away after her first intake of air. The nutty smell of freshly grounded coffee -most likely single origin- and the sweet smell of molten dark chocolate from her half eaten lava cake gave it away. She heard the clutter of porcelain against porcelain, the result of graceless lowering of cups to its designated saucers. She knew this place is what it is but the unanswered question keept repeating in her mind like an overplayed vine that just did not know when to stop: Why is she here? How did she get here? Why was her first conscious breath in a cafe? It should have been in her room with the smell of her lavender laundry softener waking her up as she nuzzled deeply into one her numerous pillows. Her first sight should have been the window with the view of the sun, angry at her for wasting precious time or the blank ceiling with lights as eyes and a water blotch for a mouth, probably from a leaking pipe from the unit above her. But it is not.
She took a deep breath, as deep as her lungs could manage. ‘Okay’ she mustered silently, running her eyes slowly from the small wooden table with a cup of untouched latte and high calorie dessert to the outfit she was spotting. She swallowed, her mouth tasted minty with a hint of chocolate but what surprised her was how she was dressed. She looked poised and classy, the kind of person who would frequent places like this. Well she does, but she never looked the part. Today was different and it was not just because of what she was wearing.
‘Excuse me?’, she cleared her suddenly dry throat. The waiter passing by turned back, snapback covering his eyes but a warm smile spread over his face, too widely stretched.
‘How long have I been here?’, she continued, her eyes wondering around trying not to show any hint of fear or panic but she accidentally swallowed hard at the last minute, too nervous at the answer she was about to hear. He squinted his eyes but she could not see. With his head slightly tilted as a silent sign of ‘are you okay?’, he answered, ‘Around 15 minutes and I’m assuming you were waiting for someone.’ His smile faltered as a look of concern started to morph onto his face.
‘Oh, yea. Of course.’ she answered.’ Just completely lost track of time’, she tried to justify, putting on a well controlled smile and shrugged.
‘Alright, then.’, he said without a hint of sarcasm. ‘Anything else I can help you with?’
‘No, thanks.’ she lied, clumsily taking a big gulp of her now cold latte while looking away just wishing the waiter would leave her alone.
Through the corners of her eyes, she saw the retreating back of the waiter wearing all black except for the grey trainers he had on. She approved of his fashion sense even if it’s nothing much, it was something she would definitely be spotted wearing: an all black gear with a hint of colour if you were lucky.
She closed her eyes, wanting to block out her overreacting mind and frenzy thoughts. ‘Alright.’, she muttered. Starting from the beginning, she coerced her brain to recall the last thing she could remember before it all went, blank? How did it suddenly go blank? What do you mean thoughts just went blank? This is no movie, memories do not go all sci-fi and turn into a self-destructing black hole. Her mind went on overdrive and she tightened her knuckles, feeling the distracting pain of her blunt nails trying to pierce her soft, fragile skin. ‘Let’s do this again’, she mumbled to herself not realising a certain pair of dark eyes locked on her from behind the espresso machine. He too was doing some thinking, completely ignoring the milk frothing over the mini metal jug he was holding.