The latte was ready, frothy and warm. The clock on the wall made the audible click of a new hour: seven o’clock. She held the cup in both hands, close to her chest to catch the quickly cooling steam on her chin. It wasn’t hers, but it would be soon if he didn’t show up. He was usually here by now; his voice bellowing with laughter at the comics, or sharing with her some story of the most unbelievable details. This had to be the first time she ever heard, ever knew the clock made a click like that.
Tuesday. He was still in bed, but he thought about how she looked. She would be wearing her hair in a bun as usual, but this is the day she wore the blue ribbon. It was the dark blue that almost looked black, like her eyes. This day was anything but usual for him. He decided that he was going to change things up. Instead of waking before the alarm, and turning it off after his yawn and stretch routine, he would let the alarm wake him. To make things even more interesting, he hit the snooze button instead of the alarm off button. He closed his eyes, but did not sleep, only thought of the routine he so easily fell into every day. It was a comforting thought that nearly lulled him to sleep, but there the alarm went again. His eyes popped open. His lanky arm reached out, index finger extended, landing squarely on the snooze button again. That is when he thought of her ribbon the color of her eyes.
She wore her hair in a bun with a blue ribbon tied around the multi-faceted dimensions of her ever-changing hair colors. The ends hung long and blew back as she paced around wiping down counters that were already clean, and nozzles that hadn’t turned speckled with foam. She looked at the table by the big square window. His newspaper was open, the pages curling up in anticipation of his saliva moistened fingertips. Her eyes drew upward to watch a city come to life, but the only life she seemed to care about was the one that was not there. Again the clock clicked noisily onto the three. Fifteen minutes late. His latte was no longer steaming.
He stood looking at the clothes neatly laid out before him. The Tuesday outfit. Black pants, gray cardigan and white polo shirt. He turned away, leaving them behind as he left behind the yawn and stretch routine when he got out of bed. Even in the shower, he dreamily reached for the face wash instead of the shampoo and felt as though he was wearing his shoes on the wrong feet. In the closet, he stood for a moment longer than was comfortable as he was aware of the ever passing minutes. A flash of red entered his mind; translucent and shiny. Her lips. He reached for a maroon sweater and pulled it from the hanger sending it flying.
She stared at the bare walls, the boring chairs, the orange tables. A heavy despair hung in her gut. The door opened. The breeze blew the newspaper to the ground. Looking from the paper to the person walking in she knew that things were going to be different. He ordered a mocha and showed her the book he was planning on reading.