As I entered the quaint little cafe just outside my brother's apartment complex the only thought in my mind was on that delicious cold cappuccino I'd been dreaming about all day. It was only after passing my card to the barista did I see her, hunched over in a booth in the corner, her hands gripped tightly onto a worn, old book. I could hardly believe my eyes, why of all places was she here? Frigid bubbles of fetid memories rose as goosebumps across my skin, my proverbial hackles raised in response to her very image. She wasn't supposed to be here, she should have been thousands of miles elsewhere. She didn't belong.
She was like a car wreck, a travesty that drew the eye. I didn't want to look, I didn't want to see her but my blasted human curiosity dragged my attention to her presence. I glared in her direction, my mood plummeting at the reminder of her very existence. All I wanted now was to leave, forget the coffee.
This was such a waste of time, we weren't even supposed to stop in this stupid city but the car needed gas and my husband wanted to catch up with his cousin. Can't stand the man, really, so I figured I'd just sit in this tiny coffee shop and wait. I knew I had a book in my purse, I usually kept one on hand when I want to look busy and keep strangers from harassing me. I pulled it from my purse and opened it to whatever page I'd had it doggy eared to.
The jingle of the doorbell snatched my attention as the next customer walked in. My fingers gripped my book tighter than I'd intended in response to seeing her come in. She looked happy, or at least content. She didn't deserve that. I got everything she wanted, she was years behind me in years of success, there was no reason for her to feel right about anything. Her eyes flicked over to me for just a second. Her face was stony but she saw me, she had to have. A streak of pride ran through me, I still had an effect.