I was thinking today about writing. Actually I think about writing everyday so it was really just a regular day. More specifically though, I was thinking how I don’t really share a lot of my creative writing and I wondered why not?
Apart from being self-critical, worrying if it’s ‘good enough’ or that I would totally send you all to sleep, there really isn’t a valid reason why I shouldn’t share a little of my creative writing with you. So here goes.
Here is a short story I wrote a couple of years ago. Reading it again now, with more experience under my belt the flaws stand out to me like beacons. But I share it with you un-edited so you can tell me what you liked or what you didn’t like. It’s okay. I can take it.
Tired and in need of caffeine she settled on the Beachwood chair at her favourite cafe. The darkness of the walls blanketed around her, comforting and warm like a long lost friend as she stared out into the bustling city outside.
“Just the regular Johnny”, she nodded to the handsome Italian barista as he approached her table. He smiled, flashing the whitest of teeth against his dark stubble and thick olive complexion. He must have his teeth chemically whitened she mused, no-one’s teeth are naturally that white.
The aroma of the coffee beans filled her nostrils and immediately calmed her. Amy could feel her heart slow and her muscles exhale in relief. This was her time out, her break from the relenting paperwork and office gossip that encompassed her day. The world was full of too much unnecessary noise. She needed peace and here was where she came to find it, a bustling café. She smiled at the irony.
She watched Johnny as he approached with her double macchiato. He was of average build, his dark curls gently framed his face and his black T-shirt hugged his barrel chest. He was handsome enough, but a little too much swagger for her liking. She wondered if he put it on just for her. His was of saying he was interested. She shook the silly thought from her head refocusing on the coffee as he placed it gently in front of her. Right now all she wanted was that coffee.
“Thanks Johnny.” She said smiling and then took the white mug into her hands and towards her red lips. The hot, bitter liquid trickled down her throat and seeped through into her veins as she closed her eyes. She imagined she looked like one of those women in the Nescafe ads. Cupping the mug in her hands she rested back against the seat of her chair and smiled. She was ready to be taken on a journey, ready to remove the shackles of her mind and let it run wild. This really was her favourite part of the day.
Slowly she drifted away as she watched the city folk sweep past the café in the cool autumn day. Where were they going? They walked with such purpose and direction, all with their own story to tell. She watched them, caught up in their lives too busy and self-absorbed to notice her stares. Somewhere to go, somewhere to be.
A tall girl caught her attention, she was cradling her phone starting at it as she walked as if willing it to ring. Who was going to call? Her boyfriend? Her boss? As she paused outside the cafe to read her phone, Amy took her in. Her wavy blonde hair swayed in the breeze, her long stocking clad legs were strong and toned and her profile was perfect. Her body was wrapped in an expensive looking business skirt and jacket and the brief case she carried in her other hand looked heavy and cumbersome. She was off to a meeting – an important one of course, thought Amy. She was working her way up wanting to be noticed for more than just her model-like appearance. She had a brain and knew how to use it. She’d just finished her master’s degree for Christ sake! She started to walk again, this time she was in a hurry. Her calm look had been replaced by a flushing of her cheeks and Amy could almost see the tears welling in eyes, but she disappeared into the distance before she could be sure.
Amy’s attention turned to the older man sitting across the lane way. He sat slumped on the street bench, broken and tired outside the 7-Eleven. His face told a million stories of heartache, each crevice testament to a long and lonely life. It wasn’t always that way though. He used to be someone. He had a girlfriend who loved him, a job he was good at and a family who wanted him. That was until he fell in love. He pulled the brown paper bag from his weathered backpack and removed the wicked seductress. She no longer tempted him, she owned him now or at least what was left of his hollow shell. She probably didn’t want him either, who would in his state? He counted the days until his time would come, but he had been doing so for so long now that he had lost count. It seemed like such an endless tally.
A vibrant burst of energy distracted Amy’s wandering thoughts. A couple entered the cafe arm in arm throwing themselves into the booth across from her. He was tall and rugged like he had just stepped out of a Bear Grylls episode. His unshaven face framed perfect cheekbones and his dark, deep set eyes never wandered from his love. She was petite and toned. Her strong calf muscles testament to the rock climbing, hiking and adventure seeking she loved so dearly. Almost as much as she loved him. Her crystal eyes danced with expectation of the full life that lay ahead of them. They had just got engaged, the modest red stone suited her small finger. They sat closely, so dangerously close that Amy almost felt aroused from the heat emanating from their combined breath. She quickly looked away, uncomfortable, like she was intruding on their moment.
A business man had taken up at one of the tables beside her. The business section of the newspaper was open in front of him, meticulously folded in precice creases. The stock numbers mingled on the page, dancing in a waltz of confusion in front of him. This made no sense. How could this be? His brow furrowed and his eyes dropped. Things hadn’t been good since the recession hit. He had been hiding the reality from his wife. She kept spending, buying the kids expensive technology, or useless status objects to make herself feel important. He could no longer carry on the charade. The credit cards were full and the bank was hounding him, threatening him. He ran his hand over his thinning and greying hair. His chest was tight and his mouth was dry. There was nothing left to do.
Amy took a deep, sorrowful breath as she sipped her coffee. As she did, she noticed an unassuming young man at the corner table. He was tapping away furiously on his laptop. He wore a grey t-shirt, jeans and a pair of tattered blue vans. His short mousy hair was neatly cut and his brown eyes scampered across the screen intently. This was the final draft of his thesis, she thought. 97,000 words on the effect and impact of social media on society. He had been studying night and day intensely for the past eleven weeks. Researching, interviewing, writing and finally it was all coming together. This was his life in front of him, his proof that the past five years at uni were not ‘wasted’ as his Father always scoffed. He would be something, this paper would prove it. He could almost see his Father applauding, standing above everyone else, so proud of his only son, as he donned in his gown and mortar board hat and took to the stage at graduation. That moment when he would finally be accepted by his Father as something worthwhile and not just a queer failure. His face gently broke into a thin smile as he froze the image, tattooing it in his memory as if had already happened.
Behind the young man Amy noticed a well-dressed, attractive lady. She wore a beige pant suit, her dark hair tied loosely in a bun atop her head. She sat there with a wide-eyed and innocence living vicariously through the thoughts in her head. Her eyes were blue and glassy as her mind raced with images and stories of fiction. Her hands clasped the small white mug, her shiny painted nails reflecting the low light of the cafe. She looked happy. She was happy. Happiest when she sat here telling her stories, escaping from a world she didn’t understand, a world where she didn’t fit in. She wondered when her chance would come. The calling she was searching for. It certainly wasn’t in insurance. She thought back to her dreams of being a writer. Never again did she speak of it once her mother got wind of her idea, smothering it out like a dangerous fire ready to ignite and burn her daughter before her very eyes. Insurance was safe. “Everybody needs insurance.” her mother had said. Amy smiled at the young woman as if she completely understood her thoughts like an old friend. The young woman smiled back until she was distracted by the buzzing noise.
The buzzing continued and Amy realised it was coming from her bag. Harshly she snapped back to reality. The buzzing of her phone instantly clearing her mind of its wanderings. She was annoyed at the disruption of the real world as it hassled her, beckoning her back. She pulled her phone from her bag, drank the last of her now cold coffee and reluctantly rose from her warm seat.
“See you tomorrow?” Johnny questioned cheekily from behind the coffee machine.
“Maybe….” Amy flirted playfully, flashing him a smile.
Of course tomorrow.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for indulging me.