Wednesday, January 11, 2012

KekahJ Week 86: Ingenue


Picture 1

Picture 2

KekahJ's Choice: Picture 2



I look up from my coffee as I hear the small bells hanging on the front door chime. I’d heard the bells ring a dozen times before in the twenty minutes or so that I’d been sipping my coffee and reading the paper. Each time I’d glanced up for only a moment, uninterested, before returning to my paper. But this time, I don’t seem to be able to look away.

The woman who enters is stunning. She’s overdressed for a weekday afternoon in a casual cafe. Her short, red dress is beautiful and fits her like a glove. The dress alone wouldn’t make her look particularly out of place, however, it’s the accessories she wears that really make her stand out. There’s the fur shrug that she wears around her neck, the hat complete with black netted veil, and the huge jeweled bracelets that adorn each of wrists. She reminds me of an ingenue from the silent movie era. I can’t take my eyes off her.

She carries a large leather bag over her arm and she looks bored as she waits in line. I watch from the corner of my eye as she orders. The barrista raises one eyebrow at whatever it is that she orders. He disappears into the back room and a moment later, he returns with a small stemmed glass with some sort of pink liquid. I smile to myself. Somehow it would have felt odd for her to just order coffee.

I realize that I’m not the only one who’s taken notice of this strange woman. Around the room, people are trying to discretely stare at her. For her part, she seems completely unperturbed by the extra attention she’s garnered. Without making eye contact with anyone, she chooses a table by the window and sits down delicately, crossing her legs. As she moves, the large bracelets clink together loudly, attracting even more notice from her fellow cafe goers. She carefully removes her hat and beneath it, her hair is somehow totally undisturbed. It falls in short waves around her chin and frames what I can now see is a gorgeous face.

She takes a delicate sip of her drink and gazes out the window. Her careful expression slips and suddenly she seems sad. I find myself wondering why. It’s insanity, but I want to know her better. I resolve that after a few minutes I’ll approach her. Even if she shuts me down, at least I’ll know I tried. I decide to give her a few minutes to settle in as I work up my courage.

As I wait, my attention is drawn again to her bag. It seems to be moving slightly and I stare at it. Finally, she notices and bends down, pulling on the zipper. Out of the bag hops a small, furry dog. She smiles at it as she pulls it up out of the bag, kissing it’s wet nose as she sets it on the table. The other patrons look shocked. Several of them are shaking their heads and clucking their tongues in disapproval. I grin as I watch the woman coo and fuss over the dog. The glimpse of sadness I saw moments ago in her expression is gone as she strokes the tiny dog’s chin.

After a few moments, a barrista, not the same one who took her order, approaches her table. He seems intimidated and speaks to her in a low voice. I can’t make out their conversation, but by the set of her jaw, and the way he glances nervously at the dog, I can guess. She shakes her head, and points to the dog. Now it’s his turn to shake his head and point to the door. She rolls her eyes and her expression is angry. She points to the bag the dog emerged from only minutes ago. He shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head again. No, putting the dog back in the bag will not be enough to satisfy him or the other patrons who clearly disapprove of her companion.

She sets her jaw and glares at him. She hisses a few final words to him and he nods, retreating back behind the counter. Even though he has left her alone, his eyes follow her. She sighs and tosses back the rest of her bubbly, pink drink before standing. Before I realize what is happening, the dog is back in the bag and she’s moving toward the door. Panic grips me. I have to stop her. Maybe I can go with her. I make to stand, but I’m frozen in my seat. My hands grip my newspaper uselessly, and I can’t seem to move. I open my mouth to call out to her, but before I know what’s happened, the door bells are chiming again, and in a flurry of red and fur, she and her dog are gone.