Sunday, 28 October 2012
02:43:11 AM (GMT)
He was licking the froth off the rim of his hot chocolate mug when the bells on the
door jingled. He set the drink down, and turned: but no. It wasn't her. A young
man with a newspaper and a briefcase entered instead, ordered coffee and took a
Would she be here today? He kept waiting. He added more peppermint flavoring to his
hot chocolate and updated the sign that announced the daily special. When the bells
jingled again, it was a tired-looking woman who ordered tea. The man with the
How boring all these people seemed. Little old ladies and dog-walkers, business men
and children, commuters and couples, immigrants and reporters. Even the unusual
ones, those strange people that mothers tell their children to stay away from, even
they were dull and all the same.
And then: she was there, opening the door, and the bells seemed to jingle a different
tune, one more mysterious. She was wearing the wig again, a short black bob, that
hid her eyebrows. Her lipstick was bright red, making her lips look smaller somehow,
and she wore bright red Converse hightops and short denim shorts, with a slightly
transparent loose black top, through which her pink bra was visible. The previous
day she had worn the wig with a denim jacket and long dress with a South-Western
pattern, and a gold lip ring. The lip ring was gone now. Perhaps it had been fake.
The previous day... She had said she was a wanderer.
"Who are you today?" he asked as he prepared her peppermint hot chocolate. She had
kept her eyes on the floor from the time she had entered, and they remained there as
she took the drink. Her fingers moved to tug at the lip ring, but it wasn't there.
He heard her teeth grind. "I'm just myself, or as close as I ever get. A bad girl
with no money."
He cleared his throat. "Well, then the drink is on me."
"Shut up," she said, dropping some change on the counter and turning to leave.
"Wait," he said without thinking. She turned, and he stared at her. She was the most
beautiful person he'd ever seen, with full lips and high cheek bones, a delicate
pointed nose and dark eye make-up.
"Why? What?" she asked, impatiently.
"I....," words failed him.
She pressed two fingers to the bridge of her nose and left.
He wished he knew her life.
The first time he'd seen her, she'd been blonde and dressed in all black. Her
personality was as versatile as her appearance. She'd seemed outgoing then, chatty
and playful. Now she was moody and nervous, and he'd seen her with every attitude,
in every style of clothing, but always here in the diner and always ordering only
peppermint hot chocolate.
Once, he'd been having a particularly bad day, when the rainy day seemed to make the
whole city sullen and pugnacious. She had come in, wearing a skeleton hoodie, her
hair wet and dyed a light pink.
After serving her her peppermint hot chocolate, he'd asked, "What's your name?"
She'd replied with a small smile, "It depends on the day. Lately I've been
"So you're an actress?"
"That's right," she said, tugging at her lip ring.
He thought back to what he knew about acting.
"But in Antigone's day, women weren't allowed on stage."
"Hm. Not until 1660. Well, they weren't licensed until then. But it wasn't really an
accomplishment for gender equality or whatever, it was mostly because Charles II saw
actresses as sex objects. Look it up, it's pretty interesting. A lot of them were
prostitutes. And not much has changed. I know, I don't know how many, a lot of girls
that keep things... traditional." She laughed.
"And you?" he asked, cautiously.
She raised her eyebrows at him and finished her drink without another word. She left,
and later that day he went to the public library to read about theatre history. He
found that it wasn't nearly as interesting when it wasn't in her voice.
It rained for four days after that and she didn't come in once.
The next time her saw her, she was wearing a white dress and a long brown wig. He
almost didn't recognize her at first, a fact he didn't admit, but she picked up on
Seeing her was one of the only things he looked forward to. She was interesting, and
he wish he knew her life.
Last edited: 28 October 2012