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Rated: E · Short Story · Environment · #2161504
A young woman makes a spontaneous trip to an unknown café, foreseeing its strange power.
         Turbulent winds forced Suzanne to postpone her Christmas shopping which she had been making great progress - with only two more gifts to purchase for her parents. The closest store was a small coffee shop she’d never noticed before. The winds had pushed her off the high street and down a small, cobblestoned alleyway. Here the winds were not as strong yet still seeping through the gap in the roofs, urging her forward. “Mad Tea Cup” she murmured to herself, both analysing the name and expressing awe for its minimalistic appearance. Another harsh gust pushed her onwards towards the door which had a tiny wooden sign saying “all welcome”. As she entered she embraced the smell of brewing coffee and the mellow music playing from small, red speakers.

It was a quiet, forgotten little café with only four people inside, sipping nonchalantly at their tea cups which lay before them. An elderly woman was writing ardently on a notepad not stopping even when a waitress approached with her order. As Suzanne closed the door behind her she spotted a young couple, sitting across from each other with their hands connected on the table. It tugged at her heart harder than she had expected and quickly looked away feeling like she was intruding. How she hated couples and all things romantic, it always made her feel uncomfortable and miserable.

As she made her way to the counter a small woman appeared with an unforgettable appearance, bright red hair and a star tattoo under her right eye.

“How may I help you?” she asked in a voice unlike her face, soft and well enunciated.

Suzanne hid her surprise by quickly ordering a cappuccino. Her heart was set on the tiny booth by a roaring fire. It looked absolutely wonderful to the frozen Suzanne, quickly removing her jacket and settling her bags by her seat. Without her desire to she was gazing at the couple once more with slight loathing.

The red haired girl smiled, “This blend will taste like nothing you’ve ever had before.” She placed the cappuccino in front of Suzanne with a little giggle.

Suzanne did not know how to respond other than respectfully giving the coffee a taste. It was bitter at first making Suzanne scowl into the cup, yet as the coffee lingered on her tongue a strange sweetness overtook her. The waitress laughed and placed a candle on the table – like she had done to all the others. “Enjoy.”

At first Suzanne felt normal, she was merely drinking a cup of coffee but the further she drank the further she felt from herself. The candle in front of her became slightly distorted – fluctuating from orange to bright red like the girl’s strange hair. She glanced around the café, noticing the old woman had gone the only people left were the young couple. Unlike earlier, when she stared at them she no longer felt the hatred and disgust – instead she was swelled with the feeling of romance and reminiscence.

Two years ago, sitting in a small restaurant with the one man she had ever loved. Arthur Conrad, a young artist with hopes of becoming the next Van Gogh, had been her boyfriend for three years. Just like the couple at the café they were holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes as if it would be their last. Little did they know it would be. His blonde hair was slicked back which she hated, she loved being able to touch it at her will.

She blinked, bringing herself back to the café where she sat by herself. Her mind was filled with so many thoughts rushing through like a busy motorway she had no clue how to process them all. She shivered as her thought process continued to get darker and deeper into her repressed memories. Clutching at hands so tightly as to never let go, dried tears and countless hours tucked under her duvet letting days go by.

When she opened her eyes once more there was a notepad and pen on the table. The words came out, flowing through her without hesitation and uncertainty. Before she knew it there were tears in her eyes yet it did not hinder her concentration. She never knew she had stopped writing until she was sitting there looking blankly at the pages. “Dear Arthur.” She’d began, the name made her feel weak.

“Would you like me to mail this?” the red haired woman asked, taking Suzanne by surprise. She had not even heard her footsteps, hadn’t even realised music had stopped playing or that the café was now closed.

“How long was I writing?” Suzanne asked still disoriented with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Over two hours.” The waitress responded, picking up the pages and shuffling them into their correct order. She folded the paper and placed them inside a white envelope. “To Arthur I assume.”

Suzanne nodded, wanting to take the envelope from the woman’s hand but strangely trusting her as she scribbled his name onto the envelope. She gave the envelope back to Suzanne and smiled. “Did you enjoy your coffee?”

Suzanne didn’t answer, her mind still foggy with attempts to process what just happened. I will always love you. Her last words stayed in her mind as she put on her jacket. His smiling face was the only thing she could think about as she grabbed her bags and exited the café, knowing exactly where she was going. The wind had died down but she did not care, nothing was stopping her as she made her way to the outer skirts of town.

The gates of the district cemetery which ordinarily made her skin itch did not have any effect on her instead she felt reassurance to enter. Arthur Conrad, Died Aged 26. The black headstone did not make her feel uncomfortable like she’d assumed instead she felt a strange happiness in seeing it. She placed the letter on his grave, it had been two years and in that time she had forced herself not to think about him. To believe he was still alive – somewhere. But now she felt this strange feeling of acceptance, the heavy pain in her chest was no longer there, the anger which boiled within her whenever she saw other couples had dissipated. For once in two years, she felt the want to smile again.

“I still love you,” she whispered letting her words be carried by the wind. “I’ll see you soon.”

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