I watch her carefully as she studies the scene from the corner of her eye. Everything about her is well calculated – the way she angled her chair and the way her feet were positioned. Everything around her were purposely placed for a reason. This is a game she’s used to playing. I watch her with amusement as she observes the scene like a lion watching its prey.

She waits for the line to dissipate and counts the seconds silently — a desperate chant to the heavens. She waits a few more seconds and tries to secure the pattern. She gathers all her courage to attack. Wait what? Attack what?

I stare at what she’s keeping under surveillance. I see a guy in white long-sleeved top with huge-framed spectacles and a spotless apron. I see awkwardness and coffee machines. I see… I see what she sees and I am awed.

He moves away from the counter and goes out the door perhaps to take a break from all the brewing, and staring, and watching, and falling in love.

And almost as if on cue, she stands — her dress ruffling from the swiftness and abruptness of her movements. She walks over to the cashier and orders a sandwich to be eaten here and another cup of cold coffee. She blurts these words out like song on repeat and heeds the other girl to follow her pace. But the heavens are not pleased. This much I can tell.

“May I have your name ma’am?” chirped the lively cashier.

“Isabel,” she whispers quickly. From afar it sounded like an old magic spell; like a word forcefully forgotten and unspoken of.

“Do you spell that with two ls?” inquired the young lady by the counter.

“Yes,” she says. The way her hands fidget and her brows cross tells me that she really means no.

“Is there an e at the end?”

She nods her head and tries to smile.

By this time, the door opens and the man returns.

I see Time in slow motion. I see him pass by her and everything else. I see her bow her head slightly and tap her shoes in agony. I see everything and nothing.

She returns to her seat flushed and beaten. I glance at the man who is as innocent as a tiny sprout. He calls out her name.



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