October 17, 2015
The waitress has a gentle face with a hard-earned victory wore like a coat, vivid with bright shadows that can be easily hidden behind a smile. She has a name tag on her shirt but the name is partially faded, leaving only a 'na' visible. I wonder about her name each time I visit the cafe. But I never thought to ask. She doesn't seem to mind and always responds to 'waitress' or 'miss' whenever people shout for her.
Often, the waitress does not smile while she takes your orders but she will do so after she finishes writing them down in a small notepad. She keeps a straight line across her lips which is always painted in either red or pale pink. It always makes me think of the ocean's horizon, straight but weaving in the wind. The lines underneath her sea-green eyes has their own frown lines, each mirroring the other. Her reddish, copper hair which she told me is dyed, would sometimes fall into her eyes and she would always brush them behind her ears with the tip of her pen. The scent of clean soap and peppermint always fills my nose whenever she comes by my table. I have never noticed her chewing any gum so I can never place how the peppermint scent came to be.
The cafe's interiors with their red booths and black and white floor tiles feels empty today. Usually such a quiet afternoon would often provokes me to think of my life and how it has gone miserably wrong. But today, when I look across to the waitress whose name I will never know, I realize I have more gains than regrets.
Once in a while, I would see a lonely look in her eye. I wonder where her mind goes during those moments. If she feels sorrow or pain. If she is listing her regrets or if she remembering something unhappy. The moment vanishes as quickly as it comes. I would forget it and she would forget it as she pours more coffee into my cup.
She often talks to me like an old friend, one that she knew from way back. Occasionally I would nod my head to signal I am listening. I have always tried to keep a smile on my face in case she is looking at me which she often doesn't. Her eyes sometimes veer off to the faint reflections in the cafe windows. But she always leaves my table with a smile. And she always comes back to my table after filling an order to make sure I am taken care of. She would tell me something that she had heard one table over or some idle chat about the weather. I would smile and nod my head.
Each day that I sit in my booth near the windows, I long to be somewhere where the ocean calls to me. Where each sunset last more than a day. But that is mindless thinking. One more cup of coffee and I'll be too awake to think of anything so dreamy.
The waitress comes over and refills my cup. 'Thank you' falls off my tongue like the wind, timid and lazy at the same time. Today she tells me her son will be coming for a visit. She hopes he would bring his new wife with him. I smile and nod my head. I know she does not expect me to say anything but I am sadden not to have any reply. Then she leaves me to attend to a young couple across the room.
I take a sip of the newly warm coffee. I turn to the window and watch the wind kick people's clothes around. Winter's leftover rain soaks the sidewalks. The city has never looked more deserted. A turquoise scarf on the ground gets sweep up by the wind and into the bare tree branches. I imagine someone is walking around, hunched into their coat's collar missing their scarf. Then I take another sip of my coffee and empty my mind.