“Going out for coffee” she whispers to herself.
A face startled her awake. She almost didn’t recognize her pale, tired reflection on the window. She checked her watch. Her ass ached from a little over five hours on the cramped bus seat. Everyone else around her was asleep. It was a 10-hour-long ride and she was packed for a coffee run.
She got out of bed that day. She wasn’t even going to – she thought she wasn’t, but she did. She looked up at her fogged-up window and decided that she was tired of waiting for the sun to thaw the cold. She sat at her dresser and tried to clean up her tear-stained mug best she could.
Heads at the breakfast table turned to her as she exited her room, dressed to go out, for the first time in weeks. “Going out for coffee,” she had said when everyone else was too dumbfounded to ask.
The coffee was warm in her hands, but she dared not take a sip – she knows she’s already put her heart through enough. She was out, but unlike what she’d imagine, the sun still wasn’t. She got up and left her overpriced coffee on the table. She walked to nowhere in particular – her feet ached but she walked. Before she knew it she was on the bus, a bus to where she knew the sunrise was.
“Thirty-minute rest stop. Thirty-minute rest stop.” The voice of the driver on the overhead startled her. Everyone else was alighting and she did as well.
She stared as the driver stuck the gas nozzle into the side of the bus. “Not hungry?” he asked. She shook her head. “Well, you will be,” he said as he watched the numbers on the counter.
She walked in the busy, truck-stop diner and took a counter seat.
A hefty man eyed her before asking, “What’ll ya have?”
“Soup please,” she couldn’t have said it anymore softly.
The man looked over her shoulder, “Ya with that group?” he pointed behind her with a fork he was polishing. She looked at the bus and nodded. “Well ya can’t have any,” the man said sternly. “Ya know how long it took me to make that soup? I ain’t havin’ no one down it like it’s nothing.” She would’ve protested but she didn’t bother. “How about a sandwich?” the man offered. She shook her head. “Well, at least have a coffee,” he started to pour tar-black liquid into a paper cup, “on the house,” he added.
She wrapped her cold fingers around the cup and took a moment to look around the dimly-lit diner before exiting. She checked her watch and looked at the sky. The sun had started to surrender to the tiny dots behind the clouds. She started for the bus.
She turned but no one was there.
Pssssssssssssst. Longer now, followed by a clack-clack-clacking.
She turned the corner at the end of the diner. Paint cans littered the floor, a masked artist, and on the wall – a crow perched on a deer’s skull. She watched him work, first at the turn, then closer, then closer still until he noticed her, but he kept working. She just stood there.
Finally, he stepped back for a second, admiring his work. He picked up the cans and dropped them into a duffle bag. He pulled off his mask and sat a parking curb across his work.
“Those fumes will kill you.” He stared at the girl, “what are you doing here anyway?”
She turned to the boy and looked at the black goop in her cup, ever growing cold. “Just out for some coffee, I guess.”
“You like that?” the boy asked, pulling off his hood and nodding toward the wall. The feathers of his dreamcatcher earrings were stuck to the sweat of his neck. She nodded. “Well, you’re the only one. Everyone else thinks it’s sad.”
“They’re not the only ones who cry,” she answered before coming over to sit beside him.
He stared into her coffee and watched as the still, black liquid mirrored the first few stars of the early evening. “I think I need a sunrise; I’m tired of the sunset.”
She put the paper cup down on the ground. “Come and see it with me,” she offered.
“That bus isn’t what I need,” he answered, “and it isn’t for you either.”
“You don’t wear my chains,” she said, standing up.
“Why’re you leaving anyway?” He says asked, stuffing his mask into his bag.
“I’m tired of the weather,” she sighed before starting for the bus again. “I’ll see you around-”
“Croe,” he shouted, already halfway across the parking lot, “and you won’t, Little Miss Coffee.”
“No one knows my name,” she called back.
“Some of us do, Raven,” the boy said, before putting his hood up and disappearing.
The bus was about to leave when she got back to her seat. Now, she was a little hungry, but she didn’t mind. Her neck was sweating despite the chilly evening air. She reached for the hair tie on her wrist and remembered the black band beside it that reminded her of who she was; Raven. She looked out into the darkness but all she saw was the same stranger that had woken her up. She put her head to the glass and slept.
As if by instinct, she awoke in view of the final stop. There it was – the sunrise, her sunrise; but in the light of the sun, she had lost the reflection in the glass.
“Just going out for coffee,” she whispers to herself.
Word count: 936
I’ve been considering this piece for one of the chapbooks I’m working on. It might still make it on the book, but idk.
So I haven’t posted at all this July. I could say I’m taking the whole month off as a birth month holiday, or maybe that the pressure of my hundredth post got to me, but to be honest, I got Stardew Valley from Steam Summer Sale earlier this month and I can’t stop playing it. School is starting in a bit. Maybe I could get back to writing then.
Happy hundredth post!