‘Stopping by Costa on a snowy morning’

We were in a coffee shop just off the high street, one of those awful chain ones but you know sometimes you just need a sit down inside, somewhere out of the cold, and you ordered me a cappuccino and an Americano for yourself, and once we’d managed to sidle into two adjacent seats of a three-seater Chesterfield, you sat perched on the edge of it while I sank into it and read disjointed fragments of a weekend paper, and something kept beeping and you went to ask if it should be beeping, and if there was any way at all it could be turned off, because really, it was irritating everyone, especially your girlfriend, and she was pregnant, and then of course it stopped. You perched back on the edge of the cushion. I began to ease myself to the edge as well. Won’t you finish your coffee, you asked eagerly, we don’t need to go just yet, and you had this strange look in your eyes, like a child being made to leave the park too early, so I said fine, and downed the dregs of my tepid cappuccino, and there it was, left like flotsam on the shores of an estuary: foam-smothered, half-buried in coffee sludge, the tragic culmination of all the choices I’ve ever made, trying to catch the light. I look up. Will you…? he’s asking, and I feel myself welling up. Can I have brown sugar please, someone is shouting, and the machine behind me chuffs away like a steam engine, and the sound of spoons on china, of china on china is unbearable, but somewhere beyond it I hear somebody saying yes.
6f52a-43507752_2149968151987614_8292977324300210604_n