Monday

Bedford

The young woman serving me wasn't Greek, she told me, despite what her features proclaimed. While I didn't find her to be overtly attractive, I found myself attracted to her. Her curves, both in hip and in hair, were voluptuous, and her breasts ripe and full, barely hiding behind a narrow apron. We made small talk over my cup of jasmine tea, which bore a strange taste I couldn't identify but chalked up to the type of jasmine. She brought me her favorite Greek pastry, whose name was melamacaroon, or something of the sort.

It felt good to be in this cafe, whose dimly lit interior and primarily wood furnishing bore the impression of a French bar in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and reminded me specifically of my favorite cafe in the town I'd lived in prior. I was surprised when the server told me it'd had a soft opening the very month I'd moved here, seven or so months ago.

I patiently drank, ate, and read all of Tolstoy's "Redemption." By the time I paid my bill, she was nowhere to be found, my server. I thought it a shame. I'd had no real intention of asking her out, but it was a shame nonetheless that I couldn't at least bid her good evening. Who knows what fancy of fortune might have befallen us otherwise...

I walked out with my pile of books in hand, under my arm. I wished I had a small bit of rope or twine to bound them together and carry them, like a schoolboy in storybook England. I made a conscious decision to come back here every night possible, to read by the faint candlelight and flirt subtly and tastefully with the curvy server.

I walked a block in the direction of home, then turned around upon deciding it was too cold to walk, too cold to really be the end of March.

Underground, I awaited my train on the platform. My books still tucked under my wing, I watched motionlessly the passengers-to-be as they strolled down the stairs, as I was wont to do. I had in fact developed the terrible habit of observing strangers unabashedly, caring little if they raised their eyes to meet my gaze. I treated them as faces on a television screen.

My back against a painted steel beam, a man crossed between me and the tracks. Dressed all in black, including a leather jacket, he listened to metal at an unreasonable volume in his headphones. I was momentarily startled by his sudden proximity, and like any reasonable person transitioned my anger to subtle contempt, which I fruitlessly exhibited by glaring at the side of his hood.

He disappeared quickly as he'd come. After a moment I'd forgotten him, and a cold breeze emanated from the tunnel before me, signaling the arrival of my train. A slow arrival, and one confirmed by a friendly, pre-recorded female voice over the loudspeaker overhead.

The train glided at a meandering pace into the station, as though browsing an aisle in a food market, no conductor at the helm. When it stopped, I stood before the last car awaiting the opening of the doors. They opened and a few people stepped out. In front of me, the man in black from before turned to glare at a man who had just exited, perhaps grazed his arm, and his glare exuded more hate and desire than my equally futile one from earlier.

This was an unsavory character, I thought to myself, one to be avoided at all cost.

On the train, only one stop away from home before it even moved, I crossed to the other end of the car. before me, an Asian woman bore a cartoonish appearance, her hair seemingly glued in a strange, unnatural style with straight bangs and exploding pigtails. She was overweight, and caught me staring at her twice. Better, I thought, than upsetting the man in black. I avoided his visage entirely, save for one brief glance which, thankfully, slipped by unnoticed.

When I stepped off at my stop, the man in black did too, and his steady gait kept him reasonable ahead of me. No incident to be had tonight, I noted thankfully.

My walk home was brisk and uneventful. In the comfort of home, I cleaned my teeth and disrobed. As I turned out the light, my tongue caught a hint of the strange jasmine flavor once more. The light extinguished, I slept.