Darkness. One dim light. Empty café. Surroundings blur around the pretty brunette at the centre table, concentrating on her coffee, her face hidden beneath her yellow hat.
It was quite unusual to see such a pretty girl, so young and unaware, dining alone at such an hour.
The girl looked up, meeting the eyes of the observer, her eyes telling a story of love and loss.
The observer looked down, embarrassed at being caught gawking at the young girl.
Between the two strangers the obvious was unspoken; the empty chair that separated the girl from the bar. Why the chair was empty was unknown.
Could it be a lost suitor, a sign of a failed courtship, love astray? Could the space be for a new possible love, the promise of unconditional love? Or was the space a reminder of what was lost – the empty chair a sign of a cruel, unforgiving world?
The observer’s eyes wandered around the café. He could feel the heat radiating off the heater, warming his fair skin. He looked outside, the dark streets of New York promising a long night of fun, regardless of the cold weather dampening spirits.
The sound of a chair scraping against the polished timber floor pulled the observer’s gaze back to the direction of the young lady who moved past the bar towards the exit.
She must have thought she was invisible to the patrons in the café, but to the observer she was anything but.
She was visible to him.
He could see her like nobody else had.
The observer, who was too slow in catching her attention, missed her exit in seconds.
The only thing remaining of the lone girl in the café’s existence were the coffee granules stuck to the cup and saucer in the middle of the table.
Words by Christina Gibson.
Image by Isabella Whittaker.