…HER FACE WAS a blank page; impossible to read anything in to. She, no more wanton of a reader than I was to create new stories with her or on her. Everyone has a story, but that old saying presumes the owner wants to tell it.
So aloof, so majestic, even her cover offered few clues as to the contents for me to judge. Usually I had ascribed a lazy script of fictitious background stories by this stage, but the three espresso cups that lay empty, may as well have contained water, and the cigarillo was burning without being smoked, as I tried to figure out the life of a damsel in the blueish wisps, temporarily lost, entranced in the trails that shifted so naturally in their heavenly ascent.
Oww! I burnt my smoking fingers, hastily stubbing the cigarillo out.
She looked over, more under, the brim of her broad black hat. Shadows conspired against me, only a neat chin showed itself, temporarily lit. A chin wasn’t much to go on. And my mind was still distracted by the melting skin of my fingers.
Perhaps she had been eyeing me from the cover of darkness, witnessing every inquisitive glance in her direction. A mutual interest? But granted there was nothing else to look at in the narrow café and its mottled glass only served a view of buildings, cutting off the pedestrians outside.
Sheepish, but gentlemanly, aware of her eyes, whatever colour they may be, I glanced once more. She was poking about in her handbag on her lap, sifting daintily out of view.
If she was looking for money I could not let her leave without engaging. Every few seconds, I looked, her mystery more intriguing with the vanishing time.
Confident the hat hid me, I watched as she counted out money. Then she took a tortoise shell pen and started scribbling on the back of a receipt.
She returned the pen to the open mouth of the bag and clasped it shut, rising imperiously, somehow managing to conceal her face, so acutely aware of her angles, I suspected she had experience as a geometric model. If such work existed.
As naturally as cigarillo smoke, she walked the floor, passing me by, as I peered into the shadows catching not even a sparkle of her soul, the windows wearing shutters.
I slammed my fist in frustration on the table, in synchrony with the café door closing on her, preventing a cup falling to its shattered white demise.
Wait! That wasn’t there before! I picked it up, marvelling at it. Somehow she had turned a receipt into a work of origami. I smiled at her secretive ways. ‘Open’ said the green ink.
Excitedly I picked the paper apart.
“2moro. Here. 2pm. I know you are as well.”
I am what as well? Then it hit home. Of course!! The origami was in the shape of a robot.
She had been programmed to love as well!
Never before had a single stream of fluid, flowed from one of my eyes.