She's asking him another question he can't answer
and that word -
cuts back here from their table
as he looks aside and through the window
on to New Street.
There's a 'why' at least once
and she's stopped smiling
now it must be serious
and he should know.
Two teenagers (or early 20s,
from where I sit)
lock heart-to-mind in the coffee-shop
lean elbows at each other 'cross the table.
For his part now he's getting into stride
(his back's to me I can't hear what he says);
but her intent outstaring eyes
the lips unsmiling
make him raise hands back in defence
of some point or another;
steady, plodding, slow he moves
but she's already thought past this
"yeah yeah yeah but -"
and she leans her head on one hand
bored and unconvinced.
"I was thinking about you the other day - "
she goes on "And - "
I don't make out the rest.
Why is the male brain like some brontosaurus of discussion
while she dives past,
till all his arguments collapse?
"To do it properly I need - "
maybe it's not relationships
there's something else, a course, or such;
"I absolutely love it"
"humanity, these kids ... "
Perhaps some years hence she'll be heading up a project,
charity in Africa,
Still, she's happier now,
a real smile,
not the stressed, adapt-coerce strain of the woman unhappy in love she can't give up:
and she's laughing,
this is better,
he only glances out the window;
this time he doesn't look as if he's dodging blows or trying to be elsewhere.
He's even smiling too
I can see his profile as he turns, he's taken off his glasses ...
as he stands,
off for a comfort break.
Umbrellas up outside.
In here, wifi connection's slow.
Back in his chair in front of me
he sways to one side, and her smile breaks through the gap:
she lifts her soft arms tidying the smile.
They lean half-close, or more, it's hard to tell.
Outside, the rain dies down.
[copyright Jon Andrews 2010].