Staring at Strangers

1. He sits, as I do, and writes, as I do. His hair is a mess, probably cut by his mother with a pair of blunt scissors. It is clear that he has tried to sculpt it into something fashion-adjacent. He has failed.

He slouches (he has terrible posture), with his unusually small hands on his dis-proportioned face. As I look at him, he looks up at me. His eyes are a dull grey with enough bags under them to transport an small family to another country. We both look away awkwardly and continue to write.

Is he writing about me? Perhaps he id doing the same exercise as I am. His face is both familiar and excessively punchable. Do I know him?

I look up at him again, and he at me. He gawks at me with the confusion of a gorilla staring into a mirror. Then I realise. The cafe is smaller than I thought.

I am staring into a mirror.

I gather up my pen and notebook and leave the cafe.


2. I check there are no mirrors in this cafe and sit down. She also sits, as you would expect a person to do in a coffee shop. She drinks some kind of strange fruit tea. It is orange. It repulses me.

Her hair is the colour of sand, as well as, by the looks of it, the texture. She reads a book. I can’t see what it is. I adjust me position to see… Oh god, is that Twilight? What year is this?

She drinks her ungodly concoction and crosses her legs. She is wearing socks with frills on them. She looks up and sees me scowling at her. Her eyebrows (drawn on) furrow together. The colour of her eyes lies somewhere between gold and sun-dried dirt.


3. The woman making the coffee talks to everyone as she works. She is friendly, but it seems a hollow courtesy. She is only here for the paycheck; like most people. I suspect she is a student, as she is a similar age to me. She’s shorter than me and has pulled her chocolate-labrador hair into a high ponytail which swings as she walks.

Her voice rasps somewhat as she tells me that my relentless staring is making the other customers uncomfortable. Perhaps she is a smoker? I see her teeth are slightly yellowed (perhaps from the cigarettes) as she asks me to leave.

I gather up my pen and notebook and leave the cafe.


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