Chapter Four

23 10 2010

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I can hear sounds.  Voices above me.  I could still feel the carpet under my face.  There was no time left.  The darkness around surged with flashes of light.  Veins carving on the black walls around me.  Was I coming back to life?  It wasn’t happening like he told me.  Could he have been wrong?  Was I coming back now?  The voices were getting louder, more clearer.  I could feel hands on me.  Grabbing me, moving me.  It was happening.  I would see my family again.  My wife, my girl.  They were probably there.  Scared, crying.  I can’t leave them.

“Did you want a refill on your coffee?”

“No, thank you.  I think I’ve had enough.”

“Is there anything else I can get you?  Some more water?”

“No, I, um, think that will be all.  Thank you.”

“Okay, I’ll bring your check.”

“Okay.  Thanks.”

My friends told me I would never do it.  They said I was too chicken.  As I sat there with my fifth cup of coffee almost gone I was beginning to believe them.  I had gone into this cafe everyday this week just to see her.  I didn’t particularly like the coffee but it was the only way I could talk to her.  I tried small talk.  It did not fair well.

“How was your weekend?”

“Um, it was fine.  Just worked really.  Not much else to do.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  I don’t have much going on either.”

“Did you need something else?”

“I’m sorry?”

“You called me over here.  Did you need some more coffee?”

“Oh yeah.  That would be great.  Thank you.”

Smooth.  I don’t have much going on either?  That’s the impression you want to leave?  That was three days ago and I haven’t forgotten it.  All she knows is that I am always in the cafe and now I made it worse by saying I don’t have much going on either!?  She was about to bring the check and all you are going to do is pay the bill, get up and leave and listen to your friends tell you how they were right and you are nothing but a chicken.

“Here is your check.  I’ll take it whenever you are ready.”

I handed her my card.  She took it and went back to ring it up.  I couldn’t help but watch her.  I felt like another creep that comes in here and stalks her every day.  Why would she ever date a customer?  She probably gets asked out all the time and now I am just another one of those guys.

“Here’s your receipt.  Thank you.”

“Hey, I, um…I was wondering, um…”

I could see she was getting a little nervous with my inability to speak.  She was anticipating what I was going to say, but I didn’t know what was going to come out of my mouth.

“I, um…look, this will be the last time I come in here and I just to see if you want to go get a cup of coffee sometime or something more substantial like dinner, or…”

“Hey, you’re a sweet guy.  I hope this isn’t the last time you come in here, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea if we went out.”

“Oh, yeah sure.  Of course.  Not a big deal.  I was just wondering anyways.  It’s fine. Really.  I will just see you later then, yeah?  Great.  Bye.”

I felt the entire cafe staring at me.  It was as if they heard the conversation.  What an idiot.  What else would she say?

I grabbed my receipt (even though I just throw it away when I walk outside) and left.  I was true to my word.  I never went back there.  The first time I met her she rejected me and now she is dreading me leaving.

It’s funny when you die.  You remember everything but it’s as if it wasn’t your memories.  It’s like watching someone else’s home movies.  The events are familiar but you feel they are not yours.  I saw our wedding and Vanessa’s birth.  I saw first moments and last moments but I couldn’t relate to them.  It seemed to be a good life.  And it was no longer mine.  That’s when I met him.  That’s when he told me what I had to do.

But as it seemed I would not have to finish what I had started, the voices were getting quieter.  The hands were getting lighter.  The ground was getting fainter.  I was leaving again.

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