There was a break in the rain so she took her chance. After careful consideration of the most casual, nonchalant, thrown together, this-is-how-I-always-look but P.S.-I’m-the-hottest-shit-you’ve-ever-seen outfit she could muster, she grabbed her bag of necessities and headed for the closest coffee shop. The new coffee shop down the block, complete with thoughtful elegance and vintage revival furniture with an industrial twist, was all the rage these days. She happened upon it one day and enjoyed the hot chocolate. Today she would have this hot chocolate; it’s perfect for a break in the rain.
An aluminum rocking sofa sat in a protected corner. No doubt it used to be on someone’s front porch not long before the shop opened. The cushions were soft but firm, perfect for curling into with the book she can never make time for and the hot chocolate still too hot to bring to meet her lips. Slipping her shoe off and secretly folding her bare foot under her soft thigh she settled into her home for the next few hours.
Her life, though not particularly difficult, is stressful to her. She’s always telling herself that her bad day is Her bad day. Everyone is entitled to being upset, no matter how fortunate their life has proven to be up to this point. Torn between feeling obligated to appreciate the blessings in her life and embracing the twinge of anxiety that plagues her every day.
Today is the day when none of that matters. Today is the day when no one else exists. She has a book, scalding hot chocolate, painted red lips and an outfit that would make any hipster in the know swoon. She’s H-O-T-T hot. Her book is held at high authority for the hip crowd to admire. Everybody should be staring at her.
As she sits, sultry in her ‘comfortable in my own skin’ lazy position, reading the book held most high—she realizes she’s not actually reading. She tries again. Nothing is sinking in. She reads the same paragraph more times than should be necessary. Her mind can’t form the picture the words on the page are painting.
Her mind, instead, wanders to images of herself in her un-posed relaxed sitting position, wondering if anyone notices her tummy bulge or her chipped nail polish or the book she is pretending to have read many times before because it would be embarrassing to think that this is her first time to read such an epic piece of literature for the people in her current culture. Her mind was distracted by her ideal of perfect. Her mind was distracted by all other things in her life she needed to make perfect. Her mind was distracted by self loathing of not only her imperfections but her bout for perfection. Her mind...was giving her a headache.
She moved to a different subject. She wanted to be noticed. She thought of the group quietly sitting at the long table in front of her. Six chairs sat before her. That equaled six opportunities for someone to glance up from their work for just a second. Just one second. In that moment they would notice her; sitting in her haphazard self confidence with her red lips, hot chocolate which was probably too cold to drink at this point, and her book that the on looker had read many years ago and fell in love with. They would watch her through slanted eyes, prepared to turn away should they feel their admiration be exposed.
She wanted to know that this was happening, so that she may act oblivious to the events. It is far better to pretend than to actually do many things in her life. Her imagination enjoys running rampant. Who is she to keep her imagination from doing just as it is meant to do? To pretend the oblivion, would give her the upper hand in this situation; the ball would be in her court. Her plan for this ball? To gracefully lift it into her arms, cradle it, protect it from other’s view, and proudly walk away with it, secretly hiding it in her possession.
Her hours are up. She made no progress on the book that was intended to be an escape from the disappointing wonder that is her life. A sigh of relief comes over her. Her mind may be put at ease. There is no longer a reason to pretend for the group at the table that does not hold an onlooker stealing glances at her perfection. She finishes her hot chocolate with a grimace as it is disturbingly cold for something with “hot” in the title, gathers her belongings, and prepares for the over-thought perfection of walking home.