I was sitting in a Starbucks yesterday, savouring every lick of cream and mouthful of flavour of my hot chocolate. It was early afternoon and not too busy that there was a din of noise but busy enough so as I had conversations to eavesdrop on. There was a group of Asians in front of me, whose cups sat empty on the table the entire time I was there. There was the usual Mac-burdened student and two old couples.
Also, there was a girl on the table next to me, finishing off a shortbread cookie, slurping her fruit smoothie, relaxing after a morning of shopping. She was slim in an effortless way, was wearing unfashionable scruffy jeans and a creased black T-shirt and had a long tangle of brown hair down to her shoulders. She was cute. My kind of girl.
Anyway, lest I spunk my load right here, I should tell you that after a few minutes she got up and left without a backward glance. I don’t know about you but I tend to offer at least a cursory check back to make sure I haven’t left anything – phone, keys, blackmail documents – but not her. She just upped and left and I watched her go, smoothie in one hand, Primark paper bag in the other, rucksack on her back.
What impressed me most about her was not that she was confident enough in her abilities not to be a useless fuck and leave stuff behind, but the fact that she didn’t once check her phone in the entire time she was in my world. We were in that Starbucks together for maybe 10 minutes. Most people I see who are out on their own – in coffee shops, waiting for a bus, sitting by the river, whatever – check their phones every twelve seconds (I’ve counted and done several thorough studies). I guess it’s because they don’t want to seem like they have no friends. Either that or they hate their own company so much they can’t bear spending time alone.
The fact that this girl was comfortable being alone impressed me. She reminded me of me. A me without a penis. A me without lots of body hair. You know, a lady me.
I watched her leave the Starbucks with the slight scowl that blights all the best aloners and knew I’d see her again someday. She’d have a different face, a different body, hell, maybe she’d even have a penis next time I saw her, but I knew that I would see her again. Perhaps in another coffee shop in another city, or a bar, or on a beach, or sitting under a tree in a park smiling at a duck.
These are the people that make up my life. I forget a lot of them, I remember some, I’ve spoken with many, shared my stories with a few, but they’re all important to me. They make me smile. They make me feel like life is worth living. And now, for being so overly fucking sentimental, I might go set fire to a fox.
Disclaimer: for those concerned about my sanity, tomorrow (or whenever), I’m going to write about how important true friendships are and why we should value them above all else. Aww.